Tiger’s Demise

Tiger Woods during a practice round at the MastersImage via WikipediaI watched a documentary on CBC’s Fifth Estate the other evening called “Tiger Wood‘s Rise and Fall” by director Jacques Peretti.  I’ve seen other documentaries by this fellow, most notably one on Michael Jackson after his untimely death more than a year ago.  Peretti does have a pattern to the way he tells his stories which is compelling but maybe just a little bit tabloid.

He took us through Tiger’s childhood where this kid was quite isolated and controlled by his father, a Vietnam veteran who was portrayed as fearless and full of himself and very much a womanizer.  The documentary creates an image of a young boy who had his life planned out for him even before he was born, and who never really had any other option…whether or not he wanted one.  He was kept out of the public eye when he started to play junior tournaments, protected and groomed and made to practice hours and hours on end.  At one point his only friend was a much older golf pro who was also interviewed for the documentary.

It almost felt as if Peretti was painting a portrait with his own colours, trying to create a reason for Tiger’s behaviour, behaviour which was, to put it simply, just plain bad.  He was a well-groomed, gifted athlete who had, as it turned out, a seedy side.  A really seedy side, according to this documentary.  He traveled to and from tournaments with his large entourage, and in between gigs (and sometimes even during them) he would go to Vegas and sleep with countless prostitutes, sometimes all night and one after the other.

A great life, some of you guys might say :-).

But of course, Tiger was married and had children and eventually this secret seedy side was going to come to the surface as it did in a sudden and dramatic way back when he had the accident with his SUV.

I have a good friend who was a great admirer of Tiger until all of this happened.  She decided that she couldn’t forgive him and would never again watch him play or root for him.  A lot of people felt that way, while others suggested that he should be forgiven because he is human, even though his public persona made him seem pretty much god-like.

If this documentary is true, then Tiger had a very bizarre upbringing.  But then, so did Michael Jackson.  And so do countless other “stars” and athletes and people in public life.  You can’t help but think it must be the weirdest thing living the way they do.  But is this lifestyle because of who they are or because of who they are taught to be?  It must be strange to have everyone willing to do anything for you; a person could easily lose sight of reality and a true sense of one’s self.  The Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans give us a kind of moral measuring stick to compare ourselves to, but is that really fair?  We don’t live like that, we don’t have more money than we know what to do with and a lifestyle that is nothing but parties, appearances, and perks.  It must be difficult sometimes for these people to know which way is up.

We, the public, are guilty of wanting to watch these train wrecks-in-the-making too.  We secretly envy their money and talents, while otherwise enjoying their eventual demise.  I watched those two documentaries with a kind of disgust, and yet I didn’t turn them off either, did I?  I’m as guilty of gaping at these misunderstood misfits as they are of thinking they’re above and beyond reproach.

Tiger’s life will no doubt never be the same.  He’ll probably find his legs and get his game back on par, pun intended :-), but most of us won’t forget that he isn’t the perfect spit-and-polish pro we once thought.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s a victim either, except maybe of our gawking stares.

And he sure can play.


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The Grassy Knoll

The Grassy Knoll.Image via Wikipedia

Conspiracy theories probably go back to the beginning as humans first roamed the earth with their knuckles a half-an-inch off the ground. It seems that we have been suspicious of forces at work against us since we were first able to imagine that they could be.

I became aware of the conspiracy phenomenon back in the ’60s when John Kennedy was shot…that whole “grassy knoll” story where people swore there had to be a second shooter and maybe it was the mob or the CIA or Castro that did him in. And every few years, they’d pull out the old, grainy Zapruder Film footage once again and use increasingly sophisticated equipment to listen to the gun shots and watch the poor guy being blasted in the back of the limo, his hands clutching his throat and then his brains being blown out. What an awful thing for his family to have to see time and time again. I hope they didn’t watch.

But people are obsessed with these conspiracy theories and can’t just seem to let them go.

More recently there were dozens of YouTube videos posted after the tragedy of 9/11. One after another had a dark, moody voice-over provoking us with question after question on top of manipulated footage of the plane making a beeline for the towers or the towers collapsing. The planes were apparently “fake” and the government actually blew up the twin towers and all of the other towers too so that they could blame it on terrorists and use it as an excuse to invade Iraq. Well, that’s what the conspiracy theorists say.

There were so many of these videos created by so many people, you started to wonder. A few celebrities even became involved and started to speak out at public gatherings and meetings. What is it with our trust in celebrities? Just because they say something is true, that gives it more legitimacy? Honestly, they are often flakier than the rest of us.

When the Oliver Stone movie JFK came out, people started to wonder yet again whether or not there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, because this was Oliver Stone, for pete’s sake! There were others who came out in support of the 9/11 conspiracy theory, including Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell.

And even though Dan Brown howled “my book is FICTION!!”, some people insisted on believing that all of the information in his “The Da Vinci Code” novel was fact. You just can’t win.

There is a conspiracy theorist in my back yard. He’s a retired radio jock who runs a local broadcasting and media message board, and every now and then he posts photographs of contrails in the sky over Victoria and insists that they are a conspiracy by the government to secretly make us breathe chemicals for some kind of experiment. Or something like that. Apparently, these are “chem trails” not “contrails”!

Every now and then he posts new pictures of these “chem trails” left behind by larger aircraft as they fly overhead.

At one point, an airline pilot piped up on the message board in response to one of these tirades, trying to explain what contrails actually were, but this conspiracy theorist wasn’t fazed. There is a Wikipedia site that explains the chem trails theory in greater detail than I care to go into.

He has posted other suspicions about global warming and left-wing conspiracies. They’re all out to get us! 

And as it turns out, research tells us that those who believe in one conspiracy theory, tend to believe in another, and that it is very much tied to that age-old ‘man’s search for meaning’ idea. It reminds me of a line from the movie “Signs”, where one of the characters says something to the effect “people either see signs or they don’t”. Well, this guy is seeing loads of them.

And there are lots of theories out there to get the over-active imagination juices stirring!

The Apollo Moon Landing Hoax is one where people believe that the moon landing was actually created on a movie set faked by NASA and some other organizations. The Holocaust, of course, is considered by some to be a Jewish conspiracy. And who doesn’t believe in the UFO’s at Area 51? There’s everything from conspiracies about the Vatican Secret Archives to the theory that “Paul is Dead”. Paul McCartney, that is. Oh, and who REALLY shot Kurt Cobain?

Much to my dismay, as I was researching conspiracy theories to write this post, I found that the latest “victim” is Michael Jackson. Well, I guess I wouldn’t have expected any less. The poor guy had enough weirdness going on around him in his life, it’s not entirely surprising that his death would only stir up some more. It’s unfortunate that the whole thing feels so unresolved because that only fuels the conspiracy fire. Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, when the results of his toxicology come out it will answer some questions.

But I think that as long as human beings have over-active imaginations, they’ll find another incident or persona to create a mystery around. In fact, I think I’m starting to see chem trails over that grassy knoll shot above…do you see them? Look at it long enough and you will 🙂


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