Of Tigers and Trains

This is a fascinating time in the life of America’s Celebrity Culture.

We put our stars and champions on pedestals, as if they were gods.

But they prove themselves to be mere men and women, with all the flaws of ordinary mortals, though their particular talents may be legendary.

It’s hard to take your eyes off this. Like watching a car wreck in progress. Will that guy live? Will he die?

Tiger Woods seems to be a train wreck as a person. His career may still be collateral damage. But in a new commercial from Nike his father speaks to him as a son, asking deep caring questions.

Given American suspicions about mercantile motives (though our country thrives on business), it will be interesting to follow people’s feelings about Nike’s spot.

Mine are mixed.

Tiger’s motives are easier for me to imagine. He craves redemption and forgiveness, to move on with his life — and his public life.

Nike’s motives are less clear to me. Do they really care for their spokes-star as a person? As a father to a son?

Or is this about their brand? If so, what does “Just Do It” say about them in this context? (You can’t see their Swoop without hearing their slogan in your mind). What does it say about Tiger?

F. Scott Fitzgerald, famously wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.”

Time will tell for Tiger.

He desperately wants to put his train back on the tracks, powering through tragedy caused by his own hubris.

Apparently, so does Nike.

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