January 31, 2008

Tiger Woods and Barack Obama

Barack Obama has been compared to Tiger Woods so many times (Google finds 290,000 pages where they are both mentioned, although no doubt a large fraction are "And in other news" references rather than direct comparisons) that many people no doubt assume, unconsciously, that Obama possesses the same traits as Woods. We've seen countless commentators, for example, simply assume that Obama, like Woods, identifies as biracial, when the opposite is true for Obama.

Many folks also seem to assume that Obama possesses Woods' bulletproof psyche. Golf isn't exactly a tough sport physically, but its emotional and cognitive demands are high. And Tiger's consistency makes even Jack Nicklaus, whose ability to focus and block out distractions intimidated everybody in his day (other than maybe Lee Trevino), look like Britney Spears. In contrast, if Obama's 1995 autobiography is to be believed, he has a rather fragile, depressive personality.

The Woods Halo Effect may well benefit Obama even more this year because Woods is now 32, which was the peak age in Jack Nicklaus's career. In 1972, Nicklaus made a strong effort to become the first golfer since Bobby Jones to win the Grand Slam of major championships, winning the Masters and US Open before losing the British Open by a stroke when Trevino chipped in on the next to last hole. Woods won the first tournament he entered last weekend by 8 strokes, and he believes the Grand Slam is achievable.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Woods also has an anti-halo effect in that he can make his playing partner play much worse than their average. Will Obama have the same weird effect on Hillary?

Anonymous said...

Steve, come clean: you smoked a joint with the wife before writing this one.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so sure that Obama is psychologically fragile. He has never given any evidence whatsoever, including in his autobiography, of having any kind of clinical depression. Instead, he has a tendency toward introspection and melancholy. In bright and cheery America these qualities are suspected and stereotyped as weak, but they need not be at all.

Introspection can give you valuable distance on your own emotions and situation, a kind of ironic reserve and perspective. You can see those qualities in Obama today. You can also see them in "Dreams From My Father". One thing Steve consistently misses in that fine book is the multiple levels of irony and skepticism in the book, the way Obama simultaneously engages in and questions his own search for identity. The author Obama and the character Obama are different, and the author frequently undercuts the character. He understands that his search for an "authentic" identity is necessary to his growing up, but also youthful and naive. He understands that none of his identities are really "authentic" and authenticity itself is a bit of an illusion.

That's why the book is called "DREAMS of my Father" -- all the author finds are his own dreams and fantasies, out of which he must construct a realistic adult identity.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog on and off for about two years. I am an African American Republican colledge student who loves Steve Sailor. I believe the future of the world is mixed like Tiger Woods, Barrack Obamma, Allicia Keys, Paula Abdul, Leena Horne and Vin Deisil. Interracial people have an exponetial effect to reduce racism by changing the way people see race. Family intergration and interrcial power will change the world.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Voting black for the sake of voting black is weak minded. I've always voted for people who most see things the way I do. Mr. Obama's slim record is as about as far left as it can get; THAT is what I care about, NOT how much of him is what color.