The similarities are too obvious to ignore. Scandal number one began when Tiger Woods crashed a Cadillac Escalade into a tree near his Florida home. Scandal number two began when a sticky Toyota accelerator pedal allegedly caused a number of crashes, including one involving an off-duty highway patrol officer in California where -- you guessed it -- Tiger Woods has a second home.
The connection goes even deeper.
Scandal number one persisted as Woods stonewalled the news media and refused to offer a public confession of his deeds. Likewise, scandal number two persisted as Toyota executives stonewalled the news media and refused to accept responsibility for the crashes.
Initially, scandal number one appeared to be a case of one or two indiscretions. But the Tiger Woods story grew into a full-blown media sensation when a seemingly endless string of mistresses emerged, one-by-one, fueling weeks of breathless, nonstop media coverage. Likewise, scandal number two kept getting bigger and better as, one-by-one, the list of affected vehicles ballooned -- to the astonishment and dismay of countless Americans who gorged themselves on weeks of breathless, nonstop media coverage.
America was titillated and awestruck and shocked and overwhelmed by giddy episodes of endless news consumption as the perfect golden boy of golf fell far and hard from his perch as the world's number one. News outlets were selling more copies, getting higher ratings and more page views than ever.
Today, America sits baffled and buzzed, shaken, stirred, blistered and cross-eyed, and -- once again -- overwhelmed by episodes of obsessive news consumption as it watches the perfect golden boy of the automobile industry fall from its perch as the world's number one.
Read all about it, America. Toyota is the new Tiger Woods.
Based on the level of news coverage, the Woods story seems to have been the first time a celebrity has ever been caught philandering. Similarly, it seems like Toyota is the only manufacturer to have problems with sudden acceleration, even though a quick fact check shows that all manufacturers have had similar problems in recent years. Wait a minute: you didn't hear about that on the news?
Could the fact that Toyota has the highest number of reported accelerator problems in the U.S. be due in part to the fact that it sells more cars in America than any other brand? Statisticians, help us, please.
For a while, Wood's private soap opera may well have been the most important thing taking place in the world. Today, the mechanical problem at Toyota, which is linked to a small number of accidents, appears to be the most important story in the world. Want proof? Over the weekend, Iran announced plans to start enriching uranium for its nuclear program. But, just today, new rumors emerged that Ahmadinejad may hold off on his plans to destroy civilization until after he gets his Toyota Prius fixed.
If you'll pardon me, I'm going to get into my 2009 Toyota Highlander now and go play some golf. Gotta get there before Ahmad's bomb makes the course unplayable.