March 19, 2010
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So Joslyn James, one of Tiger Woods' mistresses, her feelings hurt because he lied to her -- the irony is thick enough to smell -- has gone and released hundreds of text messages Woods allegedly sent her over the course of the last few months.
Yep, just when you think we're on the way out of this mess, something else happens to pull us all right back in. Join me in negotiating these latest revelations, won't you?
First off, my position. I think Woods is a complete disappointment as a man and as a husband for the way he stepped out on his family. You may disagree; that's fine.
That said, the affairs are his family's business, not ours. You'll note that on this site, we've focused on the effects of the affairs -- on Woods, on his sponsors, on the game of golf -- not the affairs themselves, which is a critical distinction. Whether or not he makes good with his wife isn't my concern; whether he comes back and plays great golf is.
Okay, now, that said -- let's take the cheating-husband angle out of this. The sexting issue is one of the few times in this whole sordid mess where I actually feel sorry for Tiger. Allow me to explain.
There are those out there who are insanely, disturbingly upset about these texts. They claim that the texts are proof that Tiger Woods is, as one irrationally outraged Boston columnist put it, "a sicko."
Maybe yes, maybe no. Tiger seems to me less like a sicko and more like a guy who never really learned how to talk to women -- hell, he never needed to. Take a look at Deadspin's list of his texts to James here (link way, way NSFW b/c of language). You've got a guy who goes from making plans like a CIA agent:
"I will leave an envelope at the front desk under ms daniels. Your room will be 305. Get settled and let me know when you are ready to see me. I will be in room 201. You can come down the stair well next to your room. Make sure absolutely no one sees you"
to a guy who sounds like he's cutting-and-pasting off a porn website:
"You are my [redacted] Hold you down while i [redacted] and [whoo, really redacted] Then im going to tell you to [yep, redacted] while i [redacted yet again] and pull your hair for making noise"
My goodness. That Tiger Woods. Such a profane fellow. Can't imagine he'd ever land a woman with that kind of language if he wasn't Tiger [redacted] Woods.
It's reminsicent of that great old Chris Rock bit about Bill Clinton's infidelities: "You see all these fat Republican guys going, 'I would never do such a thing. This is a travesty.' I'm like, 'Nobody's trying to [redacted] you! ... Ain't nobody trying to give Newt Gingrich some!"
And that's the exact point here. Because of his celebrity, Woods faced temptations beyond imagining. (For a moment, those of you piling on Tiger just ask yourself what you'd have done if you were Tiger and these women were throwing themselves at you ... Really? You're lying.)
Once he started getting away with his "transgressions," Tiger obviously got bolder and stupider the farther he went on. (Texting that stuff? Really, Tiger?) What'll be interesting to see as more of this story comes out is how much he was enabled, coddled and shielded by his handlers.
After all, what was the incentive for him to stop? For every woman who was turned off by his demand to [redacted] her until she [redacted], there are ten more who'd take a number to line up. For every business associate recommending he perhaps think about what he was risking, there were ten willing to nod "yes" to whatever outlandish request he made of them.
The Tiger Woods saga is a tragedy, both for his family and for those who invested so much hope in his career. But it's important to remember that he didn't fall so far without help. And, as the lovely Joslyn James has demonstrated, there are plenty still willing to work him over for a quick buck.
Oh, and by the way, if you're jealous of Ms. James, Gawker's Tigerbot is willing to sext you too, free of charge.