Plenty of celebrities have admitted to extramarital affairs. But the fascination with Tiger Woods's "transgressions" (covered by the Wire here) has been especially intense. Why? Columnists think that watching the golfer's drama unfold mistress by mistress isn't simply about adultery. Like many irresistible public dramas, Tiger's fall from grace exposes more about our society than it does about the man himself. Five things Tiger taught us:

  • America Loves to Crown Kings, Then Kill Them Slate's Jack Shafer says it's a Darwinian thing:
Now that the 'real' Woods has been revealed as a wild bone-daddy who behaves more like your out-of-work, alcoholic brother-in-law than an object of worship, we feel cheated. Aside from the hundreds of millions he's earned from golf tournaments and endorsements, turns out he's a lot like the rest of us. Our hunger for salacious news about him isn't necessarily about voyeurism. We're embarrassed by the gap between who we believed Woods to be and who he really is; and, having put Woods on that pedestal, we want to bring him down where he belongs--with the rest of us sinners."
  • For Rich and Famous, Infidelity Is Expensive "There's a price to having a life turned upside down in the public eye. That's what the couple is hammering out now." The Daily Beast's Gerald Posner reports that Tiger's wife is likely to get $5 million immediately if she stays with her husband, and an extra $55 million added onto her prenup.
  • In America, There Are Ways to Accentuate Your Blackness And The Root's Jimi Izrael says that marrying a white woman -- and then publicly embarrassing her -- is one of them. Surrounding yourself with "a bevy of below-average, dirt-road white women" who aren't your wife is another. "The media wolves have been waiting for this day for over a decade, and his blackness has never been so apparent."
  • It Takes More Than a Few Affairs to Lose Your Endorsements Time Magazine's Bill Saporito thinks Tiger's sponsors will stand by him. "I don't think he's going to lose very many endorsements. Sure, he has been revealed as a fraud, but Michael Jordan, another big sports fraud and the very role model for Tiger, is still selling underwear (in a commercial with Charlie Sheen!)."
  • The Media Punishes Private People Fox Sports's Jason Whitlock says it's not the media's job to bring down Tiger Woods, because "he might have lied to himself, his wife and his kids. But he never lied to the public." Failing "to show the proper amount of deference to the mainstream media" is Tiger's real crime. "Tiger won't invite us to his private party. And now that we've been given this slight opening, we're going to try to convince you that he's a horrible person, morally unfit to wear Jack Nicklaus' crown."