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Rumor has it that Tiger Woods is set to come out of his self imposed exile from the world (and from all cocktail waitresses, apparently) and issue a "public apology". This won't be a statement read by someone else, though I have to believe that it will be a statement which has been crafted by someone else. My assumption is that Tiger wants to return to playing golf and there is no way that he is going to be able to do so without saying something more about his "transgressions" (ie, screwing everything in a Waffle House with two legs and a skirt, though the two legs didn't seem like a requirement that was set in stone or anything).
There are very few things that I like about the public apology. First of all, we all know that you didn't write it. We all know that you're just reading words that someone else crafted. Expecting us to believe that those are real words from deep within whatever amount of a heart that you actually possess is rather insulting. We're not idiots. Granted, overall, there aren't a whole lot of shining bulbs on the tree. But we're far from dim.
Second, I don't like how these public apologies are always one way. The wrongdoer comes out, blathers on about something, doesn't take questions, and then departs, usually through some large curtain. (Where do they get those apology curtains anyway? I'm guessing the same place they get the apology podiums and the apology lecterns.) I don't know that public apologies, if they're intended to be sincere, should be any different than private apologies.
Let's really use our imaginations here and assume that I am married to some guy. (I realize that is quite a stretch, but making crap up is half of the fun here, so stick with me!) And let's say that I find out that the guy I married has a seemingly insatiable thirst for dalliances with cocktail waitresses and porn stars (Internet or otherwise). After I crack him in the face with a 9-iron and cause him to attempt to flee from our Florida compound in his SUV, we separate to let things cool off for a while. Then he wants to apologize. Now, I realize that any sane person would tell this guy to go do to himself what he has been doing to all of those bimbos. But, let's say that I decide I'll listen to his apology. He apologizes and then right as I'm getting ready to ask him some questions about what he's just said, he stands up and says, "Sorry, babe. No questions." And then he walks off.
Um, no. That's not how it works. And that is why I hate the public apology. I am a firm believer that an apology is not on the terms of the one who is apologizing. The apology is on the terms of the one who has been screwed over. And for this particular sort of apology, the one who has been screwed over is the public. Granted, the public was rather gullible and allowed itself to be screwed over, but that doesn't really give someone else the go ahead to start the screwing.
See, this whole thing wouldn't be that big of a deal if Tiger hadn't promoted himself as being someone completely different than he was. That's why the Charlie Sheen ordeal isn't getting a lot of press like this Tiger thing is. I mean, seriously, Charlie Sheen gets arrested on Christmas Day for allegedly holding a knife to his wife's throat and then she subsequently checks herself into a rehab clinic for a crack addiction. Holy crap. That makes the fracas over at Tiger Woods's place seem like Thanksgiving at my place (during which no one was arrested, on drugs, holding others at knifepoint or cracked over the head with a 3-wood). But Charlie Sheen has never (to my knowledge) promoted himself as a squeaky clean guy with a squeaky clean image. That's why there is the uproar (pardon the pun) with Tiger. He made us all believe that he was squeaky clean. And now we're supposed to accept his apology, no questions asked? Screw you. Oh, wait. Someone already did. Never mind. Poor choice of words. You know what I meant.
I'd really like it if one of these public apologies would be on the same terms as private apologies are. You know, with all of the questions by the apolgizee for the apologizer at the end of said apology, because I'd really appreciate someone being asked "Why are you apologizing?" Frankly, I'd rather have someone be sorry than say sorry. I also wouldn't mind hearing the answer to "Why did you lie to us? Couldn't you have just done the right thing instead?" But I'd also really like to have them be asked, "Why should we believe that you're sorry?" Because I'm guessing that the majority of the time, if not every time, they're not sorry for what they did. They're sorry that they got caught. They're sorry that their carefully crafted life which they had previously enjoyed so much is no more. They're sorry that they have to deal with stuff. But I think that they're rarely sorry they did what they did.
If someone comes out on their own before being outed by a tabloid or a newspaper (that is, provided that there's a newspaper out there that still does reporting and stuff like that) and admits their own screwups before anyone had ever found out about them, that might indicate sorry. Then again, I don't foresee that happening because why admit something that no one knows about? Well, if you're sorry about what you've done, you do. I guess.
If Tiger doesn't like the public scrutiny, you know what? He doesn't have to deal with it. There is not one thing in this entire world that is making him be a pro golfer. I'd hazard a guess that he has more money than he can spend in this lifetime. (And he's going to have a heck of a lot more money now that he isn't paying off Perkins waitresses to keep quiet about their torrid affairs.) If he doesn't like it, if any of these public figures don't like it, there's a very simple solution. Stop being a public figure. Then you'll have all of the privacy you want and you can be as big of a pig and as big of an a-hole as you want. Enjoy.