Monday, January 28, 2008

Ann Coulter Wannabe Kelly Tilghman Back in the Booth

Tiger Woods & Kelly Tilghman
No doubt the sound of the PGAs collective sigh of relief was heard clear through to Whispering Pines as Tiger Woods took his third straight Buick Open over the weekend.

It's probably fair to say the sheen is off, and the media spotlight squarely on the golf industry recently in the wake of golf commentator Kelly Tilghman's (pictured left) jaw-dropping off the cuff remarks.

Which were made live on the air.

As she and on-air partner Nick Faldo joked about how younger golfers could beat Woods, Faldo suggested they should "gang up on him".

After some casual chuckles Tilghman suggested they should "lynch him in a back alley".

The Golf Channel returned her to the booth over the weekend faster than you can say Don Imus.

Last Monday Erik Sass wrote a sharp commentary on Media Post's MediaDailyNews online about the blow-back from Tilghman's blundering on-air revelation of the finer aspects of her charmed South Carolina-Country Club upbringing.

Tilghman doesn't just look like the prototype-perky American blond, this budding Ann Coulter disciple is the real deal.

The North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina native grew up a tom-boy with four brothers and their parents managed the Gator Hole Golf Course for 22 years - her old man was even the Mayor.

Heiress & philanthropist Doris Duke
It strikes me as ironic that young Kelly was talented enough to score a golf scholarship to Duke University, founded of course by the immensely wealthy Duke family, who made part of their vast fortune on the backs of black slave labor imported from Africa to work the huge tobacco plantations that allowed heiress Doris Duke to live a lavish lifestyle that makes Paris Hilton seem like a brain surgeon's tacky mall-rat daughter from Long Island.

Kelly was hard-working and smart enough to find her way into the television booth as a golf commentator; so one wonders how she could have grown up in the midst of the south and not have a clue about the impact of lynching on the black southern psyche?

She was raised a relative stone's throw from the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, the entry point for thousands upon thousands of African slaves destined for a nightmarish never-ending existence of enforced labor and brutality.

How could she grow up in that culture and not know how beyond insensitive it would be to even INSINUATE that the only way for a white golfer to prevent a talented black golfer like Tiger Woods would be to "lynch him in a back alley." ?

It's not even "aww we were just having cocktails on the deck" funny, it's just plain ignorant; it's offensive.

It suggests a great deal about the mentality that Kelly and her brothers grew up with down in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It suggests the constantly perky Kelly knows exactly what lynching is.

It suggests, that in a moment when her guard was down and she was sharing a laugh with someone who looked like her - she let something foul and offensive slip out.

It's out there and the feedback is still being felt across the media spectrum; on the net, most definitely in print (did you see the swinging noose in the cover of GolfWeek? editor David Seanor was fired..) and indeed on television. Kelly's back in her booth job, but the sheen is off this daughter of the old south because she shared something about herself with millions of Americans. Something we didn't like. Something that ruffles the culturegeist.

Something that has made many people look at her in a new light, as we're reminded that indeed, beauty is only skin deep.

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