A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.
The truest measure of off the charts super-stardom is to be known by an iconic name or nickname, a singular descriptive that defines not only a person, but a persona.
Tiger is a nickname, bestowed upon a young Eldrick Woods by his father in tribute to a Vietnam comrade. It is now synonymous with an almost carnivorous competitive fire which, in combination with his other-worldly talent, has placed him on the dizzying summit of being the first BILLION DOLLAR athlete.
In December I wrote of the episode of Tiger Woods in a post entitled Tiger and Elin - A Christmas Story; it appears in the column immediately to the right. In that article I drew heavily upon the imagery and content of Greek mythology, and at its end noted, "we await the third and fourth act of this morality play. We wait to see if Tiger is Oedipus or Odysseus".
Tiger Woods' address on February 19 was the third act of the morality play. There can be no question that the entire matter was managed. He spoke before a hand-picked, friendly audience. He took no questions. It was held at one of his sport's inner sanctums, with blue curtains, and warm, inviting colors. It was staged. But the first thought I had was how different his face looked. Gone was the imperious, Rushmore-like edifice carved into the rock of his persona. I was instantly reminded of how O.J. Simpson looked when first apprehended. I don't believe any pancake make-up or ginned-up sentiment can achieve that. He looked more than humbled or chastened. He looked hollowed.
Last week we learned of Anthony Stancl's sentence of fifteen years in prison for his role in what is now known as a "sextortion" case. We know the lurid details: the procurement of nude photographs of fellow students, the subsequent blackmail of those students for the performance of sexual acts, and the stunning power of technology to make those threats real. Gosh - the things that happen in the inner city.......
OOPS - guess not. It happened right here in the cozy, prescription drug-hazed land of suburbia, just a few short miles from our own two High Schools.
"I'd sit alone, and watch your light - My only friend, through teenage nights.
And everything, I had to know - I heard it on my radio"
In Malcolm Gladwell's fascinating book Outliers, the author describes the community of Roseta, Pennsylvania, and offers up statistics as to the remarkable health and longevity of its residents. In a considerably more difficult and scholarly work, Robert Nisbet chronicled a study of governmental institutions and our innate quest for community in his 1953 book, The Quest for Community.
A couple of weeks ago the front page of Brookfield Now carried a picture of the Arrow of Light Ceremony, held at Brookfield Elementary school. This ceremony marks the point of transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, and Barb and I attended so as to participate with our son. But we also went to express our appreciation to the men and women who have invested so much of themselves in him, and in the boys of our community.