Why Tiger Matters
Every week I learn something from writing this column. Last week’s column taught me that if you want to bask in the adulation of your readers, you should avoid sounding like you disapprove of Tiger Woods’s off-the-course behavior.
Many of the critical comments — and there were lots — were less pointed. The problem, some readers seemed to think, wasn’t so much that I was passing judgment on Woods (which, strictly speaking, I wasn’t), but that I was wasting everyone’s time by discussing his private life at all. For example: “Shouldn’t the likes of Robert Wright and the NYTimes be more concerned with the Catholic Church and deaf children or contractors in Kandahar? What is this, THE STAR???”
The short answer is: No. The longer answer is this week’s column. I want to defend the proposition that, in its own way, the Tiger Woods scandal is as important as Kandahar and the Catholic Church. Leaving aside the question of whether we should shower condemnation on Woods — a hard question that I don’t purport to have a compelling answer to — one thing I feel sure of is that this Tiger Woods thing matters.
Why? Because it embodies some other things that matter. For example:
- Monogamous marriage matters.
- Monogamous marriage matters especially in parts of society where it is weakest.
- Role models matter.
- Role models matter for adults, kind of.
- Moral sanction matters.
It’s good to see someone (esp. at NYT) discussing the Tiger Woods scandal in terms of its impact on marriage.