Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Perfect but not likable [and apparently not perfect after all] - Tiger Woods fails in the charm offensive

SARAH BRITTEN: He was perfect. But he was not likable. And so, when we find that he is not merely human, after all, but that he has hidden a dark side worthy of Priapus himself, we cannot forgive him.
Zuma also has the gift of likeability, so much so that South Africans of all races are willing to look past the shallowness of his rhetoric and give him the benefit of the doubt; his approval ratings are at an all-time high. Even Helen Zille has acknowledged how charming he is, even as he undermines the Constitution. You can get away with a lot when you are charming.

SHOOT: Charm is a powerful quality.

Tiger Woods does not have a lot in common with Jacob Zuma. Clearly, they’re both rather, ahem fond of women, and both have found themselves at the centre of sexual scandals — an entire rape trial in the case of the president.

But there’s an important difference that is becoming more and more apparent. When people talk of Zuma, they mention how charming he is, how likable he is. But, amidst all of the jokes about 18 holes and Tiger’s wood, something becomes clear. People watched Tiger on TV. They admired him. They thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread*. But nobody actually liked him.

As James Moore observes in this excoriating piece in The Huffington Post: “A part of Tiger’s present problem stems from the fact that his great skills were blended with a kind of off-putting arrogance. There are people pleased to see him fall because they respected the talent but disliked the man.”

He was perfect. But he was not likable.
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