Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods’ auto de fe

Spot wishes they’d just burn him at the stake and be done with it. But oh no, not where there is so much titillation to be had leading up to the event.

Spot was idling in a dreary anteroom this morning that had a television tuned to CNN. The network was covering Tiger’s press conference; the sound was off as it usually is in dreary anterooms everywhere. But the scene was complete; it was better as pure imagery without sound, anyway.

First, there’s Tiger: the penitent heretic. And then the camera pans to the Inquisitors, including three frowning women in the front row who looked as if they were there to audition for a role in a production of Wagner’s Die Walküre. [Okay, there’s a mixed metaphor in there; so shoot me.]

The video crawl announced that essentially the rest of the day would be All Tiger, All the Time. Tiger would be hung, drawn and quartered, and finally beheaded in a prime time special tonight. Then, the body would be burned after the late night news.

More satisfaction from television you cannot ask!

This is not healthy behavior, boys and girls, and Spot is not talking about Tiger Woods. But you’ll be betting on the long shot if you think Katherine Kersten isn’t going to write about it.

Don’t get Spot wrong; Tiger Woods has some explaining to all right, but it is mostly to his wife, and maybe one day to his kids, who might ask, “Daddy why did those people push and shove each other and follow me around and take pictures through the windows at my nursery school?”

Maybe to the CEOs of Accenture and Tag Heuer, too. But that’s about it.

It is hard to see, though, how our front row Brünnhilde, Waltraute, and Helmwige figure in this, except as pure moral scolds. Apparently with a lot of time on their hands. But there they sat, eyes narrowed and nostrils flaring, exulting in their sense of personal betrayal. Excuse me? Somehow, Spot doesn’t think so.

Don’t push it, Spot.

Got it, grasshopper.

Riding the moral high horse [metaphor number three] is fun, Spot supposes, but it comes at a high societal cost. You could see it in the language of George Bush when he talked about evildoers and engaging in Crusades, the latter being the greatest Freudian slip ever uttered by a president. It infected the way we thought and think about Muslims. Good and evil; us and them; demonize and dehumanize your adversary.

But you can also see it the steadfast opposition by scolds like Tom Pritchard and James Dobson to anti-bullying legislation because it might interfere with the right of a middle schooler to tell his classmate he was going to hell because he’s gay.

Or in the murder of a doctor who performed late-term abortions on women who needed them, often to save their lives, and a defendant who claims the murder — no assassination — was a moral necessity.

Really, Brünnhilde, Waltraute, and Helmwige are just the soul sisters of this entire miserable crew.

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