Does privacy allow us to do bad things
When it emerged last week that Woods had possibly been having nike air huarache a 31 month affair and perhaps another tryst I, and I think many other people, felt little surprise and were compelled to say: "What business is it of ours?"
I even did several radio interviews defending Woods's right to privacy because none of us know what happens in a person's marriage, especially the weird subset of celebrity unions.
However, some time between the fourth, fifth and sixth alleged mistresses being unearthed and Woods's possible fling with porn star Holly Sampson, I began to lose sympathy for Tiger and his "right" to privacy .
As I said in the original post, even if Woods had cheated with just one woman, I'm not gonna defend the act, but I won't judge him either because who knows what sort of dynamic existed in his marriage?
If, however, he has been as obsessively unfaithful as it now appears, then part of me really wants to judge him, wants to condemn him, because it all seems so calculated.
And this is the problem I'm having: I won't judge him for a single transgression, but I will for 10. I'll defend his right to privacy after a couple of affairs, but not after a dozen.
And then it all gets murky: my intellect is overcome by emotion, so I do what I usually do in these situations . turn to someone smarter and wiser than me.
On his blog in 2005, he made the case that privacy allows us to do bad things and that, by this logic, a person without privacy is a well behaved person.
"My own view is that we tend to place somewhat too much weight on privacy," he wrote.
"The word 'privacy' has strongly positive connotations (like 'freedom'), which obscures analysis . people want to control what is known about them by other people. They want to conceal facts about themselves that are embarrassing or discreditable.
"In order to make advantageous transactions, both personal (such as dating or marriage or being named in a relative's will) and commercial, people try to put their best foot forward.
"Often this involves concealing information that would cause potential transacting partners to refuse to transact with them or to demand better terms as a condition of doing so. Such concealment is a species of fraud," he wrote.
He's 70 years old and the Journal of Legal Studies has identified him as the most cited legal scholar of all time, so I can't help wonder what his take would be on Tiger's infidelity, Woods's insistence on privacy and how it contributed to his "transgressions".
Most likely, I reckon Posner would say "buyer beware", especially when it comes to marriage.
In his 2005 post he says that "fraud" in personal relationships "is too prevalent and, on the whole, insufficiently harmful to require legal sanctions (other than in exceptional cases)".
"In addition the potential victims of such fraud can usually protect themselves (though not costlessly): for example, lengthy courtships are a way in which potential spouses verify the implicit and explicit representations of each other and thus unmask the frauds that are a common feature of romantic entanglements," he wrote.
So maybe Tiger's wife, Elin Nordegren, could have avoided all this pain by insisting on a longer engagement? Would the Tiger have revealed his stripes if they'd waited a few more years to get married?
If this sounds like I've changed my mind since nike f shoes Friday, well, I can't even decide that: I am, as my new homie Richard Posner says, "balancing imponderables".
The Building a Better Bloke blog has great new posts about the choice between career, family and travel, cooking, war, fat, rich westerners and what it's all about from the perspective of a Gen Y er to name but a few of the topics covered. We really, really need some new submissions, so if you're keen to write for the blog, send one to the email address below.
If you'd like to email me with a topic suggestion or just vent, try here. I now have too many unanswered emails to catch up on, so I'm instituting a no reply policy. In advance, I thank you for your email.
Just read the other blog and some of the comments. Saw TOB make a comment about Gillette having Woods, Federer and another he couldn't recall on their advertising budget. I guess somebody probably pointed it out already that it is Thierry Henry, another fallen star. Hasn't Tiger shaken your faith a little?
It is interesting that even "liberal" people like yourself have some sort of moral threshold as to what is acceptable. You are fine with one or a couple of "transgressions" and the right to privacy regarding those, but wonder about how you feel about 10 or 12 and whether there is a right of privacy for these. It is dangerous to bring morality into the realms nike xc shoes of rights, as morality is a highly subjective thing. One or two transgressions are ok for you but that is not the case for your next door stauch christian neighbour (although I doubt that your next door neighbour would be a stauch Christian considering the description you give of your neighbourhood all the same). Either you protect a right or you don't. Either you have a right to privacy, and that covers 1 or 100 trasgressions or you don't!
Whether Tiger has any right to privacy is another issue. Here is someone who has made millions selling his image and I guess in doing so he has waved his right to privacy in a way. We "buy" tiger woods (well some of us do, otherwise his sponsors wouldn't spend so much money on him!) partly because he's got a perfect white smile (always annoyed me)and a clean image. If he is not as clean as his projected image then we have a right to know! If you want privacy, don't sell your image to the highest bidder. No sympathy here!
On a different note, I wonder why he got married in the first place as he is obvioulsy unable to keep It in his pants? Why not enjoy being a single bloke with good looks and shloads of money?
I believe that the real public interest issue here is the fact that Tiger Woods has presented a squeaky clean boy next door image over the years that has made him immensely appealing to both the public and his many sponsors, has now been revealed to be a sham. The recent revelations now suggest that his popular persona was a marketing front to obscure the fact that underneath his wholesome image, he's really a cad and a bounder. While I don't really care if he is a serial philanderer, I have no time for hypocrites who pretend to be one thing when they are in fact the total opposite. While I feel sympathetic for his wife and children, who are the innocent victims of his antics, I have no sympathy for a man who has brought his predicament on himself. The humiliation he is currently suffering is karmic justice at its finest.
The concept of the secret or guilty pleasure comes from the idea that we do things in private that we wouldn't do in public, and that these may be more pleasurable for being less positively seen by society than the activities or pleasures we acknowledge openly.
Guilty pleasures range from one square of dark chocolate, to adultery and beyond. I believe that there needs to be space for private activities. For private transgressions that do not cross community established boundaries.