Fri Dec 18 09:50am EST
That newspaper there at right is the front cover of today's New York Post. Check it out -- no, not the hacky pun making light of tragedy, the Tiger Woods story. It teases a story that's as "routine" as a Tiger story is these days -- according to the Post, he's sitting at home, alone, watching cartoons and eating cereal.
But that's not the significant part of the cover. The significant part is the fact that this is the 20th straight cover with Tiger Woods on it. That breaks the Post's previous record for consecutive cover appearances, a record held by the September 11 tragedies.
Think about that for a second. The Post has gotten more run out of a golfer's misadventures than out of one of the biggest tragedies in our nation's history.
Without dwelling too deeply on the disconnect between Woods and 9/11 -- because that'll turn your stomach if you do -- it's fairly easy to see why Tiger has remained in our public consciousness for so many weeks. Valleywag makes an interesting contention that Tiger is the first-ever Internet-size scandal.
Tiger Woods' apparently voracious sexual appetite created a scandal big enough to truly feed, and even sate, the ever-hungry Web. It's been an uninhibited bacchanal of mistress galleries, trashy YouTube embeds and gossip scooplets. So if the Tiger Woods coverage leaves you feeling exhausted, it's because the celebrity sausage factory has been running at an obscenely and unprecedentedly fast tilt.
It's a reasonable theory, but I'd add that it's not just the celebrity side of the story that's driving this. The Woods scandal doesn't just have its seamy side -- it's got financial (endorsements, monetary impact on the Tour), sports (how will this affect Tiger's quest for more majors?), racial and lifestyle ("Ladies, is your man cheating like Tiger?") components as well.
In other words, the Tiger story can slot comfortably into every section of the newspaper. And unlike other national scandals, there's nobody dead. This hasn't impacted the governance of our nation. The only people truly harmed by this are the mega-wealthy, and a good chunk of non-mega-wealthy Americans don't have a problem with that. So we can all read and joke about Woods without any queasiness whatsoever, and we can go on with our lives afterward.
As the Woods story rolls on, the only really disturbing aspect left remaining is what kind of scandal could possibly top this. Because someday, next year or next decade, something will.
Oh, and for your reference, the fine folks over at With Leather compiled all the TW covers in the post over the last month, up till yesterday. Kinda disturbing, yes?
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