Sunday, January 21, 2007


Ex-Dan Quayle speechwriter Lisa Schiffren, writing at Commentary's new blog about Barack Obama:

He's black, but not militant, not Al Sharpton. White mom, absent African dad: almost like Tiger Woods.

I love those last six words -- absent African dad: almost like Tiger Woods. Yeah, if by "almost like" you mean "just about exactly the opposite of":

Earl [Woods] guided and motivated Tiger in his rise to the top of the golf world....

In an excerpt published in USA WEEKEND, Earl said he had Tiger hearing jazz music when he was 5 days old. As Tiger lay in the crib, Earl would say, "Daddy loves you. I am here for you."

By the time Tiger was 2, Earl was drilling him on mental toughness, "an outgrowth of my upbringing and my years as a Green Beret."

"I pulled every nasty, dirty, obnoxious trick on him," Earl wrote. He tossed balls in front of Tiger while he putted. He dropped bags of clubs behind Tiger when he hit tee shots. He'd cough during the backswing.

"I played with his mind," Earl wrote.

Earl cautioned that his approach wasn't for every father and every son but it worked because he and Tiger had a special bond, built from the beginning.

"The best thing about those practices was that my father always kept it fun," Tiger wrote. "It's amazing how much you learn when you truly enjoy doing something." ...

As Earl's heart disease and other ailments progressed, he attended fewer events, and none since the end of 2004. When Tiger won The Masters in 2005 for the fourth time, he said the victory was "for Pops," his favorite name for his father....

Yeah, that seems "almost like" having an "absent African dad," right?

Of course, Earl Woods wasn't African -- he was an American of (mostly) African ancestry. And Tiger's mother isn't white -- she was born in Thailand of (mostly) Asian ancestry. (If you really care, you can get fuller, if contradictory, accounts of the ethnic makeup of Tiger's parents here and here.) But to Schiffren, I guess it's way too much trouble trying to tell all those octoroons and quadroons and macacas and what-have-yous apart.

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