Catherine H. Tinsley
University professor

Catherine H. Tinsley

Associate professor at Georgetown University's business school and the executive director of the GU Women's Leadership Initiative.

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Costs and benefits

Q: How much privacy do super-successful public figures deserve? Do the infidelities of Tiger Woods or former presidential candidate John Edwards change your perceptions of them?

Does Tiger deserve privacy? Yes, he probably does. But do I feel any empathy for his current predicament? Absolutely not.

Tiger Woods is famous. He knows he is famous, and he certainly knows (probably much better than I do) the costs and benefits that go along with being famous. Therefore, he acted with knowledge and foresight, and really has no one to blame but himself. Moreover, he has certainly profited from his fame, therefore I have little sympathy for the costs he simultaneously incurs from this notoriety.

Some have estimated that Tiger Woods Inc. might be worth up to $1 billion dollars. That amount approaches the GDP of many small nations.

He has earned this money not just through his sports winnings but also from all his endorsements and sponsorships. Thus, he reaps profit now because he is famous, because people look up to him, model after him, and want to be him. I might also add my speculation that his sexual attractiveness is heightened by his fame -- because people look to him and model after him, women want to be with him.

Should he now be granted privacy because this driving accident and his extramarital affairs are "personal" matters? But he has already sold his "persona," and he has become quite well off because of this (his) choice.

By "well off" I do not just mean in financial terms, but also in terms of his access to other "spoils" -- invitations to activities, ceremonies, public events, and private parties. He is a VIP with all attendant benefits of being such. I suspect he has enjoyed this life, so I find it difficult now to muster any empathy for pleas for privacy.

By Catherine H. Tinsley  |  December 7, 2009; 9:43 AM ET  | Category:  privacy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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We as a society are constantly looking for heroes. Why do we fail so miserably in finding the hero within nearly all of ourselves? For the vast majority born in the US, we are healthy and able to achieve the same greatness as Tiger Woods. He did it and we are grateful for the entertaining diversion it offers. When then does one look to model himself after him in any capacity other than being the very embodiment of a great golfer? I never looked to him for ethical guidance, for moral inspiration. For goodness sakes, he GOLFS, PERIOD. He makes lots of cash. Oh wow. I always knew he was human, I never expected to be perfect, to never err. And low and behold, he pitched his ball into the wrong cup and was penalized in personal ways we have absolutely no business muddling in.

If anyone is disheartened or frankly surprised that a man of great wealth can be so “human”, then I pity that person more than I pity TW for his own personal behavior. Who the hell are any of us to judge him against the very nature of all people everywhere? “Let he who is without sin…blah, blah, blah.”

Do I feel sorry for him? Not for what he did, but for reminding me all to plainly at what a miserable lot we are as humans.

Posted by: iralarry | December 8, 2009 1:15 PM
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Tiger couldn't have frolicked with so many women without the knowledge and assistance of others who profited from his succe$s.

PR & marketing firms, agents, etc. promoted Tiger as "wholesome" - projecting a false image to young kids who wanted to be "just like Tiger."
Lots of blame to go around for this disaster - but it all began with Tiger.

Posted by: angie12106 | December 8, 2009 12:24 PM
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