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Culture & Religion

Tiger, Forgiven

Tiger’s statement recalled the words of Saint Augustine, who said, “Make me chaste—but not yet.” There is something about society’s axiomatic forgiveness in the face of apology (especially when religion is referenced) that makes Tiger’s statement today at once a tour de force of public relations and a predictable, chauvinistic sham. God bless his wife. God bless his children. And God bless the American obsession with the arc of celebrity: let them rise; let them fall; let them rise again.

Here is the reference to Buddhism in Woods’s statement:

I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.

So, a return to the teachings he was taught as a child will be one way that Tiger reconnects with his family. The Buddha believed in Letting Go, but the Buddha also believed in karma, and if we believe in the karmic effects of Tiger’s actions, we might wonder how his choices these past years will bear on his future.

“I brought this shame on myself,” Woods said, and indeed he did. But what should we think, and why should we care? Perhaps we want him to win again and become a better husband as this correlates with our own ideas about the cycle of reconciliation. Perhaps we want to believe that he is a good man gone off track, as it were, who will return and take back the glory that was once his. Or perhaps we all knowingly participate in the Greek theatre that is our culture of celebrity, and the bargain we make (the price of admission): we gain entry to their lives, and we grant them forgiveness. Whatever occurs, we allow them back into our hearts.

The Daily Beast brilliantly went to other women who had been wronged and asked them their view of today’s Apologia. There was not much new: some of us will hate him; some of us never cared. What separates Tiger from the Adulterer on Main Street is that he is given a global forum to repent and, up against the tidal wave of public-socio-cultural forgiveness, the wrath of a wife begins to pale.


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