Watching Tiger Woods play golf today at Royal Lytham & St. Annes is, as always in recent years, a complex mental exercise.
You can’t watch him without thinking of his monumental fall from grace and wondering where he’s at in his mind and body and golf game and why we should care.
Well, he’s not O.J. Simpson, who had moved on to his retirement fallback as the worst actor ever to appear in a movie when he might or might not have killed his wife.
All Tiger Woods did was screw around on his wife, regularly and sordidly. Most of us have more or less left it behind … though we still wonder how the road warriors he was linked with ever held a candle to the radiant Elin …
He’s not a nice guy, but at least he never actively covered up what he knew about the sexual assault of children by a close professional associate. He isn’t Joe Paterno.
PR by any other name
Public relations is an industry I’ve had some experience in and with.
It’s a well-accepted tenet of PR that your loyalty is to the people who put the ink on your paycheck. It isn’t your job to explain the rodent shit that makes it into the sausage, just to tell the public that, boy oh boy, that sausage sure is good.
It might not be the smart thing to let the PR guy in on too much, anyway, because you never know when he might grow a conscience and the balls to do something real.
I’m using the masculine pronoun (and anatomical reference) because I’m thinking about Penn State, where if any women are in the PR shop they absolutely march in lockstep with the male decision-makers at the top of the hierarchy.
That’s the university in the place they call Happy Valley, where apparently ignoring child sexual abuse is the manly thing to do … where child sexual abuse makes for inconvenient headlines for the fundraising machine … where child sexual abuse is acceptable collateral damage in the war to protect the image of the football team and its coach … where for years decisions at the top levels of the school, we’re told, not only actively covered up child sexual abuse but did little or nothing to prevent it happening again with fresh victims.
Did I mention this is about sexual assault of children? It’s not morally negotiable for most people, most sane people, people with children, people without children.
The PR guys at Penn State maybe never had to lie, directly, because what they did or did not know about never happened, officially … So, their consciences are clear.
They were just doing their job – keeping the rodent shit out of the papers – and doing it pretty well.