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Friday, January 18, 2008
golfweek magazine and judgment

As the Kelly Tilghman maelstrom had begun to abate in connection with her Tiger Woods "lynch him in a back alley" blunder, Golfweek has just published the image of a noose in connection to Tilghman's ignorant commentary in this weeks edition of its magazine.

Does this represent a collosal lapse in judgment on the part of Golfweek editor Dave Seanor or is this a merely a nefarious attempt to grab attention for a weekly mag that distributes approximately 160,000 copies per, mostly to subscribers? The cover page reads: "Caught In A Noose: Tilghman Slips Up, and Golf Channel Can't Wriggle Free."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem weighed in with a statement in the New York Times decrying the imagery of a "swinging noose" as "outrageous and irresponsible." Seanor defends the cover as not intending to be “'racially provocative,' but to illustrate a noose tightening around Tilghman, the Golf Channel and golf."

Last week, vigorous debate was heard on this blog and around the country in connection with the imagery and psychology of "lynching" and "the noose" in the United States, particularly in connection with the historically racialized practice of lynching African American citizens, mostly in the South, in our nation's fairly recent past. National attention has been shined on the incident by Reverend Al Sharpton and the Golf Channel's highly publicized suspension of Tilghman resulting in both platitudes and harsh criticism. Few images in the U.S. are more insulting or racially charged than the noose.


Well it's pretty obvious that it's the latter -- Newsday devoted a full page to Golfweek in today's edition, and everyone is talking about Golfweek instead of Golfworld (their direct competitor), which had a terrific cover story about Billy Spiller:

It's an excellent article, the full text is available at the link.

Anonymous Prof G -- 1/18/2008 8:17 AM  

How many real lynchings have there been in America within living memory? Hint: Tuskeegee University, which for decades published an annual report on lynchings, stopped doing so way back in 1959 - almost a half-century ago - because there wasn't anything to report.

Much ado about nothing.

Anonymous Peter -- 1/18/2008 9:22 AM  

To Peter:

I don't understand your comment: "Much ado about nothing." Are you suggesting that the magazine cover is not controversial (and therefore not blog-worthy) merely because mob lynchings are less frequent today than there were historically? If that's your point then I must disagree. First, your point that there aren't many/any "real lynchings" anymore is irrelevant. Even if there aren't so many "real lynchings" anymore, perhaps that's because those who are racially motivated to kill a black person choose to drag that person to death rather than hang them by a noose. (There are several recent cases of that type of violence, not to mention the many other creative ways that those who are racially motivate to kill choose their method of execution.) In other words, there's far too much racially motivated violence in our country, whether by lynching or some other heinous method of murder. Second, whether or not "real lynchings" take place, the symbol of the lynch and noose continue to reverberate through our collective consciousness. Wasn't it Clarence Thomas, an African-American, who invoked that imagery not too long ago to describe how he felt when the predominately white male Senate attacked his character during his Senate-confirmation hearings? The mob lynch and the noose have come to symbolize white on black violence. Few missed the message that Thomas wanted to convey--a mass white on black character assassination.

The magazine was trying to be clever. It was trying to reverse the imagery, but in the process, it disrespected those who are outraged about Kelly Tilghman's original comment. After all, Kelly Tilgman, a white woman, has been criticized for suggesting that the only way to stop Tiger Woods--a man of color and the indisputably greatest golfer in the world--would be for the predominantly white mob of less accomplished golfers to lynch Woods. It's a far stretch to suggest that those critical of Tilghman (and those calling for her termination) are lynching her or her network--even metaphorically speaking. Perhaps the magazine merely meant to suggest that Tilghman and the network are "hanging themselves." But that just shows poor judgment. In this context, the noose suggests a racially motivated assassination. And the magazine should have known better--and perhaps did know better but ran with the cover, as Prof. cummings suggested, to grab attention (meaning more sales). Shame on them if that was their motivation.

Blogger Lo -- 1/18/2008 1:46 PM  

Maybe the cover should've been run, like an editorial cartoon did, with the "reverend" Sharpton holding the noose. (In front or to the side of him, that is.)

Anonymous Anonymous -- 1/19/2008 1:39 PM  


While there may not be any more actual lynchings to occur in this modern day, the image, thought, or idea of lynching is still a powerful image of racism. I harken your mind back to the Jena-5 incident, where three nooses were hung from a tree on the grounds of a high school when several black students decided to sit under the "white people" tree. If you are trying to say that this was not a racially-motivated issue, merely because lynchings don't occur, you are completely mistaken.
The image of a noose is a powerful symbol of racism in America, both yesterday and today. While it may not be in use to actually lynch, the memory lives on, for better or worse, in the minds of Americans.
Your comment, in my opinion, is sorely misguided.
Golfweek Magazine clearly made a grave error in judgment when placing that picture on its cover. When the mere comment was made created so much debate, why invoke the image on the front cover in the form of a picture? Would that not equally invoke the same type of debate?
Does America truly expect its citizenry to just forget about the events of racism in our past? Some say it should; but I disagree. Until racism is a dead horse, it still is a topic well worth conscious discussion.

Anonymous Travis Knobbe -- 1/19/2008 2:33 PM  

The idiocy of the editor is really beyond belief. It was one thing for the announcer to perhaps have a brain lapse and use a poor choice of words. But this cover was intentional and unforgivable.

Anonymous alan misltein -- 1/21/2008 6:17 PM  

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