Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tiger tales

I don’t spend much time keeping up on the lives of celebrities. Since much of what passes for journalism is often no more than celebrity voyeurism, I have dramatically cut back on news watching, and my newspaper reading. Tiger Woods’ recent car accident is a case in point—not so much the accident, but the media fallout afterwards, and his apparent affair(s).

While tabloid fish wraps like The Enquirer, as well as publications like London’s Telegraph, and a slew of other North American mainstream pubs have been slinging salacious allegations about the world’s top golfer, there are precious few journalists out there delving into more substantive issues regarding Woods, his image, and other questionable activities that fan out far beyond this recent incident, whether or not it involves marital infidelity.

[Reuters photo]

One writer, who regularly covers a different side of sports than do most writers running that beat is Dave Zirin. His recent article at The Nation, where he serves as their sports editor, takes a look at areas of Woods’ reputation that never get talked about—his long-term relationship with Chevron, a company with an abysmal environmental record, not to mention their strong ties to Burma’s ruling military junta.

As Zirin notes, the press has been virtually silent about Woods while he’s made “deals that benefit dictatorships and unaccountable corporations, all in the name of his billion-dollar brand.” All of that’s ok. What he’s now being scrutinized over is his alleged marital infidelities, which are routine for entertainment types like Woods.

Zirin’s right—where was the press before now, when he was taking tainted millions from corporations, governments, and lending his name to golf courses in exotic locales built by slave labor—they were silent. Of course, in America, corporate malfeasance and exploitation of people are much less serious "sins" than cheating on one's wife.

Check out Zirin weekly at his Edge of Sports site.

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