02 December 2009

since nobody asked

Tiger won't get out of the news. Which annoys me.

My "double standard" approach is that marital problems and infidelity are things best handled by the people involved and best aired and settled in private. The problem with that approach is that powerful or famous women aren't as known to be establishing harems of sexual consorts alongside their more traditional relationships (with a few possible exceptions in the "sex symbol" category). If they were, the sort of blind eye I have for it would make for a pretty fair approach, somewhere close to how Europe deals with the issue with a level of sex positivity and some respect for individual decision making. That, of course, isn't America.

Here would be my argument. If one spouse is displeased with their mutual and non-mutual sexual arrangements, they can file for grievances in their divorce (assuming they didn't agree to a marriage contract which had specifically listed the possibilities of "non-traditional" sexual arrangements and/or limited their damages in that case). I don't think that problem in particular has much of anything to do with the public interest. The actual public interest I can conceive of is to create environments where human beings regardless of gender are not treated as mere sexual consorts as much as possible, or at least, as much as is desirable for people involved (it is always possible that some people like being desired sexually more than they desire other intimate attachments, though this seems more true for men than women). Still I don't yet see how castigating famous people for sleeping around is helpful and necessary to creating that sort of positive environment. It seems more or less to simply provide normal people with analogous situations to their own marital problems, verifying pre-existing realities, rather than upsetting this established order. There are probably ways we can cover things like this that would actually challenge the status quo of a male dominated sexual environment, for instance asking questions of consent, moderation, and toleration.

Of course the other issue is that Tiger is basically a public figure for hitting a golf ball. If he were communicating a vibrant public message, from that public forum we've given him for no apparent reason, that men should be faithful husbands and then were discovered "hiking the Appalachian trail" in Argentina, then I'd be a lot more concerned. Hypocrisy, or double standards generally, to me is a bigger character flaw than infidelity in others. If the infidelity is predictable or consistent behavior, it can be avoided as a topic of interest or a problem generally. When fidelity is promised it should be from a consistent arrangement so as to be a predictable expectation. When it is promised and not delivered, it is a problem, but only because it creates unpredictability in a potentially dangerous and uninteresting way. I would be of the opinion that some forms of unpredictability seems essential to a long-term relationship. This sort, which is predicated on breaking very strong contractual obligations, is not so helpful.

But it also doesn't yet seem to be any of our business to help resolve the situation either so our attention is wasteful.
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