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Trashing Tiger

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I have not spent any time at all reading, watching or listening to the media about what are euphemistically referred to as Tiger Wood's "transgressions".

I haven't had to: it seems to be on every channel, and the 'talk of the town' wherever I go. Whatever the pain and anguish this is causing him and his family, it is disgusting for our voyeuristic nation to be so fixated on what, at the end of the day, have been human foibles for centuries and are commonplace in many parts of the world. I know that celebrity-watching is becoming a growth industry, but have we ever considered why?

We seem to put our heroes on pedestals one day and then begin to systematically destroy them the next. None of us are saints. If we don't keep our agreements and commitments, we will pay the consequences. But we should be relating to this and stories like it with at least some compassion, rather than self-righteously deciding who is the villain and who is the victim and dramatizing what already is a tragedy into a public spectacle.

I understand that public figures must forego their right to privacy, but knowing that someone had a peccadillo and having a feeding frenzy over it are two different things. If the former, shame on him. If the latter, shame on us.

Wasn't there a teaching of Christ directed to the self-righteous about "those without sin should throw the first stone"?

Can any of us even begin to relate to the life or reality of someone as gifted as Tiger Woods and what transpires when one goes from the collegiate practice fields to billionaire stardom and being the most recognized person in the world in only a few years?

How many young (and some older) movie stars, sports figures, politicians and artists have had to confront the same egocentric landmines and have learned the hard way that, while their behavior was laden with mistakes, it was also the foundation for "recovery" and becoming truly great and generous human beings?

I imagine that, more than anything, Tiger Woods wishes his father were still alive and that he could bow his head and beg forgiveness from the one person who knew him best before he was a legend and who would remember who he was even when he and the whole world forgot. The problem with the 'fallen celebrity' syndrome (as I see it) is that it is the consequence of turning our stars, our leaders and even ourselves into objects that, when tarnished, become disposable.

The older I become, the more I appreciate the power of forgiveness and its healing energy. Whether his wife and family can find it in their hearts to do so, I don't know. But I do know that there should be nothing stopping the rest of us from doing so.

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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