Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In Defence of Tiger Woods, Sex Machine

Poor Tiger Woods. It's gotten out of hand how everyone has piled on with the Tiger-bashing after he got the snot beaten out of him by his trophy wife. Where's the reality check? Surely he's not the first athlete who has had large numbers of affairs while on the road. Wilt Chamberlain happily bragged about it, claiming to have sex with 20,000 women. Rock stars do it to, as do businessmen who spend large amounts of time on the road.

I'm not saying that what he did was right. But he didn't do anything that thousands of others haven't done before. The difference is that in the past, the women wouldn't have been believed. In any he-said she-said dispute, the men would have been given all the benefit of the doubt. Now with technology and things like text-messaging, it's easy for the women to prove their claims.

Also in the past, women would have been a little embarrassed to be the "other woman." Now, everyone's a fame-whore. People are happy to have their fifteen minutes of exposure even if it's for the most dubious reasons. So when a someone bags a celebrity, that's an instant fast-track to fame by association.

It doesn't help that North Americans are so puritanical. In places like France, a person's private peccadilloes are his or her own business. A story like this one would not raise nearly so many eyebrows. But here, and especially in the United States, there is pressure to put on the appearance of a happily married couple no matter what the actual reality may be. That's why so many Hollywood actors and actresses end up in marriages that they end up regretting.

Anyhow, I'm one person who still feels some pride about Tiger's situation. That's because I claim him as one of my own.

Tiger Woods is Asian.

Larry Wilmore, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart's senior black correspondent, jokingly disowned Woods as "that Asian guy with them Norwegian kids." But that actually is kinda true. Woods is one-quarter Thai, one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter black, one-eighth Native American and one-eighth Dutch. That makes him more Asian than anything else.

Asians are mostly invisible in the mainstream North American media, especially males. Whereas female Asians are portrayed in an overly sexual manner, the males are presented as either asexual or effeminate. You rarely see Asian males in Hollywood films, but when you do they're often gay (as in Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist). Even when they're supposed to be heterosexual and potentially romantic, you never see them show it. Jet Li never got so much as a kiss from the late Aaliyah in Romeo Must Die, even though he was playing the titular Romeo.

No, the mainstream portrayal of Asian males  is shameful. So it's refreshing to see reality turn that false perception on its head. The reality is that Asian males are just as virile, naughty and badly-behaved as your white Bill Clintons or your black Kobe Bryants. Now with Tiger Woods, that inescapable truth is out there for everyone to see.

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