Society craves Tiger details

The Tiger Woods saga and its juicy allegations of sex, violence and money rolled out to satisfy a...

The Tiger Woods saga and its juicy allegations of sex, violence and money rolled out to satisfy a voracious, voyeuristic appetite for details, either real or speculated. (REUTERS/Matt Sullivan)

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

You don't go long in this business without being accused of sensationalism, but the masses never fail to reveal their desire for salacious stories through a veil of disgust for the media and its practices.

Never was this more evident than last week when the Tiger Woods saga and its juicy allegations of sex, violence and money rolled out to satisfy a voracious, voyeuristic appetite for details, either real or speculated.

What this gluttonous consumption illustrates is that sensationalism, if it is something evil, is as much a reflection of a ravenous society that eats this stuff up as it is about the media that gleefully feeds it.

Last week, I was asked by countless people aware of how I make my living if I was on the "Tiger beat." Until now, I thought Tiger Beat was a teen gossip magazine, which probably makes it a credible source along with the gossip websites, trash TV and supermarket tabloids that have been all over this story.

Mainstream media responded by dispatching marquee columnists to the Tiger beat to dispense their wisdom with no more information than the people reading or listening, but they'll stay on this until it's no longer the flavour du jour.

Several of the nuggets put forward as wisdom include the theory that Woods owes a public explanation, which won't happen unless you call his "transgressions" release last week an explanation. With no criminal charges, this theory is just a hunger pang in our appetite for the lurid.

Another theory that has died is that his sponsors will back off Woods, but they have said they're sticking with him, including Nike. About the only theory with any truth is that his squeaky clean image has taken a hit.

What was your first clue?

Ask yourself this, however. It may not have been planned this way, but will there be more interest in Tiger the bad boy, which again is a commentary on society with our fascination for such notoriety as illustrated by the lovable John Daly, a train wreck at various points in his colourful career?

Woods will not allow his behaviour to continue deteriorating his career, as Daly did. Assuming nobody else claiming to be Tiger tail wiggles out in front of the paparazzi, this story will soon peter out as it did with politicians, Hollywood stars and others who went down the same road as Woods.

The gates outside his Orlando-area home now are prison walls guarded by the media and a society waiting for what's next, but it's at home that he will dish the dirt to the people who do deserve it and need it for decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.

QUESTIONS

Woods is in a marriage that, from a distance, has seemingly become merely a financial arrangement. Maybe, he and Elin will just live two separate lives under the same roof from now on or maybe they'll decide on a more permanent rebuilding than a temporary patch job.

Whatever happens, the price he pays will be more than monetary and he'll be paying it long after the media gets bored. But in the meantime, there will be those who feed the salacious beast and those who consume their morsels.

Hopefully, it doesn't lead to the same consequences, but the fascination of the paparazzi in getting photos of any member of the Woods family is setting up just like the incidents that Diana, Princess of Wales, had to endure more than a decade ago. Hopefully saner heads prevail and we've learned from that tragic incident.

Society lusts for the sensational and in a world of supply and demand, it's getting what it asks for behind a wall of disdain for the people who deliver it.

As society judges Tiger, should it also be judging itself?


Videos

Photos