Please, Tiger: No "Wife By Your Side" Apology


After listening to the barrage of free advice Tiger Woods is receiving from all the crisis management experts on TV, one thing is clear.

They don't get it.

Ozzie and Harriet are dead. The reality show The Osbournes is much closer to the way we really live once you tone down the profanity. Which means that advising your celebrity clients to do the equivalent of a marital dog-and-pony show before the press to refute negative press doesn't work anymore. Even the people in Peoria aren't buying that one these days.

My mother, during one of the countless scandals this last year, said to me "I don't get these women. He's embarrassed her, and now she's got to stand out there in front of everybody and show that fake smile for the cameras? Not me."

It finally came to me the other day, when the umpteenth crisis manager was on, describing what the image of a forgiving wife would do to the press, what was really going on with these guys who gamely insist on the hoary chestnut of the forgiving wife.

These displays are never for the public at large. They actually aren't even for the press. These often labored expressions of matrimonial fealty are done for the men who pull the levers of commerce, the men who stand watch over the scales of justice, the men who preside over flocks of parishioners. Make no mistake about it - the majority of the men who represent our institutions of authority and worship have invested their whole lives in perpetuating a common narrative that has a happy marriage at its core.

Maybe that's what these men need to signal that all is right with the world again, but the rest of us aren't buying it. In fact, we haven't bought it for awhile. The difference between the last decade and this one is the difference between Hillary Clinton and Jenny Sanford.

Both are smart, capable women who had their own careers before assuming the guise of a political wife. Granted, Hillary Clinton's stage as the First Lady of the United States was much bigger than Jenny Sanford's role as the First Lady of South Carolina, but both of them had to consider the same thing - their husband's political future.

Clinton has been grinning and bearing it ever since. Sanford is moving on, leaving her husband to the mercy of the lever pullers and the scale watchers and the bible thumpers, most of them men who seem to be as afraid of real life as they are of the truth.

So please, Tiger, don't give us that old, tired, "wife by my side" b.s. if you two decide to make a go of it. These are choices you made for yourself, so this is an appearance you can make by yourself.






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