Category Archives: Current Affairs

Fanning the flames

Apologies for the delay in writing, once again I have been on holiday. This time I was in Sardinia, lounging on a luxury yacht off the coast of Costa Verde with Naomi Campbell and a clutch of celebrity pals, chuckling over her inconveniences at The Hague.

I neglected to read or watch a single piece of news while I was away on this trip, but now I’ve returned I can see that I’ve not missed much. The dominant headlines are pretty similar in tone – besmirching the reputation of politicians, scoffing at celebrity fashion faux pas and continuing to cover with regularity the escalating nonsense that is Ground Zero Mosque. This story was running before I went away over a week ago and now I’ve returned it seems to have gathered momentum with the news of lunatic Florida pastor Terry Jones threatening to hold a ‘burn the Qur’an day’ tomorrow, on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

What’s wrong with this man? Is he an idiot? Judging by the speech I watched him deliver regarding his proposal, his staccato, bullet point rhetoric would indicate that he is possibly suffering from some mental deficiency – an observation further confirmed by his facial hair and pig ignorant scowl, and then cemented by the revelation that Jones was dismissed by a church board in Cologne in 2008 after allegedly faking a title as doctor of theology, forcing members of his Christian mission to give him a percentage of their earnings, work for little or no money and causing the break up of their families and friendships. Onward Christian soldier!

But this is just one blithering idiot with a vastly overblown sense of self importance threatening to burn 20 books in a small town in Florida. Can’t we just ignore him? The woman living next door to me is almost certainly insane – feeding sausages and cornflakes to pigeons through her letterbox on an almost daily basis. She could heat her home solely through means of a Qur’an burning stove and no one would bat an eyelid.

 If the media elected not to cover the Qur’an burning story we wouldn’t have Pakistanis burning an American flag and displaying a sign reading: “If Qur’an is burned it would be beginning of destruction of America”, Interpol would not need to send a warning that “violent attacks on innocent people would follow [the burning of the Qur’an]”, and an Afghan protestor would not have been shot dead. But where do you draw the line? After all, the whole story is a farce. The Ground Zero Mosque is no more a mosque than my accomodation was a luxury yacht, and it is no nearer Ground Zero than I was to the Costa Verde. Unfortuantely, a holiday about me staying in a small town in southwest Sardinia with a couple of Italian friends, however true, is not very interesting and, therefore, not worth covering.


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Hopelessness & Helplessness

We expect it in the US. Across the pond murderous rampages are a dime a dozen. Not here though; not in good old placid Blighty; and not in Cumbria and Northumberland; and not once a month! These details, coupled with the sheer brutality of the murderous rampages perpetrated by Derrick Bird and Raoul Moat have left the media and public shocked and dumbfounded.

The first incident sparked the call for tighter gun control regulations. It was a knee jerk response born out of the unwavering belief that there must be something we human beings can do to prevent these seemingly random acts of mega-violence. But looking at both incidents together, it is quite obvious that gun control is not the answer. On the one hand we have reticent Derrick Bird, who had a clean police record and had held a gun licence for over 30 years without issue; then at the opposite end of the spectrum we have steroid abusing, recently released prisoner Raoul Moat, who, through his criminal connections, was able to obtain a fire arm illegally. It’s hard to see how changing the UK gun control laws – already some of the most stringent in the world – could have thwarted either of these men.

This lack of control leaves us with a sense of helplessness. We are hardwired to find reason—a uniquely human trait entrenched in our evolution. But what is the reason?

Anomie [an-uh-mee]–noun Sociology. A state or condition of individuals or society characterised by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values, as in the case of uprooted people.

“[Durkheim] believed that anomie is common when the surrounding society has undergone significant changes in its economic fortunes, whether for good or for worse and, more generally, when there is a significant discrepancy between the ideological theories and values commonly professed and what was actually achievable in everyday life.”

Changes to the economic fortunes of a society? Check. Discrepancies between the ideological theories and values commonly professed and what is actually achievable in everyday life? Check.

Has there ever been a truer statement from the past that fits the present? Probably, but let’s not dwell on that.

As we climb out of the deep trenches of recession we are starting to realise that, fundamentally, very little has changed. Bankers are still taking home multi-million pound bonuses; the English football team are still a group of underperforming adulterers and blackguards; and the rest of us must trudge on in our collective anonymity, facing pay cuts, redundancy and negative equity.

The capitalist dream is not the dream we were promised we would achieve through diligence and hard work, and we’re pretty unhappy about that. Some of us more so than others, and a rare few – also crippled by unrequited love, humiliation and poverty – would rather not continue with this pointless charade. That was certainly the case for Derrick Bird and Raoul Moat.

Loss of girlfriend/wife/thai prostitute? Check. Facing poverty/jail/general destitution? Check.

I don’t blame these men for wanting to kill themselves. But why kill other people?

It’s not unreasonable to assume that both men were suffering from some deep seated psychological problems. In particular, Derrick Bird’s apparent quiet and pleasant disposition coupled with his unspeakably vicious killing spree has the classic hallmarks of a maniac. But why the second rampage so soon after the first? This detail enables us to draw some conclusions . . . to find reason.

As I said, we are raised in a society that constantly pipes the capitalist dream to us; the message of success through hard work and determination. However, as we grow older, the vast majority of us find, as Durkheim posited, “significant discrepancy between the ideological theories and values commonly professed and what [is] actually achievable in everyday life.” At a certain age – probably middle age – we realise that the relentless progression of time has outrun the fruition of our aspirations; it’s too late. For many of us this means passing down our hopes and aspirations to the next generation. For those like Moat, with no business, no girlfriend, an aggressive, paranoid and narcissistic personality, it means settling old scores with those that have wronged you and, perhaps most importantly, leaving your own legacy by immortalising yourself in print and etching your name and face into the minds of a nation.

It’s not uncommon. In fact, according to leading American forensic psychiatrist, Dr Park Dietz – who has extensively interviewed many of the USA’s most notorious mass murderers, including Jeffrey Dahmer to John Hinckley– in a country the size of the US, “saturation-level news coverage of mass murder causes, on average, one more mass murder in the next two weeks”. And if you think that this is an absurd theory, then think back to the spate of attacks on children in China. It began with a schizophrenic janitor stabbing 14 children, followed soon after by a bus driver who stabbed 24 kids, then a teacher stabbed 16 and so on.

Johann Hari commented in his recent article on the media’s irresponsible coverage of the Moat case, “The psychologists say that currently we are adopting the most dangerous tactics possible. We put the killer’s face everywhere. We depict him exactly as he wanted, broadcasting his videos and reading out his missives. We make his story famous. We present killing as its logical culmination. We soak him in glamour: look at the endless descriptions of Moat as “having a hulking physique” and being “a notorious hard man”. We present the killer as larger than life, rather than the truth: that these people are smaller than life, leading pitiful, hate-filled existences.”

Judging by the plethora of bouquets and messages of sympathy banked against the front of his house, the mourners flocking to the site of his shooting and the posts on the wall of the Facebook tribute group ‘R.I.P Raoul Moat you legend!’ it seems that Moat received exactly the sort of send off he, or any other lonely, depressed narcissist would dream of—more than he could have possibly achieved at the end of his hum-drum existence. Is it any wonder such copycat killings occur?

So, how can we curb this? People have a right to know the facts don’t they? Surely it’s in the interest of public safety to be told about such events? Yes, but as Hari goes on to say, it’s all in the manner in which the story is reported.

“[I]n the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, [The American Psychological Association] suggested some simple guidelines. Don’t show the killer’s face, or incessantly repeat his name. Don’t repeat any of his manifestos or grievances. (They’re always tedious drivel anyway.) Don’t glamorise him. Don’t offer up a 24/7 drumbeat of excitement. Report the facts soberly, and, where there must be coverage, lead with the victims. Make them human. We should hear the name of Chris Brown, the man he murdered, more than Raoul Moat’s. Tell us about him. In general: play down the coverage. Don’t give the killer what he wanted.”

Despite the warnings, it’s clear that the message isn’t getting through to our necrophilous media, who are only too pleased to cash in on the gory details of any tragedy. It is a grossly irresponsible and exceptionally callous way to handle such a situation, particularly for the people directly affected by the actions of the perpetrator. Stricter gun control laws are all very well, but what’s really needed is stricter laws governing the way in which the media can cover such events.

Aside from this we can only hope to try and collectively nurture a fairer society that prides community over the individual, and accept that some things are beyond our influence – there are all manner of man made and natural disasters that can obliterate us at any moment – and while this brings us no closer to understanding the rampages of Derrick Bird and Raoul Moat, we can at least accept our powerlessness in preventing them.



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Fantastic Mr Fox goes feral

Aside from the ever present threat of being stabbed, shot, mugged or raped on the way to Tesco, now, we the residents of Hackney, must also factor in the likelihood of being viciously attacked by a fox.

Bizarre as this story is, and that is what it is – even so called fox experts can’t explain it – I think some restraint is needed before we call for the Master of Foxhounds to galumph and trumpet his way through the East London suburbs. After all, how many fox attacks have happened in urban areas recent times? . . . One, that’s how many. It was 2004 in Edinburgh when 88 year old Margaret O’Shaughnessy went into her garden late at night to feed her cat and was bitten on the leg by a fox . . . supposedly. I have to say I doubt the veracity of this story. First of all, why’s Margaret feeding her cat in the middle of the night? And why in the garden? That’s not normal is it? I’m not cat owner, but if I did have one I would probably allow it to eat in the house and at a respectable hour. I don’t think it was a fox that attacked her. No, I think it was probably the cat, pissed off with being treated in such a despicable manner. Anyway, the important point is, she was fine.

Of course any attack on children is atrocious and it would be churlish to make light of it, but it needs to be given some context. Compare, for instance, this glut of fox related incidences – a staggering three bites in six years – to the frequency of bites from ‘man’s best friend’, which is currently estimated at 250,000 a year and rising, and the calls for the immediate and total eradication of the urban fox population may seem a touch OTT.

Only last week I was sat in Victoria Park when a recalcitrant Welsh terrier attacked a child. It then proceeded to tear around the park, hatchels raised, as mothers gathered their children from the floor and held them aloft, while the rest of the crowd watched on in a silence only punctuated by the owner’s repetitive requests for the dog to ‘come here!’ Yet, in spite of the abundant witnesses, I saw no mention of the incident on the news the next day. Far too commonplace. My next door neighbour has a staffordshire bull terrier which I have seen attack another dog on two occasions, and two doors down from them is another ‘pit-bull type’ dog. Wander over to the estates at the end of my road and pit-bulls are the only dogs you will see. And are any of them on leads, or muzzled, as is a legal requirement stipulated by 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act? No, of course not. But forget about these massive dogs, with their gigantic heads full of teeth, predominantly owned by irresponsible idiots, it’s these scraggly little foxes we should be worrying about.

Reading and listening to the interviews conducted with neighbours in the houses surrounding the epicentre of the attack, the tone is, by and large, disbelief that Fantastic Mr Fox has turned against them. One man talks wistfully about watching foxes sleep at the bottom of his garden in broad daylight and another lady about having to throw a cushion at one when it wandered into the house. That’s a remarkably blasé way to treat a wild animal isn’t it? – “Oh no, Dave, there’s a fox in the kitchen.” “Ah, just lob a cushion at it, I’m watching CSI Miami.” Because, after all, that’s what it is, a wild animal, and if you are going to treat a wild animal as some quaint country relic decorating your garden, then is it any wonder that they will become bolder and braver, and as their population and our population grow side by side there will inevitably be a clash.

I imagine that many of the people now calling for the complete annihilation of the fox population are many of the same people who were up in arms about the cruelty of fox hunting. But now that their middle class garden accessory has turned out to be a pest, I imagine they have a very different view of things. The smart money’s on an investment in fox furs. I predict a resurgence in popularity this autumn/winter season.



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Burqa/Niqab/Hijab/Shayla/Al-Amira/Khimar . . . To ban or not to ban?

First of all, what’s the difference?

The burqa is the most extreme form of the veil—the full body cloak covering everything from head to toe, with just a piece of gauze to see through. The niqab is very similar, minus the gauze over the eyes. These are not to be confused with the hijab, shayla, al-amira, or khimar, which are all various forms of headscarf that shroud the hair and neck but leave the face uncovered. So as not to get lost and confused in Arabic nomenclature, from now on I will refer to the burqa and niqab as a ‘veil’, ‘full veil’ or ‘full Islamic veil’ – even though, that in itself is a misnomer . . . but we will get to that.

Belgium has banned the full veil and France is moving towards the same position. Both countries warrant the ban on two main grounds. The first being public safety and security. This I can fully understand. There have been a number of incidents of criminals committing crimes or eluding capture behind the oblivion of the veil – most notably one of the 21/7 bombers who initially evaded arrest by wearing a full veil. Completely concealing your identity in public places poses a genuine security risk (you wouldn’t after all be allowed to wander around the Louvre in a cloak and balaclava) and I can’t see how anyone could argue that is doesn’t.

Where both countries have blundered though is through voicing their second point: The argument that the veil is a breach of women’s human rights, dignity, freedom etc, and, therefore – in the words of Daniel Bacquelaine, the MP who proposed the bill in Belgium – “not compatible with an open, liberal, tolerant society.”

I could quote Sarkozy on it too, although he says much the same thing. And I can see why they have said it. It’s perfect for political point scoring. By banning the veil on the grounds of security, you appeal to the right wing contingency of the country, keen to see something being done to combat the more extreme forms of Islam; but by also saying that you are doing it in order to ‘liberate women’, you score with the left wing liberals. It’s rare in politics that a decision can win you support from both sides. However, in trying to ‘have their cake and eat it too’ both countires have unwittingly waded into a quagmire of conjecture that has marred their decision and hindered sensible debate on the issue.

What is the appropriate stance on the full Islamic veil? Let’s start with the basics. Is it even Islamic? This seems to depend on who you ask and how you read the Qur’an. The text, like most religious texts, is open to all manner of interpretations and even Islamic scholars and Imam can’t agree on the position of the full veil within the religion. So aside from the religious aspect, which is tenuous, we then have to ask: Is it an oppressive device imposed upon women, stifling their freedom and severing them from mainstream society? Or, is it a reaction by Muslim women to the rampant Westernisation of the world and their personal stand against it’s intrusion into their faith? Again, depending on who you ask or what you read, it can be either.

What should become fairly obvious from these contradictions is that banning the veil on the spurious grounds of freedom is foolish and unnacceptable. What is needed is a sensible and open debate about the security dangers and practical implications of wearing a veil in public (the necessity of non-verbal communication, the dangers of hindered peripheral vision when driving and the concealment of injuries beneath the veil are all valid, logical points that warrant discourse), because a liberal, tolerant society, no matter how well meaning, shouldn’t impose it’s version of freedom on anybody else.


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Well hung?

You would never have a ‘hung X-Factor’ or a ‘hung Britain’s Got Talent’, where Piers Morgan invites Stavros Flatley to form a coalition group with Susan Boyle. In fact, if there’s one thing that these shows are good at, it’s explaining, often ad nauseam, what’s happened, what’s happening and what’s going to happen in unnecessarily simplified detail. 

We could do with that in politics. But unfortunately it’s the polar opposite and it’s the reason that so few people are actually interested in it.

If you want to know the exact shade of vomit of Nick Clegg’s tie or the intricacies of Sarah Cameron’s tattoos then switch on the news or flick through a paper, but if you want any actual information about, say, the ramifications of a minority administration, or coalition government, then forget it. 

I don’t consider myself a moron, yet over the past few weeks I’ve come to feel that I’d have been better equipped and informed to vote in the Star Wars Galactic Republic than in the 2010 UK General Election. As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to get any real information or facts. We’ve already been made aware by the media that we will be financially shafted by whoever is elected, yet none of them will admit it. No wonder the average voter is so disaffected; I’ve only had the pleasure of voting a few times and I’m already considering a permanent move to North Korea. 

Politics in Britain (perhaps everywhere) holds little appeal to the average person because it is unclear in every vital area. We are all very aware of every politician’s latent ability to reel off an endless stream of baffling and often contradictory diatribe that we’re encouraged to believe is too complicated to be understood (even Brown has his own curious ‘stat-man’ version—reciting facts like a ticker-tape); frequently they bamboozle us with fabricated nomenclature that they never fully explain (Did you ever find out what ‘quantitative easing’ meant?); and they spend the rest of the time skirting round their flaws while sniping at their opponents. They drip feed us enough bullshit to keep us interested enough to trudge over to the polling station, without ever supplying us with enough actual information to know who or what to vote for when we get there. I expect it’s because if we did know we wouldn’t bother voting, but turn up at Whitehall en masse—a motley pack of rabid Dimblebys and Paxmans with pitchforks. 

Policies and politicians aside however, what has also become startlingly obvious in this particular election – and more interesting than the usual concoction of lies and spin – is the flawed way in which our electoral system operates. As the predictions for a hung parliament abounded I found myself asking questions . . . How on earth can a party win more votes but retain fewer seats? How can a party win fewer seats but remain in power? How can two parties that have both failed to win the majority coalesce to form a ruling government? Is any of this fair? Is it even democratic? 

It certainly doesn’t make any sense. 

If we’re to believe the news today then some of the political flotsam should coagulate to form a sort of government by the end of the weekend, and whatever else they choose to do, it is likely that they will reform the ‘first past the post’ electoral system to make way for a fairer, clearer structure, which should at least allow the voice of the people to be heard, even if we still have no idea what we’re voting for. 

“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.” Charles Bukowski




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Ash Clouds

Oh the volcanic ash cloud. What will holiday makers do? They’re stuck in Madrid. They can’t get a flight, they can’t get a boat. Oh, the horror of it—the horror!

Now some of those people have managed to get on coaches and now they’re all arriving at Calais. There are too many people at Calais. THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE AT CALAIS! There will surely be crime. They’ll be mugged and robbed and buggered for all they’re worth. Oh, the treachery of that volcano! Oh, the misery for those poor people.

I’ve been stuck in an airport overnight in Menorca; I’ve slept in a train station in Malaysia; I’ve been marooned in places where no one can speak English with no feasible method of exit for a prolonged period of time; and I’ve taken a plethora of 15-25 hour coach journeys all over the world in vehicles you wouldn’t even deem roadworthy (sometimes while also suffering from diarrhoea); yet, even without someone bringing me blankets and cups of hot tea, I am alive and not horrendously scarred by these experiences, because, honestly, they weren’t all that bad.

But maybe I’m wrong. I am, after all, just one man with one opinion. Perhaps the reality of the grounded flights is truly dreadful. Let’s watch the BBC interview the people involved and listen to their tales of woe.

“Hello Sir, how are you bearing up?”

“Not too bad.”

“Hello there, how has your journey been so far?”

“Long, but pretty good to be honest.”

“How have you been treated by the embassy?”

“Very well.”

Right, so even the majority of the people experiencing this catastrophic humanitarian disaster first hand seem to be ‘bearing up well’ as one reporter put it. But still the media insist on portraying the ‘inconvenience’ as a challenge akin to Cook’s endeavour voyage.

Impossible to get the facts these days. Even at the source they try and warp it. And so this brings me, by a knight’s move, to the 2010 General Election.

Last night saw the three main parties tackle foreign affairs. I’ve recorded it with the vague idea of watching it at some point today, but already, having watched just a snippet of today’s television, I’ve had the whole thing summed up for me from multiple angles by multiple people. Not the party policies on foreign affairs though. I’m still no clearer on them. But I do know that last night’s debate was more evenly weighted than the first one, with none of the three men emerging as the clear victor, which apparently heightens the prospect of a ‘hung parliament’. Is that good? I can’t find a conclusive answer. This morning I read contradictory pieces in the Times and the Telegraph, one of which expounds the virtues of such a parliament and the other lambastes it as sure fire economic disaster for Britain. It’s all conjecture and, as such, I have no way to form an opinion on which outcome is the more likely.

I’m told that a vote for Nick Clegg is pretty much deemed to be a vote for a hung parliament, which means that I’m not actually voting for a man, I’m voting for a government coalition that I don’t fully understand. Understanding the implications of these things is important if we are to make reasoned, logical decisions, yet all we are really told about is how tall or short the three party leaders are; how garrulous or reticent they seem; are they posh or common? What are their wives like? The real information – the party politics – is shunted behind a layer of spin and treachery and, as voters, we must grope through this oomska to find out what the difference is between them. And when you do, guess what, it’s virtually nothing.

The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was the difference between black and white (and not just in looks). What’s the difference between Nick Clegg and David Cameron? They could practically be brothers. Gordon Brown could be their weird uncle. The three men are virtually indistinguishable (and not just in looks).

I keep waiting for someone to say or do something that I consider worthy of a vote – something bold and brave – but it’s not forthcoming. So then, on the flip side, I wait for someone to blunder in epic style so I can write them off. Holiday pictures of David Cameron shooting White Rhino’s with an AK47 would work, but, to date, that hasn’t happened either.

A friend of mine recently summed up the reason for this similarity between the Lib. Dems, Labour and Tories by stating that, although Britain had problems, they are not problems major enough to warrant radical reform and, therefore, the main objective of the three parties – as they were so closely matched in polls – is to seem more appealing than their rivals in order to edge the votes in their favour.

It’s not a new thing; the politics of appearance has always been important, but today it seems to dominate. How you look is more important than what you have to say. Style over content. Celebrity politics. And the media continue to play it up. The papers take sides. Impossible to get the facts these days. Ah, the news is on . . . The stranded Brits are coming home on a luxury cruise liner . . . The volcanic ash cloud has blown away from Britain . . . But I can still see a haze in the air. I can’t see clearly. May 6th. All will be clear after May 6th . . . But will it be better?


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Gentlemen Only Lotharios Forbidden

Monday marked the return of the disgraced Tiger Woods to the game of golf and, as expected, there was much anticipation around the occasion. Well not the occasion of the US Masters—that was just a side issue. No, all anyone wanted to talk about was Tiger Woods the person.

And I can understand why. As a person he is somewhat of an enigma. I have to admit that I only recently found out that he is an actual person. Up until his spectacular fall from grace, I assumed that he was merely a golf playing robot—the creation of some mad golf enthusiast. And in many respects he was. He has certainly never acted very human. He especially didn’t like talking to them. The fans were kept at a distance and, judging by the comments made by some of his fellow professionals, so were they. For instance, I read a paper on Monday that asked many of his peers what they would like to ask him if they had just one question. The answers were peppered with the sort of innuendo you expect to encounter on a phone in to ‘The Wright Stuff’. I know golf is a sport for individuals, but nevertheless, it was a poignant and somewhat sad reminder of just how much distance Tiger Woods kept between himself and everyone else.

Yet despite of his aloof stoicism, sometimes the cracks did show. Now and again a bad shot would cause his rage to poke through the armour of tranquillity and although he was usually able to laugh off these tics in post play press conferences, it should have raised the alarm that beneath the smile all was not well.

I never trust a prodigy as a person. History has taught us that a glut of talent is usually offset by some grievous character flaw, which often manifests itself in some form of addiction. It seems to be God’s way of making amends for the gift. “Sorry underlings, I accidentally gave this one 10 people’s golfing ability, but don’t worry I’ll replace his sense of humour with extra narcissism and self-doubt which he will have to neuter with a horrible, debilitating vice.”

In the case of Tiger Woods, his flaws were probably accentuated or perhaps even cultivated during childhood, or, to be specific, his lack of childhood. I say probably because I can’t find sources to verify the claim, although I don’t consider it a wild assumption that someone who learns to play golf before they are two years old and wins an under 10’s championship at the age of three must have spent a fairly large proportion of that period knocking a ball about with a club and a fairly small proportion of that time learning life lessons from Pinocchio.

Still, Monday marked the golf deity’s triumphant return to the course and equally triumphant return to the press conference, which was hailed by the media as a groundbreaking victory for Woods. According to the abundant reports, his genuine smile, his promise to engage with the fans and his praise of his fellow competitors was all proof that he is human and willing to address his flaws and become a better person. But, honestly, what did they expect him to say? Think of it in PR terms – which is, I would have thought, the only way that Woods can think. What else could he have said? All other moves result in checkmate Tiger. So while the media may laud this as the second coming of golf-Christ, I hesitate to give him so much credit.

Tiger Woods has lived the majority of his life as a lucrative piece of marketing material that has been, until recently, denied the chance to learn any of life’s lessons so that he can act in manor befitting the brands he promotes. The news of his multiple misdemeanours not only dealt him a tough hand in life experience, it also outlined how naïve he is. In light of this, I very much doubt that those sponsors that remain affiliated with Woods are willing to place absolute trust in him to do and say the right things, knowing that from now on his every movement will be scrutinised by the press. His speeches, eye movement, smile, laugh, wave, walk—the media will pounce on any sign that his rehabilitation is faltering and, as such, his PR team will ensure that he is better prepped, rehearsed and regulated than ever before.

In the past we at least had his occasional on-course-explosion to reassure us that he was human, but from now on we can never be truly confident that what he says or does is the genuine Tiger Woods. He is probably spending a lot of time trying to find that guy at the moment, although sadly when he does track him down he will never have the opportunity to show us that man—the person Tiger Woods.

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