Tag: celebrity

Tiger Woods and the Thorny Matter of Racial Identity

taking 15 mg prednisone for ra I thought I’d never be the next person to write about Tiger Woods.   That is, until today, when the sensationalist aspects of this incredibly bizarre story gave way to more substantive critiques.  In a different time, where concerns about the economy, the passage of health care reform, the uncertainty of a war in Afghanistan, and a variety of matters that collectively form the winter of our discontent, following glorious summer, this would have been endlessly digested and discussed.   Woods is at least fortunate that his great fall happened when the rest of the country and the news media was too distracted with other things.   If only in future we could give soft news its rightful place in a profoundly subordinate role behind serious matters, but this may be asking too much.    

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=viagra-generico-200-mg-prezzo-a-Torino As for Tiger Woods, when a revealing racial dynamic begins to enter the picture after an interested public and tabloid media, desperately churn up wild rumor after wild rumor regarding the scandal, then I have something to work with after all.   The New York Daily News, itself at times a scandal sheet, does at least outline something very interesting.    

cialis generico ultrafarma When three white women were said to be romantically involved with Woods in addition to his blonde, Swedish wife, blogs, airwaves and barbershops started humming, and Woods’ already tenuous standing among many blacks took a beating.

cialis for sale On the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner radio show, Woods was the butt of jokes all week.

follow site “Thankfully, Tiger, you didn’t marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas,” one parody suggests in song, she would have castrated him.

cpt for prednisone 50mg In addition to re-emphasizing a stereotypical portrayal of the sassy, no-nonsense Black woman, offensive in and of itself, the unveiled implication behind it as plain as the eye on one’s face.  Within the Black community, dating or marrying a white woman was seen as a form of social mobility.   Or, if you prefer, moving on up to the East Side.   Indeed, it still is.   Though the comparison may be a bit of a stretch, do also contemplate that both of Michael Jackson’s wives were white, as was the mother of his children.   The early Twentieth Century boxer Jack Johnson, an undisputed heavyweight titan of his time, broached social mores with abandon, and in so doing surrounded himself with white women.  That many of these women were considered of low moral standard, low social class, and often inclined to toil in the service of the world’s oldest profession did nothing to decrease the ire of both Whites and Blacks during his career.

miglior sito per comprare viagra generico spedizione veloce a Firenze Another figure who was very much front and center in the public eye in his day and also had a particular fondness for white women was Richard Pryor, who addressed the matter in his classic 1974 comedy album, That Ni**er’s Crazy.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=maximum-lasix-dosage-in-24-hours Sisters look at you like you killed your mother when they see you with white women.

A sense of sticking to one’s place and staying with one’s own kind,  though it has decreased with the passage of time, still lives within the minds of many.  If it were merely a one-sided assumption, then it could be more easily fixed, but issues this large rarely are.  

As one blogger, Robert Paul Reyes, wrote: “If Tiger Woods had cheated on his gorgeous white wife with black women, the golfing great’s accident would have been barely a blip in the blogosphere.”

quanto costa vardenafil generico 2017 The darts reflect blacks’ resistance to interracial romance. They also are a reflection of discomfort with a man who has smashed barriers in one of America’s whitest sports and assumed the mantle of the world’s most famous athlete, once worn by Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

Regarding the highlighted sentence above, I take some liberty with the author of this column.  It’s just not that simple, though the AP seems to always wish that it were.   Blacks aren’t so much resistant to interracial romance, but they are frequently disappointed and dismayed when African-Americans who attain some degree of fame make a concerted effort to exclusively date and then marry Caucasian women, particularly those who are the epitome and definition of what this society deems beautiful.   Our culture still pushes the blonde-haired, thin-waisted, Barbie doll look in almost every conceivable fashion, which relegates attractiveness and desirability to a very specific and very discriminatory standard, leaving out a good 90% of the rest of womanhood in the process.   This is particular true for women of color.  For any minority group, assimilation with the majority has been the quickest way to achieve “respectability”, though the resentment it creates in those left behind never subsides.        

Regarding a desire for African-Americans to date and marry other African-Americans, the column deems it “loyalty”, but this is an inexact qualifier at best.   It is a sort of racial pride, but comedian Sheryl Underwood advances the notion a bit farther.

“Would we question when a Jewish person wants to marry other Jewish people?” she said in an interview. “It’s not racist. It’s not bigotry. It’s cultural pride.”

“The issue comes in when you choose something white because you think it’s better,” Underwood said. “And then you never date a black woman or a woman of color or you never sample the greatness of the international buffet of human beings. If you never do that, we got a problem.”

Years after Loving v. Virginia, the shock of interracial relationships has subsided.   The film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, deeply controversial in its time, produces smiles when viewed in our age because of how dated its subject matter appears to today’s audience.  Perceiving matters through a strictly racial prism, particularly one with only two settings can only take us so far towards understanding.   The irony is that while everyone seems to find no fault in interracial relationships, many are still reluctant to push past their own discomfort or date outside of their own racial group.   And I must admit, in all fairness, that I myself am guilty of that as much as anyone else.    

So to conclude, we should not summarily assume that with Tiger Woods being proven to be utterly human and wholly flawed that some part of our trusting innocence needs to perish alongside his indiscretions.   One of the deepest hypocrisies we continue to advance is holding our heroes to a moral and ethical standard that we feel incapable of achieving ourselves.   In a way, it’s a bit of a cop-out when we transpose this crusade for perfection felt deep within ourselves onto those whom we idolize.   They end up having to do the heavy lifting for our sins and when they fail, pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.   Even so, shelving this instinctive impulse that assumes any being will reach some Nirvana-like state before our very eyes based on accomplishment alone might be the best thing we, as a body of people, can do for ourselves.   This doesn’t mean anything goes or that extramarital affairs should be permissible or that mistakes should always be rationalized away, but it does mean that we ought to consider keeping our indignation at a responsible volume and tempered by responsible expectations.    

As it stands, USA Today posits,

So it won’t matter that Woods won’t be getting that Congressional gold medal and we won’t care that the future of his business empire remains steady.

Columnist Christine Brennan writes about it being a long road back but it is a road back.

Still, Woods was an athlete we trusted. We feel a bit foolish with all those claims that he was the one athlete whose only interest was winning. That while others were pursuing outside interests, Woods was beating golf balls and figuring out ways to win.

Former president Ronald Reagan used to say “trust but verify.”

Sometimes we are more angry and the bitterness lingers when we didn’t see it coming.

So, has Woods spoiled it for other guys?

Does the fact that we got fooled by this guy now make us less trusting of all athletes?

Ronald Reagan quote aside, I don’t think trust is the matter at hand here.   Or if it is, trust ought to be applied to ourselves first before we place it in the hands of some arbitrarily appointed industry, entity, or agency who has based its entire focus and revenue around a single person who happens to be notable based on a high degree of achievement.   This is true in sports, it is true in politics, and it is true in life.   Be the change.  Above all, be the change.  Don’t lay the change on someone else’s shoulders, no matter how broad you think them to be.   That road leads to ruin.    

The Polanski Case: Morality Play Aside, What are the Real Motives?

Roger Simon in The Politico writes today about the extradition drama surrounding the arrest of director Roman Polanski.  Simon’s greater point is, of course, that those who are blessed with great talent are not always those who are blessed with the greatest moral fiber.  When a person who has achieved great fame for high artistic achievement gets in trouble, he or she suddenly finds himself or herself with a multitude of apologists and sycophantic admirers.  And yet, I would be remiss if I neglected to add that until fame is achieved, however, society and the creative class views any unknown artist as merely another odd bird either unable or unwilling to conform and certainly worthy of no one’s pity.  

Beyond a simple argument regarding the nature of cult of celebrity or the brutality of childhood sexual abuse, Polanski’s case concerns our own yearnings for attention and desire and how quickly we sell into the lies and cheap attention of celebrity.  Not only that, this contentious issue promises great appeal to those wishing to use it to pad their own resumes, insert another feather into the cap, or use the topic as a bargaining chip to strengthen a hand at the diplomatic table.  We have been contemplating one side of the issue, but I’d like to know more than the superficial.  These instances where art and law intersect are much more interesting.

To begin, a friend of mine, then enrolled in art school, expressed constant frustration to me and to anyone who would listen that the professors encouraged a high degree of eccentricity in each student, feeling that being weird for weird’s sake was a conditioned and necessary virtue.  The famous Irish wit Oscar Wilde, himself of no small ego and put on trial for his part in a sex scandal, noted that “no great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist.” Most of these students needed no encouragement in this area but I suppose the implication was that in a world where “starving artist” was a label frequently pinned to even the most talented at the craft, one needed to do something to stand out.  Those who adhere to this philosophy never require much in the way of introduction.  We know some of them by their first name alone.  

Simon’s column makes light of several less than stellar human beings who were championed by Hollywood, writers, actors, and other well-connected individuals for their talents but were dismal failures regarding ethical and legal conduct.  One could, I suppose, also add Charles Manson to the list, as several members of The Beach Boys believed him to have genuine musical skills and even were willing to pay for demo sessions to record his ramblings onto magnetic tape.  If one surveys poets, playwrights, recording artists, composers, sculptures, painters, and the like one can easily find example after example of misanthropic, borderline criminal behavior.  The Beat Poets, for example, were a rowdy bunch of social defectives and proud hell-raisers.  I believe there to be at least two reasons for this:  the prevalence of mental illness is high among the creative and those who perceive of the world around them so acutely and with such unyielding, high sensitivity have a tendency to be unable to know how to guard themselves properly against an unceasing stream of emotion.  Some manage to find healthy ways to control and channel this simultaneous blessing and curse and some do not.      

My point in all this is neither to defend nor to accuse Polanski for his actions.  While I agree that his directorial work has frequently been genius, I don’t feel much of a compulsion to let that fact whitewash the serious crime which he himself has admitted to taking a starring role.  The morality of the matter has already been talked to death by voices better connected and more eloquent than mine.  I am, however, much more interested in the reasons WHY this matter has come to trial now, after the passage of thirty years.  What are the motives this time behind bringing the French/Polish director back to the United States to serve out his sentence?  Who truly seeks to gain from this?  Whose reputation will be padded by having brought Polanski to justice?  Who are the major players, what are their names, and what is their compulsion to prosecute now?

The coverage thus far has been predicated on a very small focus of what could be an enormous matter.  That we have not yet been provided with the names of those driving extradition proceedings is telling and likely deliberate.  Aside from the diplomatic wrangling between France and United States, the politics and the ulterior motives of this drama have been obscured and unrevealed.  That the media seems content to let us talk to death one sole facet amongst ourselves and amongst itself is quite interesting.  This either means they have nothing further to go on themselves or are being instructed to not give light to a detailed, complex analysis of the case.  When matters of International Law are concerned, complications frequently arise and specific issues remain resolutely thorny.  It could also be that precise details of this case will be rolled out one by one over the coming weeks, at which point the media will hash them out to exhaustion, only to be presented latest batch of compelling information.      

I myself have grown tired of debating morality as regards Roman Polanski.  Polanski’s offense has highlighted how eager we are to forgive significant offenses in our heroes, especially those who have found their way into that small, elite club we call celebrity.  I honestly understand those in that tight circle who defends him, because their motives are a result of both self-preservation and sympathy.  They’re aware of the obscene pressure of living in a fishbowl and having any shred of privacy destroyed by the effects of a society desperate to poke into their personal business.  They understand how easy it is to break down, resort to drug addiction, or come completely unglued under the pressure of the omnipresent white hot spotlight.  Moreover, they know how easily reputations can be destroyed by spurious rumors and allegations of misdeed.  Even so, they also know that the “Get Out of Jail Free” card often extended to those who have the financial means loses its potency whenever any celebrity is sent to prison, no matter how open and shut the case may be.  Viewpoints such as these require us to rethink the idea of fame and acknowledge its impact upon our society and we ourselves.