they end up in People, Us, Star, and Entertainment Weekly.
Tiger Woods is playing the Masters Golf Tournament right now. I would personally rather watch paint dry than watch golf, so Mr. Woods' latest adventures are not of real interest to me. But his Nike rehabilitation is genius. Not Tiger's genius: Nike's genius. Straight out of the psyche and right into our hearts and minds.
There are two kinds of male gods on Mount Olympus. Three of them are father gods, mature men: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. You will note that Poseidon and Hades don't really visit Olympus much. They prefer their own home and rule their own realm. How many alpha-alphas in the castle? Answer: only one. One big one.
Then there are the sons: Apollo, the scholar, athlete, poet, musician, and knower of secrets, e.g. intelligence-gathering. This is the son of whom Zeus was proud. The rest of them he had less-important or more-conflicted relationships with: Haephaestus, that knows how to do everything mechanical but not how to beguile a woman. Dionysos, who knows how to party, let loose, destroy. And Ares, the warrior, irresistible to women, with two good arenas but maybe not a lot of versatility.
Tiger Woods has always been Apollo: the golden one, loved by his father, disciplined, self-contained, intelligent, a star athlete. His swing is 'poetry in motion'. And all that.
But the recent scandal has him cast as Zeus the philanderer, transforming himself into unrecognizable shapes to attract the world's nymphs and babes. His wife certainly has the Hera role. The wife of Zeus always cries alone, and then sets out to wreak vengeance. Generally she does this through intermediaries, such as monsters, tittle-tattlers, escalators. You know: the press and public opinion.
But then the ad casts Tiger as a son again. He looks a little like a scolded boy, except neatly dressed in Nike clothes, listening to his father's highly moral words. Those words are all about forgiveness and lessons learned--Christian words. He's still stoic, still self-contained, which works for both paradigms.
Yet it's mostly mythic. Tiger is still a knower of secrets, an athlete. It casts him as Apollo in a black and white world. Apollo is the god of the sun. Do you see how colorless the world is when Apollo must hide his light, go into seclusion, accept judgement? Wow. They couldn't have done any better.
Nike is named for Nike Apteros, another name for Athena, the woman-child of Zeus' brain. She was a maker of war, a weaver, poet, strategist, the goddess of female intelligence. She is not Apollo's twin--she is Apollo's match.
It's almost as if Zeus asked his favorite daughter to rehabilitate his favorite son. And being the efficient goddess she is, she wove a powerful tapestry that works for our pagan and Christian moral sensibilities, casting a King of the Golf World, a Zeus of the player's circuit, back into the position of everyone's favorite, the Apollo of the fairways.
Unbelievably adroit. I see it with my own eyes. They are going to pull it off.
This essay was inspired by the comment discussion from this post at The Things Worth Believing In.
For the archetypes, Jean Shimoda Bolen, Gods in Everyman, a book I read a long time ago.