Flooding the Zone

I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you’ve heard about Tiger Woods’s recent troubles. It’s like sitting in front of a bag of chips or a package of Oreos—you can’t just read one story about this ongoing wreck. There’s the New York Post’s splashy coverage, complete with trademark headline puns. There’s the gossipy screeches of TMZ. And there’s the various and sundry online links and analyses that are sprouting up like so many lost balls at Bethpage Black (sorry, couldn’t resist).

But what I find so funny is that much like Tiger’s drives (last lame analogy, I promise), this story has such loft, such carrying power, that even legitimate news outlets can’t ignore it any longer. And they’re all starting to cover it in their own fashion, which is to say, lamely.

The Wall Street Journal chimed in today with the expected corporate survey: which of Tiger’s endorsements have dropped him (none), which are withholding their televised ads (all) and which are retooling their Tigerific products. And here we get to the hard news hook: Gatorade, the Journal reports, is discontinuing its Tiger Focus sports drink. As if this should be a surprise. Gatorade Tiger Focus? You mean it’s still around? Were we honestly to believe that Gatorade happened upon that magical ratio of high fructose corn syrup and water that actually improved concentration? I’m not sure which of Gatorade’s marketing assumptions were more off the mark: Presuming that consumers would buy its “Focus” drink, or its weird commercial cartoon campaign designed to appeal to toddlers, a demographic known for, if nothing else, its insatiable quest for improved concentration.

Time, with its own take on Tigergate, offered up a column comparing “attention controllers” like Tiger and “attention seekers” like the couple that crashed the President’s state dinner. It was wordy. It was analytical. It was a snore fest.

Finally, The New York Times, churned out a below-the-fold story today that captured the culture of the moment so perfectly, so succinctly, so….predictably. Its take? Today’s adulterer’s text message is the Digital Lipstick On The Collar. Get it? You know how actual lipstick on a collar was a sure sign of philandering? Well, see, the text message is digital and can leave a mark just like old fashioned lipstick! Leave it to the Times to declare a trend years after the fact. Bravo Gray Lady. Bravo.

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