Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Tiger Caught By The Tale

I may be the only person writing these past two weeks who has not been like Tiger Woods and bowed to a simple temptation, in this case to write about the fall from grace of the golfing phenom. Truth is that TW, or Tiger, has become the butt of jokes so fast that I had to step back and wonder if the readiness to pull down the great is so strong that as soon as we get a handle on a rope that will tug such people to the ground that we all pull on so hard. We are mostly all quite normal, so the super normal is hard to understand and when it or they show that they are superbly normal and horribly flawed in go the fangs on we love to watch the blood spurt. So, with Tiger. Now, for my piece of the flesh.

Caribbean people often laugh that the seeming prudeness of societies such as America's, which flaunt wild and loose lifestyles, then seem shocked when everyone appears to live by loose and wild lifestyles. In this region, we are far from perfect but in some aspects we have reached a very sensible position, and the area of sexual promiscuity and infidelity is one such area. We joke about: 'how many outside women one man has' (aka sweethearting); 'how many outside children' a man or woman may have ('giving bun', in Jamaican parlance); how a man may be fooled into thinking that the children his wife or woman bears are his ('jacket'). It would be a matter of pride and stature that a man was found to have had as many as 11 affairs during the period of a 4 year marriage, let alone being a near unbeatable golf champion at the same time. That is what we call highly energetic. We have many famous songs about the process of being caught and denying it. One of the all time classics is Pluto Shverington's 'Your Honour':

For those who are challenged by Jamaican patois, here are some of the lyrics:

Oh lord, anybody see my trial grieves for I
Why lord I was badly beaten, found by loved ones
Battered by an irate husband
Searching for a man that wasn't I.
When we reached the court we garn inside,
the hand of justice shall preside
over this case the trial shall begin.

Your Honour I was inside de closet
minding I and I own business.
Your Honour it was a complete stranger
causing these disturbances.
Him claims of me touching him wife
which is a wicked and awful lie
Me two hands 'em was occupied
me shirt's in me left
and me pants in me right

me hand 'em was occupied
me shirt's in me left
and me pants in me right

Dear Judge, can this court accept my story from me heart?
Why Judge,if by chance you don't believe this tale
ask him why she will not fail to agree I was a better man than he.
Just in case she refuse to answer, ask de maid
downstairs, Agatta
she gonna be glad to testify for me.

Not the alibi! My hands were occupied...Bottom line is that Tiger could swan around the Caribbean without all the hair shirt stuff and maybe less than sincere promises to turn over a new leaf.

But, as the comedic tendencies have show, Tiger was tailor made for ribadly. He has many things going against him, not least his name. 'Tiger': now a mere pussy cat rather than a fearsome, growling, stalking, attacker; we have him by the tail and want to hear his tale; can he change his stripes? (or spots, as one writer asked). 'Woods': he would, of course; we want to know about his wood; tell us about the stick.

His sport is all too easy to parody. 'He got his balls too close to too many holes', is one great line I have read. He wanted to have a hole in one but could not be satisfied with one hole, or really wanted to have one in a hole. Now, his wife has given him a hole in his head and he may soon have a hole in his pocket. He should have had no trouble getting out of the brush. Did he use his iron or his wood, and what did he do with his wedge? He was using his putter to do too much puttering, and if he had just kept it to a few pots in the garden shed then he would have less dirt on his hands now.

But, TW has shown me many simple truths. I shared with some friends yesterday my view as an economist:

"Everything has a price, and supply and demand do work. Tiger found out that truth is a currency. Had he not lied what would have been the 'value' of exposing him? Very little. Having lied (making truth more scarce), he bid up the price of truth. Econ 101."

Not everyone may see it this way, but interestingly, John Daly, a fellow golfing professional, was reported as saying, "I feel like if there's anybody in this world - after what I've gone through, the ups and downs - I might give him some advice. They always say there is nobody bigger than the game of golf, but right now in these times there is, and it's him," he added. He said Woods should have come out publicly when news of his affairs first broke and told the truth.

Some women friends of mine have been mercilessly roasting les boules du tigre all week, and as most of these ladies are black, they have lammed him for his choice of colour. I actually think that this is not as much of an issue as the ladies would like, because they come to it through their racial definitions, and clearly TW did not share them. Why? Is it a major problem? Hard to say. In the same way that POTUS does not share the racial definitions and categorization of so-called African Americans. But that will be a discussion for the ages.

I am wondering about all the funky financial deals TW seemed ready to put up to keep his pecker pecking. I am also intrigued by all the 'victims', who are actually more like carrion, ready to feed on the boy. I am absolutely sure that not one of Tiger's 'conquests' thought that she was 'the one'. I am even more convinced that for them, Tiger, was not 'the one'. The player was being played as hard as he was playing. It was hard on him that he could not see that. Hard on him, indeed.

Now, he has decided to step away from what he should have focused on, his golf, to try to repair his family relationship. Is he sincere? When you are the product of image managers--remember that Tiger's playing wardrobe is meticulously choreographed by Nike and others--it is hard to believe that such actions are 'all natural'. I wondered how he had to time for all the double and triple and quadruple dipping. All those golfers I know have no relationships because they seem to spend all their time golfing and hitting their balls. No time for clubbing as they are too busy with their clubs.

His sponsors are taking different steps but broadly putting (with put, not putt-ing) distance between Tiger and their products--Gillette, Accenture...not heard from Buick (who must have been miffed and pleased that he mashed up a Cadillac). My wife has put out the warning that after Henry and his hand on the ball, have Tiger with his balls in his hands, so what of Federer? Will we soon hear that Roger was doing his thing to get felt up--other than just brushing balls with his forehand strokes. In fact, Roger's stroking of balls and his fore(hand) play should make his a very worrying story.

None of our interest is inappropriate: we made him with our adulation so we can demolish him with our disapproval. These people are thrust on us and we lap them up. Now, we are ready to spit them out. Personally, I want to remain obscure, if fame has this kind of price. So when people start to call me a celebrity because I blather on the radio and have a blog, I duck my head and say "No way, brother."

So, I am off to brush my balls and get felt up good and proper with a man, to boot. I will be courting him hard and if he wants to know what is my racket, I will tell him honestly...it's a Wilson. He may want to give me his Head to play with, but I'm no fool and will decline, graciously.



acox said...

this story soon will be forgotten Remember ex President Bill Clinton,well whatever
Now it is open season on TigerWoods and this game he will win too.I am not one to defend or ridicule him. Some how he always looked like the cat who swallowed the canary.This time he putted the ball too far.However he"ll rebound.

a cox said...

Tiger this too should past.When ex president Bill Clinton had his indescretions people thought that was the end of himtoo. People have short memories. Tiger putted the ball too far but that is nothing for him not to recover.When the smoke clears he would come out better than ever.I am not going to take any side of this issue.
Tiger alwayslooked like the cat that swallowed the canary to me.

Sargeant said...

There is so much that one can write about this but I’ll try to be brief. Americans love to say that they don’t have a Royal family but they treat all their celebrities like royalty covering their every movement and peccadillo. They build them up and they like to tear them down, now Tiger is marooned on an island called “Privacy” which is ironic considering what has happened to him. The only sponsor who has not publicly shied away is Nike but Nike’s customers are unlikely to care about Tiger’s philandering unlike the corporate button down types of the Accenture world where hypocrisy reigns supreme. Tiger was unfortunate to be born in the USA if he was born in France he would have been treated like a hero after all wasn’t Mitterand’s mistress living on the state’s franc in Paris?

However, Tiger was reckless in his choice of paramours- what did he expect from someone who was described as a “reality show contestant”? and for thinking that he could get away from the prying eyes of the tabloid press.. Perhaps Tiger should start and play up his “Bad Boy” image on the golf course as a foil to the “Goody two shoes” Mickelson, the gentleman’s sport could do with an infusion of real rivalry and increased ratings.

Dennis Jones said...

@Sargeant, I agree that Tiger could well and easily be rebranded as a golfing 'bad' boy, and perhaps do wonders for the sport. Image of players has had little to do with dissauding popular appeal, and there may be many who are put off by golf's squeakiness. TW has, however, come out as yet another sporting enigma. He and his handlers could also exploit his problems to launch him on an honesty play. He can win-win and lose-lose either way as there are backers and detracters on any side.