Monday, January 28, 2008

While you're just waiting for me . . .

I do have photos from our trip last week. I do, really. I just having importing them into my machine. And as I'm downloading the latest version of AOL at the moment, I think I'll keep the photos on my "to do" list.

I'm downloading AOL because for a year or more, I get an error message when I log onto AOL. Something about how there are key files missing needed for videos (or something) and this will mean certain files can't be run. What-EV-er. In a year, I've not once had something not work for me. Until today.

Do you remember I mentioned that Coffee Jones gave me a neat book for Christmas, about golf? Well, the guy who wrote that book, John Feinstein, has written several other books about golf, and I've been reading them one right after another. (Note to self: Books-as-equivalent-to-potato-chips = good topic for future blog post.)

Only, there's a funny undercurrent -- just a whiff of something odd -- in his books. He doesn't much like Tiger Woods. Feinstein wrote an entire book about the first U.S. Open championship to be played at a municipal golf course ("Open" -- he's got a way with words, our JF). The tournament was won by Tiger Woods, but that really didn't get more than a tangential mention in the book.

Don't get me wrong -- these books are really fun to read (assuming you LIKE golf; I would imagine that if you didn't like golf, you'd rather read Moby Dick, War and Peace, or our personal favorite for unreadable classic: The Last of the Mohicans, than a John Feinstein book). But, in honor of Tiger's 62nd tour victory -- tying Arnold Palmer's spot on the all-time list -- I thought I would google both Feinstein and Tiger and see what he really thinks.

It's bad, people. Feinstein has actually written an anti-Tiger book. That's bad.

I kinda, sorta get it. If your hero is Arnold Palmer (and he seems to be Feinstein's), Tiger Woods isn't going to cut it. Feinstein writes about how warm and friendly Palmer is -- he remembers everyone's name, takes time to chat with the up-and-coming players, and is a gracious host. (He also makes a packet of money every year as a corporate shill despite the fact that his last tour victory was in 1973, but that doesn't take away from his popularity.) Tiger Woods is not Arnold Palmer; he's VERY private, terse, likes very few people, and has to work at it to encourage the "younger" players.

But here's a funny thing: Feinstein loves Arnold Palmer, right? But he doesn't see the irony when he quotes Palmer as saying that the PGA Tour isn't as intense and competitive as it was in Arnie & Jack's day. Palmer would like to see players be more serious on the golf course, to play harder and really want to beat the other guy. Guess who that sounds like!

Anyway, I find a webcast with some golf guy interviewing John Feinstein. There's no date on the site, but there's a reference to Torrey Pines, the course where Tiger won yesterday. Ooh, goody -- let's see if Feinstein has softened about Tiger, I think.

Because -- and I know I think way too much about all this, but still -- Tiger Woods is a cool phenomenon. First off, he's good. No, he's great. Actually, he's probably better than that, but let's keep it scaled down to what we have today. He's 32, about to enter his best playing years. (Phil Mickelson didn't win his first major until his early 30s.) He's already won 13 majors, and there's serious talk about Tiger's chance to win all four majors this year, a feat unequaled in modern golf. He's won on tour 62 times; he's only been on tour a little more than 11 years. Imagine what he can do in another 11 years.

He's a multi-millionaire, and likely to be sports' first billionaire. He's a significant fund raiser and philanthropist, creating a learning center in California for disadvantaged youth, and planning another one on the east coast.

He's committed to playing around the world, which means he provides a positive example of American skills and abilities in other countries.

And he's black. Not 100% black, but black enough that as a child he was tied to a tree and had "the N-word" spray painted on his chest. Black enough that he gets criticized for not criticizing others for racially-charged language. He's a black man who's popular (with a lot of people, even if not John Feinstein) and successful. That's a good thing. And it's different enough from Arnold Palmer's background that I think it matters.

So I was interested enough in what John Feinstein had to say on the subject that I reinstalled AOL and tried again. Here's the result: I seem to have substituted one error message for another, but I was able to listen to the webcast, only it was from last May and clearly part of Feinstein's publicity tour promoting the book Coffee J. gave me.

Now I get to call AOL's help line and see what this NEW error message means.

1 comment:

  1. First off: AOL - lol (I know, be nice, or I won't get to use it - :-)
    "With that said," I think that Tiger missed an opportunity to raise awareness of racism in the U.S. Like a hernia, Tilghman's comment popped out through the tightly muscled abdominal wall of journalistic taboo. Golf Channel and Tilghman repaired the damage, leaving the stitches, and yet another long-lasting scar. Soon, however, hair will grow back over the scar; we will remember it's there, but only in retrospectives and lists. Tiger missed the opportunity to rip open the stitches and eviscerate the racist world of golf (and by extension the racist U.S. society.) Evisceration is obviously not possible in a single swipe, but we have once again moved backwards. The fact that he (or anyone else) is identified as his skin color is horrible -- why do we even have the check boxes? Why does the federal government mandate that the check boxes be there, and that medical experiments must report the so-called race of the test subjects? It's the least of the differences between people, but until we can feel confident in doing away with those checkboxes, people like Tiger Woods will and should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. The checkboxes (and resulting endless categorization) are evidence that we have a long way to go before we have true equality among all people.