Poor Tiger Woods. Living life in the spotlight has been very, very cruel to him. Having been judged to be morally inadequate not by a religious institution but by the National Enquirer and People magazine, Tiger's life has become a Greek tragedy. First he has a prodigious talent to play a game of hitting a tiny ball into a hole hundreds of yards away in the fewest hits. Well, that doesn't mean he's a paragon of virtue. He has a limited skill set that has earned him a lot of money and the adoration of fans who adulate him. Then commercial interests, wanting to get a piece of him, offered him millions of dollars in endorsements. Their products gain status by association. When you see Tiger vouchsafing a product, you want to immediately go out and buy it because, if Tiger says it's good, you want to associate yourself with Tiger in the consumption of the product.
So Tiger has earned millions of dollars in endorsements, and in a sense has sold his soul to the devil because in return for those millions of dollars he has given over his private life almost completely to the likes of People magazine and the National Enquirer. Was it worth it, Tiger? The tabloid media is only too happy to drag someone like Tiger with a squeaky clean public image through the muck and mud as just another human animal with clay feet, just another idiot who doesn't live up to his squeaky clean public image. But is it really anyone else's business except Tiger's? Arguably, yes, because he sold his "public image" - or soul if you wish - for those million dollar endorsement deals. And Tiger Woods, the admitted philanderer, probably wouldn't have merited the endorsement deals if the truth was on the table.
So Tiger was living a double life. On the one hand his problems are just between him and his wife. On the other, since he is a public figure with millions of adoring fans, they are between him and the public. If Tiger had been single and having sex with a different cocktail waitress every night, who would have cared? This would have been perfectly acceptable behaviour by present day standards. Athletes do it all the time without adverse consequences. Take Wilt Chamberlain, for example. But the fact that Tiger was married with marriage in western culture assumed to be monogamous, this created a big problem for him. In many other cultures it would have been considered perfectly normal to be married to one or more wives and to have one or more girlfriends on the side. So Tiger ran into problems essentially dealing with the assumptions about marriage in western culture.
Polygamy existed all over Africa as an aspect of culture or/and religion. Plural marriages have been more common than not in the history of Africa. Many African societies saw children as a form of wealth thus the more children a family had the more powerful it was. Thus polygamy was part of empire building. It was only during the colonial era that plural marriage was perceived as taboo. Esther Stanford, an African-focused lawyer, states that this decline was encouraged because the issues of property ownership conflicted with European colonial interest. Polygamy is very common in (Muslim and traditionalist). However, the diffusion of Islam to this region has (rather counterintuitively) decreased the prevalence of polygyny in this region. West Africa
In many Muslim societies polygamy is perfectly legal although some require the consent of the first wife! Here's a partial list: Egypt, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, South Africa. Heck, the President of the US' African father himself had multiple wives, and President Obama has numerous half brothers and sisters although, I hasten to add, Obama really is a US citizen! So what's the big?
Tiger in his televised apology actually came right out and said what the problem was. Because he was wealthy and famous "temptations weren't hard to find." Well, that's true. There are an unlimited number of females who are willing to throw themselves at anyone who is wealthy and famous, and those without wealth or fame, to a more limited extent, don't really have many problems finding extramarital sex if they are so inclined. So Tiger characterized his infidelities as "temptations" putting the whole scenario in a religious context. But the root of the problem is really this: Tiger really wanted to have sex with all those cocktail waitresses regardless of the fact that he was married. Here was a guy with unlimited wealth and fame. He could have bought anything he wanted. But what he wanted was something that couldn't be bought - sexual fulfillment. Actually, it can be bought but not in the legitimate marketplace. So this was Tiger's dilemma. One of the things he craved was off limits despite all his wealth and power. But as Tiger said, he felt like, after all his hard work, he was entitled. A lot of rich and powerful people feel that way. They feel like they should be able to play by different rules than the average slob plays by, and most of them do play by different rules, but without the adverse consequences if they are not in the public eye.
But then they have to deal with that moral arbiter - People magazine. I wanted Tiger to come out and cut through all the hypocrisy and crap and just say, "You know, that's the way I want to live - having sex with a different cocktail waitress every night. That's what floats my boat. And the rest of you who follow me around like lemmings - get a life." But this still leaves Tiger with the dilemma of dealing with his wife who evidently was not OK with all of Tiger's extracurricular activities. In another culture, a wife would be expected to be OK with it, but not in western culture where marital jealousy rears its ugly head. Married women in western culture expect their husbands to be faithful except those who declare themselves to be in an open marriage.
Mo'nique, for example, in an interview with Barbara Walters after she won her Oscar declared herself to be in an open marriage.
In Barbara Walter's annual Oscar Special, nominee Mo'Nique revealed her open marriage with husband Sidney Hicks isn't quite so open. "Let me say this," she said. "I have not had sex outside my marriage with Sidney."
But the same might not be true for him, NY Daily News reports. "Could Sid have sex outside of his marriage with me?" the 'Precious' star asked. "Yes. That's not a deal-breaker. That's not something that would make us say, 'Pack your things and let's end the marriage.'"
It really gets down to the marriage vows. Instead of this "to have and to hold" stuff, the bride and groom should really be clear and incorporate words like "absolute fidelity" or in some cases "we don't expect absolute fidelity of each other." Make it clear what the marriage is about - vows of fidelity or vows of open marriage. It's really between the marriage partners and is nobody else's business. But in western culture absolute fidelity is expected unless, as in Mo'Nique's case, one of the partners says in effect "ahh, screw it."
Tiger has chosen to go the route of contriteness for his past behaviour and treat it as a sex addiction stating his intention to get back to his Buddhist roots, sort of a slippery slope for someone whose main sin was a violation of western traditional culture norms. Buddhists don't require absolute fidelity.
And then there is this:
Most religions and moral codes of the West draw a clear, bright line around marriage. Sex inside the line, good. Sex outside the line, bad. Although monogamous marriage is the ideal, Buddhism generally takes the attitude that sex between two people who love each other is moral, whether they are married or not. On the other hand, sex within marriages can be abusive, and marriage doesn't make that abuse moral.
So it gets down to who does Tiger love? Well, obviously, he loves his wife and children. Otherwise, he would just decide he would be better off being single and pursuing cocktail waitresses to his heart's content. But it also may be true that he loved at least for a period of time some of the cocktail waitresses. After all it is possible to love more than one person at the same time, isn't it? But I don't think it's possible, once you're in a marriage based on certain assumptions, whether explicitly stated or not, to alter the nature of those assumptions. For instance, I don't think it would be possible for Tiger and Elon to renegotiate their marriage contract to allow for Tiger to have sex outside the marriage, in effect having his cake and eating it too. So Tiger has to basically decide to be the proverbial committed faithful western cultural husband renouncing all those cocktail waitresses or to be single and pursue cocktail waitresses galore. And it's clear he's chosen the former. In either case Tiger doen't need any endorsements. Endorsements be damned! After all, he's a billionaire. He can just go out and play golf and make plenty of additional money that way as if he really needed it.