One of the things I wanted to share was a brilliant article by Malcolm Gladwell (October 19) from the New Yorker, "Offensive Play: How Different Are Dog Fighting and Football" which dives deep into the offensive, violent habits of Michael Vick but also into the possibly (if we take a long hard look) equally questionable nature of our nation's favorite sport, of which Vick himself is a participant. I urge you to read it. It seems that violence is all around us, and dogs are not the only victims, nor are the fans of dogfighting the only ones passionate about injury and permanent damage.
But, there's more. On the subject of Tiger Woods. It is true that our obsession with his private life is completely misplaced and, well, stupid. It is also true that our love of seeing our idols fall so far is ridiculous. But the fact is this: He was never the perfect man we made him out to be (or he made himself out to be, or his image-handlers made him out to be, or his sponsors made him out to be, or Accenture made him out to be) in the first place. He was, largely, a construct. A shimmering, mirage-like image built on top of true athletic skill.
The media helped create the myth. Now the media is helping to pull the myth to pieces. And nowhere in there (or at least not to a great enough extent) are we looking at the true story. Tiger isn't the issue. The media is the issue.
A free, intelligent, educated, analytical media is the heartbeat of a thriving democracy. Ours has turned into a numbing drug that is as numbed by its own stupidity as the people who are sadly subject to its output. A media that supports myths and image-making isn't doing any of us any good.
On this subject, nothing better than Frank Rich's last rant on the NYT: "Tiger Woods, Person of the Year." Reading it, I had one sad thought. Right when our country truly needs something revolutionary to happen, right when the power needs to be wrested from the hands of those who would abuse it only to rake in useless wealth at the expense of millions of others, right then...there will be no revolution and it will not be televised. Because the very media that could help bring it about (bloodlessly, one would hope, if such a thing is possible), is too involved in the lie-making to let the rest of us know what we need to wake-up and face.
This has been written in a rush, without the benefit of proof-reading. Please excuse.—Charlotte