Or perhaps the bodybuilding was less a result of Tiger’s interest in the SEALs than a cause. (Blackwater had major problems with steroid use among its mercenaries.)
Haney compares this episode to Michael Jordan’s strange interregnum in minor-league baseball after his father’s murder (although that is often attributed these days to a purported clandestine suspension for gambling by NBA commissioner David Stern). Another analog might be movie star Mickey Rourke’s eight prizefights in the 1990s. But Pat Tillman, the strong-jawed NFL safety who patriotically enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and was killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan in 2004, is the most apt referent for Woods.
Tiger Woods never seemed terribly public-spirited, but it appears he seriously dreamed of risking his life to don a uniform for his country.
If Woods’s secret life resembled Act of Valor, that glossy recruiting movie for the Navy SEALS, Zimmerman’s looked more like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the Kevin James comedy about a man deeply driven to protect and serve but who can never quite pass the State Trooper test.
Here you have the two most hated younger men in America, Tiger Woods and George Zimmerman, yet they both wanted to be of service. They wanted to protect the rest of us from bad guys. They wanted to be part of a big organization, read manuals, and get ordered around.
This is fascinating to me. Perhaps human nature doesn’t change, but fashions sure do. Back in the late 1960s, it was considered cool to be a rebel, an iconoclast, a moody loner, an antisocial misfit. At least theoretically, people were against conformity, authority, and institutions.
It wasn’t really the baby boomers who got to do all that James Dean “rebel” stuff, it was a handful of lucky bastards born just before the boom who became role models for all us dopey boomers. But we believed their self-interested spiels.
For many post-boomers, however, from the most obscure (Zimmerman) to the most famous (Woods), being part of the system is not a fear but an ambition.
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