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PREACH IT! Hey Tiger? Gonna take a Big Bertha to your plea for privacy

Let’s recap the Tiger Woods scenario for those following at home, shall we?

Tiger comes tooling out of his driveway in his golf-hero-mobile early Friday and double-bogeys a fire hydrant and a tree. Tiger is apparently hurt. Tiger is down. Something must be done. Elin Nordegren, being a proper golf wife, uses a club on the crashed car. She claims she acted to free her man from danger -- not, as some reports have indicated, to punish her husband for allegedly dipping his pitching wedge into another lady’s sand trap.

What happens next? Tiger manages to say a whole lot of nothing to the public -- who paid for that visit from the cops, by the way -- and instead trots out a trope as old as St. Andrews itself.

“My family and I deserve some privacy,” he intoned on his official site, “no matter how intrusive some people can be.”

One day maybe I actually will violate Tiger’s privacy and attempt to blog about him from a tree under his front lawn while reciting his Social Security number at full volume. Until then, the time-worn request for privacy, that ancient, sanctimonious, self-pitying celebrity tactic, may deserve a closer look.

(Sorry, Tiger, but I may have to violate your privacy to figure out what you and all your famous friends mean whenever you ask for privacy.)

Trucks Stars use the phrase all the time. Christian Bale used it after a reported scrum with his family. Farrah Fawcett had the chutzpah to ask the public for privacy during her cancer treatment, and then filmed a documentary about her dying days.

But when it comes right down to it, the actual privacy demand makes little to no sense. The media -- or at least most of us -- aren’t exactly breaching Tiger Woods' property line or breaking into his house asking for an interview. In the world of celebrity news, most reporters don’t ever directly call a star, or his or her family. (Most stars' relatives are sharp enough to get private numbers as soon as their kin’s star starts to rise.) Even Tiger’s close friends are tough to reach for most gossip reporters. Instead, most reporters are left with the publicist, whose whole job is to serve as a buffer between a celebrity and the rest of us.

Hey Tiger? Can I call your publicist, or does there need to be a few more people between you and me before I’m deemed respectful enough of your privacy?

Reporters who do approach Tiger in person usually do so outside his property line, on the street or in some other public or semi-public space, such as at a golf tournament or charity event. The reporter or paparazzo shouts questions, the star doesn’t answer and the world keeps on spinning.

Photos In my time as a tabloid reporter, the closest that I or my colleagues usually got to a star’s private space was the curb, and that was only if the star’s bodyguards weren’t feeling violent that day. True, the words being uttered unto Tiger out in the open usually travel through the public space and then enter the intimate realm of the athlete’s inner ear, so the golfer may have a point there about privacy. I have a call in to a bioethicist on that one.

Of course the examples I’m giving here are ridiculous, and they’re meant to be. A star knows how celebrity reporting works and how feverishly protected a star is from most reporters, both physically and otherwise. So there’s really only one other meaning we can glean from a star’s demand for privacy -- or, more likely, "privacy during this difficult time."

The star wants us to shut up. Shut up, and stop saying mean stuff Tiger doesn’t like and can’t control.

As powerful as stars are, most of them still can’t stand that little people like me are talking about them, discussing the latest developments about them, theorizing about them. And we gossip reporters are the ones who are supposed to get a life.

Hey Tiger? Please stop trying to interfere in my conversations with my readers. It’s rude. And it’s also pretty disrespectful of my privacy.

-- Leslie Gornstein

Photos: The media are across the street from Tiger Woods' gated community! They've got big scary trucks out on the public roadway! And hey, what about the perfectly nice couple, without any press passes at all, taking snapshots from outside the Isleworth gate? Sorry Tiger -- we think your privacy ship sailed well before your winnings hit the $1 billion mark. Credit: Gerardo Mora / Getty Images.

The Ministry of Gossip's got a Tiger in its tank, so keep reading:

PREACH IT! And Leslie Looked Upon the Ministry Readers, and She Saw That She Was Good (an introduction to Ms. Gornstein and her mission)

'Overwhelmed' Rachel Uchitel hires celebrity attorney Gloria Allred

Tiger Woods' charmed life may be feeling the squeeze

Tiger Woods says 'all my fault,' praises wife, hires attorney

Tiger Woods, his wife, that odd little car accident -- and Rachel Uchitel

Tiger Woods slightly injured in accident near his home

Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Facebook and Twitter (we're @LATcelebs).

Comments () | Archives (14)

This is the first time I have read anything on the Ministry of Gossip. Horrible name. And the article is so whiny and obnoxious I can't believe the LAT has a link to this garbage.

Hey Cletus, you're fibbing! You commented on another Ministry of Gossip Tiger Woods post yesterday, one of mine. (This is Christie D'Zurilla.)

And Cletus, I actually remembered that comment because it made me laugh! It was the one about hiring attorneys. LOL/cdz

Oh yeah, you're right, I did. Oops. I probably never look at the title of the page. Either way, yikes, I don't like this site.

Well, click around the place a little (the category cloud links on the right can be helpful) -- we hit more than one note, I like to think, and we're finding our voice(s).

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, though. Maybe we will one day win you over with our devastating charm. (JOKING!)

A very large bank recently told me that -- "maybe one day we'll win you over" -- and I thought they were full of it, but by the end of the exchange I was willing to give them a chance. Because of the customer service and, well, because they hold my mortgage and I'm 110% stuck with them.

So I guess that's not a perfect analogy.

Have a good one anyway! /cdz

Okay Christie, I'll give it a chance.

Aw, shoot, now I want to bake you some cookies! But they'd be hard to deliver through all the tubes on the Internet.

Back to work for me instead.


Hey Christie, I take back what I said about the site. I clicked on the Ministry of Gossip link and thought that was the name of the website. I've been clicking around and there is a lot of stuff I like here. Thanks.

Yeah, MOG is just the blog's name ... but The Envelope is the larger website, and we're all until the L.A. Times umbrella (latimes.com).

Thanks! I'm shoving your cookies in the scanner now ... they'll be to you in a second ... here's the link ... http://twitgoo.com/5nzhs

Ahahaha, thanks! They look yummy.

Cletus and Christie, sittin' inna tree. B.L.O.G..I.N.G.

After reading this post, I have come to completely sympathize with the celebrities on this issue. How would you like having a crowd of people annoying you every time you are out in public, a crowd that is desperately hoping to catch you in an embarrassing moment, a crowd of people who would love to watch you fall, who are waiting for their opportunity to humiliate you. Just because celebrities sometimes make themselves available to reporters doesn't mean that they should be forced to be available to reporters and photographers all the time they are in public. To say otherwise is like arguing that because a woman sometimes chooses to have sex with strangers, it is OK to rape her.

Shh, MikeOHara! You'll get me in trouble with my boyfriend! And if he finds out, well, we've seen how *that* goes.

And to Kevin -- this is Christie D'Zurilla again, by the way -- I *do* admit I've had a twinge of sympathy for, of all people, Nadya Suleman, when I saw a video of some pap following her through a mall parking garage asking questions about Jon Gosselin. All I could think was, let the woman buy her new underpants or whatever's in that shopping bag.

No easy answers: We love it and we hate it at the same time.

And remember, for the record, I was *never* in a tree with Cletus.


Why is the LA Times doing this site? Don't you already have the Dish Rag? How many gossip sites do you need? It's sickening, especially when the paper's real journalists are being put out on the streets.


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