Redemption for Tiger

Tiger prefers not to.  He won’t dance/Don’t ask him (Madam, with you.)

Well, good for Tiger. He’s channeling Barleby the Scivener, Melville’s passive aggressive office rebel. He’s in that raggedy line of existential figures who’ve just said No. No mas. They won’t come out for the boxing round just to be beaten to a pulp. They won’t cross the finish line just to spite the sadistic coach of the juvenile prison track team in “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” that gritty B & W Brit film from the 60s.

So, the hell with Gillette and its marketing campaign. Same to you, PGA tour.

My wife told me that Dr. Drew, the priest B-list celebrity sex addicts, and Dr. Phil, the homespun TV therapist, are working their shamanistic magic with Tiger right now on the golfer’s yacht, Privacy. I fell for it –it isn’t happening, yet. But it’s perfect.

We all know that Tiger’s life has plunged down the rathole. But notwithstanding that aphorism that there are no second acts in American lives, we know there are.  There’s Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Mike Tyson (wonderful can’t-take-your-eyes-off-him in the film documentary of his extraordinary, scarifying intermittently triumphant and scabrous life). And there’s my man Augstine who turned his sorry life around and wrote that tell-almost-all classic.

There are, too, second acts because as Augustine’s Confessions indicate, you can play the first half of the game as a lecher fornicator blasphemer — as long as you fall on your knees and recant. The poet Eliot did it — turned Catholic, churchly, devout and, from Grouch Marx’s account in Groucho’s letters, rather chipper and very happily married. Make that re-married. The first one didn’t pan out. Crazy  Viv. Fornicating with Bertrand Russell and wearing those goofy Flapper gear — at least that’s the impression we have. Half crazy, then all crazy, then institutionalized. Poor cuckolded bastard Eliot — motives late revealed (and all that). But he found it, at last, down on his knees — his conversion. His redemption.

Redeem. DEMAN in the Old England — the judge. We want to be judged anew, what with our spiritual rebranding. Cleaned-up resume. And isn’t that what education’s about –redeeming our ignorance. Isn’t that the purpose of experience — the redemption of our missteps. All that apple-biting in the garden. How many bites did Adam take? And when God kicked A & A out of the garden, wasn’t it all about the second chance. East of Eden. (Go East, young man and woman.)’

Even the snake’s punishment —  going forever legless and having to slither around on the ground — was a kind of redemption, if you spin the story a certain way, hold it at a particularly glass-half-full pt of view.

Life is nothing but a long series of mulligans, isn’t it? Do-0vers.  And what’s wrong with that? All those cliches about life as journey. It’s a journey, and with or without GPS we are bound to get lost. We are all losers in the end — I mean, in the Big Sense. Shuffling off the coil. But there it is — that message of redemption. Nor is it restricted to St Paul’s Unique Selling Proposition: Just accept Jesus and we’ll send you the gift of eternal life.Get to see God.

The whole Christian message (do I oversimplify?  Very well, I oversimplify! I am large. I contain oversimplifications) is about second chances. Just believe, accept, change your ways because this earthly existence is not the final inning. The Super Bowl is what comes after. The Afterlife. The second chance.

For Tiger, just saying No Mas to Jamie and Rachel and the porn star twins is the ticket. And it’s just a warmup for the Big Redemption that follows the l8th hole.

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1 Comment

Filed under Crisis Communication

One response to “Redemption for Tiger

  1. Among sports and media figures, you reference Melville’s Bartleby and Alan Sillitoe’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (a novel before it was a film)in characterizing Woods’ refusal to go on declaring “mia culpa” for the cameras. What’s happening in this instance is part of a standard pattern in the U.S., a pattern I think should always be placed in the context of American puritanism. First, as the word denotes, puritanism demands purity. There can be no mixture, no gray areas, no tolerance for human limitations. You are pure, or you are not. But since this idea has nothing to do with human nature, those who hold to such notions are sure to have a strong prurient element in them. Add to this an equally strong element of envy mixed with admiration for Woods’ talent and success (all of it encouraged by a low-budget, reality-show approach to “news”), and the stage is set for yet another national fit of Peeping Tomism.
    And of course there are second acts: they are absolutely necessary, if media demands are to be met. Elliot Spitzer is currently being relentlessly rehabilitated everywhere I surf. In fact (perhaps part of a settlement agreement?), his favorite hooker is also much in evidence.
    Or something like that. My own blog gives more emphasis to narrative than to exposition, but you might be interested in taking a look at justbillandthemister.com
    Barry Knister

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