Now that we got that out of the way, allow me to share my take on all of this. Tiger is not 'us'. And by us, I'm referring to the stereotypical, media-saturated, hip-hop loving African-American male that many of 'see' on a daily basis. He's not even your typical 'Black' guy. I will not use this particular space to discuss typical. You're an adult. You know what I mean. Let's continue.
I've read a lot of people discussing who's wrong here: Is it Tiger? Is it VF? Honestly, they're both to blame. But I have to lean on VF much more. Plain and simple: Vanity Fair fu*ked up. Period. But not because they did this to Tiger. Tiger did this to himself. I'm pointing my finger at VF because it was purely tasteless. Their decision to run this photo as its cover lends itself to an ugly undercurrent of (what I like to call) anti-socio-celebrityism. Simply put, it's part of the mob-like, 'cash in now' syndrome that permeates most mass media when it's time to break down and continually stomp on a celebrity who's too perfect. This article in the San Francisco Chronicle says it best: A bad idea at the worst possible time.
Again, VF is a mass-market magazine. And a mass-market magazine's main goal is to sell itself. And nothing - NOTHING - sells like controversy. Personally, I would've thought VF missed the Tiger Boat. People weren't really talking about Tiger anymore ... until this photo hit the web, that is. It's a shame but VF is guilty of perpetuating the same shameful tabloid journalism that it most likely claims it's not. Not only that ... but the cover is so unlike ANY of their covers over the past year. Google their covers. Go ahead. I'll wait.
See? All the other covers are 'pretty' and 'artsy fartsy' and 'jovial' and 'inspiring' and whatever other pleasant feeling you can muster. Why this cover, now? Why did Tiger even bother to take the photos in the first place? What was he trying to prove? It surely wasn't to achieve some type of street cred ... I hope. But unlike Wayne Brady's turn at being evil on Chappelle's Show (see video below if you've been living under a rock), this photo doesn't scream, "Look at my other side! Ain't it funny?!" It screams, "Help! I'm stuck in this facade and I can't get out!!"
Tiger, if you're reading this, the photo is stupid. Not because you were trying to look different for the sake of art or ignorance but because you didn't need to do it. We, and by we I mean everyone, didn't care if your clean image was real or not. That's how we got you and that's how we knew you and that's how we accepted you. If you wanted to cameo on Prison Break, you should've just had your people call Fox's people. And yes, the photo would've been stupid even if 2009 hadn't happened for you.
Vanity Fair Editor, if you're reading this, yeah ... ya fu*ked up. And now your magazine has gained a borderline racist hue around is page edges. For all intents and purposes, I know you view Tiger as 'Black'. Most people did, do and will continue to do so. Your calculation for releasing this cover is commercial genius. Judgmentally speaking, your timing straight sucks ass. You can make up for your mistake by putting the first Black-looking canoeing champion on your cover.
As usual, thanks for reading...