Tiger Woods Unpaved Road Ad
Alex Massie passes along “An unfortunately timed Accenture advertisement in the Wall Street Journal today that has also caught the attention of the folks at TMZ (who dub it “the definition of irony) and, I’m sure, others.
The juxtaposition of this and Woods’ car crash over the weekend is somewhat amusing, although I’m sure the gang at Accenture are laughing all the way to the bank. This ad is pretty similar to a whole series of ads they’ve run featuring Woods going back to 2003 but this is the first one I’m paid any attention to.
On the subject of Woods, Conor Friedersdorf argues that, not only do athletes deserve to be treated as private individuals outside their sporting lives but, more importantly, sports fans would be much better served were that the case.
Every aficionado knows that sports are worth playing and watching as a simulacrum of life. Contriving various games with sets of rules, and leagues of competitors, we’re meant to enjoy the beauty of athletic prowess, to be awed by bodies that can do things ours can’t, to experience the suspense of live competition, the thrills of victory, and the lows of defeat—and to learn from the spectacle, all without the consequences of actual battle.
The effect is ruined when real life intrudes, even if only in the mind of the viewer, just as a movie is diminished when an actor’s real-life personality is as much a presence as the character he is playing, or a play suffers when a stagehand is heard sneezing behind the scenery during a climactic scene.
What I’d like is to hold athlete-entertainers to account as role models so long as they’re on the job. Should Tiger Woods back his golf cart into a lake during a celebrity skins tournament, by all means let’s investigate the story, lament the fall of another athlete who “seemed different than the others,” and recalibrate our opinion of the sportsman. The same goes for folks who dope in private to enhance their public performances. Realty demands that Mark McGwire is a fallen hero; his sins bear directly on his supposed heroics.
Except in the most extreme circumstances, athletes shouldn’t be treated as public figures when they are off the court, the field, or the course. It diminishes what they add to society, irrationally elevating their private lives in ways that do a disservice to them and to us.
That’s exactly right, I think.