THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Bob Franken Headshot

Tiger Woods and Other Sub Par Heroes

Posted: Updated:

You know we laugh when somebody says "Show Business Is My Life"? It's a joke. Right?

Perhaps it is, but it's not funny. That's because we live in an age of image making and media manipulation where much of Life is truly show biz. Reality is what the PR people tell us it is , and their superstar clients are made up super humans.

They thrive because we desperately want to have heroes. We want to believe in someone, whether it's a politician, an athlete, a business genius, or something, like say, a Secret Service. And when we find that these false idols are as weak and fallible as the rest of us, we turn on them with the vengeance of someone who feels completely betrayed and with the delight we all enjoy in watching the high and mighty knocked down to our level.

That explains the nasty intensity of the Tiger Woods ridicule. He had made his billion not by being the greatest golfer ever, which he is, and not even because he symbolized racial progress in a sport that still conjures up an image, fair or not, of fat white guys riding around the greens of exclusionary country clubs.

No, he was on his pedestal because he was smart enough to take the advice of those who create carefully programmed avatars who appear to be mythical figures.

Suddenly the curtain is forced apart and we find out that Tiger Woods is just one of us, except that none of us can expect to be the lead story on "Entertainment Tonight" for days on end.

So we get to make fun of him and chortle at his taste in women, who are all from the periphery of the image game...two dimensional figures who learn how to apply enough makeup to look good and exploit that until they can't anymore and get discarded.

Now they get their own fleeting fame, not just the reflected kind as they take us along on the joy ride of our disappointment. It's the same thing that happens in politics ("AHA" you exclaim, "I WAS WONDERING WHY HE WAS WRITING THIS DARK DRIVEL").

We allow ourselves to get revved up about individuals, Democrat or Republican, and elect them to stand for something we believe in so they can make a difference. When we learn the campaign ads were distortions, we get so angry, so dug in that nothing can happen.

What we see from our leaders is not what we get. What we see is only what their all-too-clever consultants show us. And what we get has a huge impact on our lives. So here again "Show Business IS Our Lives".

We need to stop worshiping at all these altars reality for what it is...a Reality Show...which are actually Reality SHAMS. Those of us in media need to stop playing along because it's cheap and easy.
What should matter about Tiger Woods is how well he plays golf. What should matter about our politicians is how well they do in their game...governing. The conceit of their personal public presentation is just a facade. As we learn time and again, they take their pants off, just like we do.