The XX Factor

Sad, Sad Tiger

Aside from our own Jessica Grose , the reaction to the Tiger Woods ad has been universal rage and revulsion (“mercenary, creepy misfire,” says Daily Finance’s Jeff Bercovici ). This position needs no explanation. Woods, having embarked on his redemption tour, resurrects the voice of his dead father to express understanding and sympathy. “By appearing in this commercial, Woods is, in effect, saying to America, ‘Look at what a man I am, America-I’m owning up to what I did by looking at myself through the disappointed eyes of my father,’ ” writes Bercovici.

But the vibe that comes through is anything but manly. Woods is completely mute. He looks isolated, almost tranquilized. If his father is asking him questions he seems to have no answers. The commercial reminds me most of the Dodge Charger ad that aired during the Super Bowl , in which a string of men stared mutely into the camera, as a voice-over aired all of the ways in which they were oppressed or disappointed. There, too, the ostensible goal was a reassertion of macho-“Man’s Last Stand,” is the name of the campaign. But the impression it conveyed was exactly the opposite: that man was long past his last stand and merely defeated.