Saturday, February 20, 2010

Simmons on Woods

Bill Simmons' reaction to Tiger Woods' statement yesterday was a pretty good illustration about how writing about famous people for a living warps your appreciation for their impact in society. The piece opens:
Say this much about Tiger: People give a crap. I don't know anyone who didn't watch this morning's speech. There isn't another athlete -- not one -- who could have made the world stop from 11 to 11:15 like Tiger Woods did.
I don't live in a cave, and I know zero people who watched it, nor did anyone mention it to me yesterday. Of course, I do live in Mexico, but I can't imagine that among my family and friends in the States, much more than 10 percent stopped what they were doing to watch the press conference live. It was mildly interesting when new information was still coming out and before the supply of stupid jokes had been exhausted, but ever since then, it's been kind of tiresome.

Simmons later writes:
In a few weeks, or a few months, Tiger will start hitting golf balls and everything will be fine again. I just want to get there. For now, we apparently have to put up with a few more weeks (and possibly months) of the Tiger Woods Rehabilitation Tour. There will be more rehab, more staged photos, more secrecy and eventually a carefully planned interview with the right person who won't be a threat to ask him anything interesting. Wake me up when he plays a tournament.
If your reaction to the press conference is to spend an afternoon pretending you were Tiger's PR guy while writing a nearly 3,000-word article about it, I think you kind of forfeit the right to complain about the excessive coverage of Tiger's non-golf activities. I don't mean to sound like one of those people who constantly brags about not having a TV, but no one's forcing you to pay attention to Tiger (I guess that logical disconnect explains the need for the falsely premised opener). That's not a judgment; if you like that kind of stuff, great, have at it. It's a hell of a scandal. If you don't, that's fine, too, and luckily there's a billion other things, both high-brow and low-, that can occupy your attention on any given day. But don't complain about the Tiger circus while making a significant contribution to it.

The piece did, however, have a couple of good insights, particularly this one:
Like so many other mega-celebrities who became famous too early, it's as though they never properly develop the part of their brain that controls this question: "How can I win over the person I'm talking to right now?" When you become famous too early, you don't have to win over anyone. You just have to exist.


Anonymous said...

You sound like a bit of a loser mate.

pc said...

Thanks mate! Come again.

jd said...

Probly also worth noting that Simmons' broadest point, that Tiger is a robot freak, is nigh unimpeachable.

pc said...

Yeah there's no doubt he comes off as though controlled by someone else.