Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tiger, Obama and the Perils of Print

The January 2010 issue of "Golf Digest" magazines hit newsstands and mailboxes in early December while most of its copy was probably written in October and November. This made for a few hilarious boo-boo's, including the cover story entitled "10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger" which didn't take into account Mr. Woods' new reputation as a world-class philanderer who the American president would probably want to avoid at the current moment.

One of the great advantages of online journalism over traditional print journalism is that misspellings and misstatements of fact can be corrected, and updated information can be added to the original online article so that the eventual historical record is more accurate. With print, once ink hits the page, the false information is there forever. For instance, the 2009 wrap-up page above mentions the surprising news that "Korea's Jiyai Shin -- not Mexico's Lorena Ochoa -- is the best player in women's golf." In truth, Ochoa edged out Shin in a final LPGA tournament and was named LPGA Player of the Year. Whoops.

Mixed-race Obama would probably never have become president without the American public having been conditioned by the decades-long media worship of the mixed-race Tiger Woods. This unconsciously helped suppress many of the "fear of a black man" feelings this country has thrived on since its inception. So it probably seemed a good idea to have a series of short essays written by everyone from Arnold Palmer to Thomas Friedman about "10 Things Obama Might Learn from Tiger" and "10 Things Tiger Might Learn from Obama." The consensus seemed to be that Tiger should teach Obama not to compromise so easily and to hold to certain core principles, while Obama could teach Tiger how to lighten up and become more of a smiling man of the people.

Obviously, nobody was anticipating Tiger's car crash and adultery scandals, so the advice now reads very oddly, particularly writer Bruce McCall's "At Least Look Like You're Having Fun." The essay starts:
"Tiger needs to borrow some of Obama's joie de vivre. Too often the guy comes off like Kim Jong Il, afraid to crack a smile for fear of giving the impression that some things about life might actually be pleasant. Obama's face and body language broadcast in HD when he's having fun. Even Tiger's moments of joy more closely resemble the relief of a man having just crawled out of a car crash alive."
That's some bizarrely prescient writing, though Mr. McCall would probably like to take it back, and I'm sure "Golf Digest" would definitely like to expunge the phrase from the official record. Too late, it's in print.


John Marcher said...

Great post Mike, though I'm not quite sure about your claim that Tiger paved the way for Obama.

That issue of "Golf Digest" is destined to be a collector's item and I can already see it in the window of "The Magazine" on Larkin street at some future date. Get your copy now, before it sells out.

jolene said...

"Even Tiger's moments of joy more closely resemble the relief of a man having just crawled out of a car crash alive."

haha I love that quote. It's hard to believe it's merely coincidence because the words were so spot on, but it must have been.

whabbear said...

OMG! I had not seen this issue! Too perfect!