So ever since the end of November, Tiger Woods has been in the news not for his amazing golf game, but for personal and private issues he sought to keep under wraps for years. With headlines on the New York Times and CNN home pages for the past few days, Tiger Woods is definitely getting more continuous exposure than he ever has during his entire athletic career. But this time, it's not for good reasons.
Some people will say that the coverage of the Tiger Woods incident is excessive and just plain ridiculous, almost similar to the Balloon Boy story I mentioned in a previous post. Americans are obsessed with scandals, though. I think we've always had a soft spot for controversies, especially when it comes to the rich and famous. And when one of the people we least expected ends up in the limelight for doing something bad, we're even more intrigued.
So why are we obsessed with celebrities? Maybe we just want to hear about how much different their lives are from our own. With all that money and fame and power, it's easy to fantasize about what they do with all of that. Maybe because most celebrities are extremely concerned with maintaining a popular image, we assume that they cover up flaws in their personal lives with skilled publicists. When those flaws surface, though, the public is all over it thanks to the media.
Even though a lot of people say that Tiger deserves his privacy as he goes through this tough time with his family, it's only a half-true thought. In all honesty, I think the general public wants to know EVERYTHING that happened that night: what the fight between him and his wife was exactly about, what made him leave his house that night, the emotions he felt as he left the house and crashed the car, etc. If it could all play out in a blockbuster movie, I think that even the people who wanted to grant Tiger privacy would want to watch every frame.
Even a Taiwanese television station created a 3D simulation of what might have happened the night of the crash.
So is this obsession with celebrity lives a bad thing? Not only does this obsession manifest itself in the news coverage we see currently, but it can also be seen in the types of television shows that are on air. Again, this phenomenon might be related to the reason why we see lots of extensive coverage on stories that are fluffy and somewhat eccentric and unexpected. It's easier for people to grasp flaws in a personal life than a war on terror or health care.
Regardless of whether or not examining the lives of celebrities is right or wrong, it has been a staple in the media and will probably continue to be.