Could be the best thing that happened, not only to Tiger Woods and family, but to the whole human race. Yup, if he does what he promises—shares and helps others with similar problems. That’s what these recovery programs require.
Alcoholics Anonymous members are warned to keep out of harm’s way—bars, drinking situations and friends—but what can members of Tiger’s group do in a society that has become so inordinately, unabashedly, ubiquitously and yes, iniquitously sexualized? And why are clergy so silent?
Author and feminist Francine du Plessix Gray’s 1978 commencement address at Barnard College warned graduates that “the massive eroticizing of society meant the slow death of friendship.” My then year-old column worried even more about the resulting death of familyship already weakened by the preoccupation with friends and “the couple.”
Infinitely more should be said about that, and by high-profile individuals like Tiger Woods. No matter the reason he “came out,” incredible good could come out of this most destructive obsession, from which Sigmund Freud may well have suffered. Erik Erikson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning psychoanalyst, stressed the need for social relationships, not sexual ones. His grandson, Christopher, a West Side Spirit editor, spoke of visiting his grandfather in a nursing home, where Erik was unfortunately unable to write about these end-of-life conditions, or his grandson’s rock band music, which was not much about familial and other platonic affections.
Music once was about those affections. Read The Rise of Selfishness in America (a turn-off title), by music historian and social critic James Lincoln Collier. Collier also wrote books for children, but all age groups should read this one, ideally aloud and together while playing Louis Armstrong’s “A Wonderful World.” Most wonderfully, this recording was used in a “welcome, new baby” musical greeting card, which I once sent to a new daddy, former Council Member Andrew Eristoff, and a few years later to a new mama, Council Member Jessica Lappin. It could be a wonderful world with more music and lyrics like that—and with a return to a feminist world, where women like Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug marched against pornography and gratuitous entertainment violence, which was once also assailed by First and Second Ladies Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore. Some women scrawled “Off Our Backs!” on “woman as sex object” Calvin Klein bus shelter ads. “Woman as sex object has got to go!” was a familiar chant. Well, most unfortunately it went in the wrong direction, evidenced even in the skating costumes at the Olympics.
Let’s hear more about Sexaholics Anonymous, which can be reached toll-free at 866-424-8777 or via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Compulsive Solutions
(other addictions included) is at 925-932-0201. Locally, Alcoholics Anonymous at 212-647-1680, where many in today’s news should go—like some high-profile people charged with domestic violence, and two of New York’s Bravest, who were busted in a Bay Ridge bar brawl.
If the mayor attended some open AA meetings, he’d not delay hiking the alcohol tax that the Health Department says would help reduce the alarming incidence of under-age drinking and deaths related to alcohol, car accidents and cirrhosis. Of course, it’s not only youth, car accidents or cirrhosis, which too many in power just don’t get. And, I dare to say it, we should tax high-speed private bikers in this high density city that has great, but financially strapped, public transit. Public transit is by far the safest way to go. Traffic tragedies cause great human suffering and are enormously costly to government coffers. Shouldn’t all the above be included in universal health care? It can be done if enough of us try.
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