04/23/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tiger Woods and the Fame Blame Game

Never is our anger so righteous as when we're in trouble ourselves.

Tiger Woods' mea culpa truly came to life when he got to excoriate the paparazzi for chasing his tiny daughter to nursery school. His eyes went from doleful to flashing, his unsteady monotone gained timbre and verve, his receding hairline actually lowered as he scowled. Fore!

What an outrage -- how dare the pestilent press swarm his little family! In the name of all things decent, stop!

Guess what? You can name your boat "Privacy" and you can orchestrate your own version of a 'press conference' where you do all the talking and you can hire all of the media advisers in the world but you can't turn off something you yourself started, created and live off of. You are a celebrity. By being a professional golfer and spokesperson for a myriad of products you chose to be famous and to profit from news of yourself. When it suits you we see you everywhere, when it doesn't, you have come to believe we can't. It just doesn't work that way, no matter how rich and how famous you are. This is America and we have a free press.

I'm not happy defending paparazzi, their behavior is not only abhorrent, on occasion it's violent. Photographers on motorcycles killed Diana Princess of Wales. No question. The very aggression we see when we watch these photographers shout ugly things at their prey, engage in car chases and sneak ninja-like around fences and yards with their obscenely large lenses are the flashbulbed reality of the dark side of fame. But paparazzi are also the purest form of rebel celebrity-journalism -- the radical reaction to the controlled magazine covers, talk show appearances and red carpet reviews. It's examining famous people when we want to, not just when they want us to -- and it's allowed. I'm sorry but it is. There are rules, standards, and ethics that are a vital part of the profession. And just like the ACLU must defend the rights of white supremacists and Nazis, real journalists have to stand up for the invasive, stalking, prying, nasty celebrity press that makes their own decisions as to what we can see and know.

And you can't help but feel a somewhat deserved media pushback after all these years of the carefully crafted, non-news controlled manipulations of the Tiger Woods PR machine.
Wood's spoke of an arrogance and sense of entitlement that lead him to feel he could have extra-marital sex because, well, he could. And while it seems he's working on that, he still needs to acknowledge that he's not entitled to a very specific kind of press -- i.e. one he controls -- anymore. Because he can't. He never could in the first place -- and he's just coming to terms with that now.

And as good as it must have felt for him to demand that the press leave his children alone, that empowerment and outrage seemed to come as much from the shock that he could actually be a victim of something out of his control. (You think I'm bad? They're worse!)

Guess what -- bad things can happen when you're bad. Famous or not. No, especially when you're famous. It's a terrible part of the bargain, but it's a Faustian one both parties sign on for.