Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the rough.

What alarms me the most about the current Tiger Woods drama has much less to do with his extracurricular affairs than it has to do with the way the matter is being handled by the media. Granted, Woods marketed himself, his "brand," with a squeaky-clean (read: monogamous) posture, but I suspect that this only set himself up for a larger, heavier fall once his humanity became evident.

On the face of it, Woods achieved what probably would be a dream for men (hell, anyone) all over the world: success, popularity, financial independence, the capacity to do what he largely wished and how he wished to do it. True liberty. Should we really be so surprised to learn that he employed staffpersons to assist him in coordinating his social (read: sexual) schedule? Who wouldn't, given the capacity, enjoy such decadence?

Some will argue that he betrayed his spouse. Certainly, if there wasn't prior mutual understanding concerning the sexual dynamics of the marriage, he did. But would any betrayal rest on the grounds that he was extracurricularly sexual, or because he was dishonest, if in fact he was?

In my view, the entire situation just further demonstrates how monogamy is fundamentally flawed, especially when it isn't coupled with clear-headed, intimate discussion about a partner's needs and desires. I'll argue that this ultimately conflicts with our genetic code, ultimately leads to sexual unhappiness. But because so many of us are socially conditioned to believe and accept that one-partner-forever is the One True Way to live out one's life, we reject other paradigms as "illegitimate," "subversive," "wrong," or simply unworkable.

And here is where the media finds its foothold in making this front-page news. Because we're supposed to be goosestepping to the dominant, monogamous paradigm, it becomes newsworthy when one of the fold steps out of line. Letterman avoided it because he shared his humanity immediately, and took the punch out of the story. In the past, so has Madonna and Mae West.

In perpetuating the story, the media further entrenches this failed idea by illustrating that those who are ("found" to be) not entirely monogamous are worthy of public inspection and ridicule. Would Woods have felt compelled to take an indefinite leave from his profession had his marital problems been left alone as a private, family matter?

An honest openness about one's sexuality is far more defensible, in the face of self-appointed Thought Police, than all the pleadings and post-coital confessions of the disgraced. It saves relationships because it is clear, and any relationship lacking in clarity cannot hope to last.

That being said... dude's got a thing for blondes, huh?

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