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Kingdom of Priests

At last, I have something to say about Tiger Woods! And I have mathematician and bon vivant David Berlinski to thank.

There’s been an unwritten law in force around the Internet the past few weeks that every blogger must register impassioned views on Mr. Woods’s philandering, either “Tut tut!” or “Yowza!” or similar. I came up empty, though. The whole thing is such an obviously trumped up nothing of a media story. Neil Postman’s endlessly relevant book title, Amusing Ourselves to Death, seems to have been prophetically invented for it. I mean, please, Tiger Woods is a professional golfer, however highly paid. Why should his adultery and now reportedly pending divorce from Elin Nordegren be of interest? Why care?
I realized I do have one reason. This year I edited the aforementioned Dr. Berlinski’s new essay collection, The Deniable DarwinIn doing so I collected some endorsements for the book’s back cover, including one from high tech/Israel guru George Gilder. Now my colleague Rob Crowther points out the unintended “seen only in retrospect” double entendre in Gilder’s blurb:

David Berlinski is to science writing what Tiger Woods is to golf. He can score from anywhere, against any opponent, on any course.

David’s other book that’s out now, the paperback of The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, might give the wrong impression. He’s on the side of the angels but makes no pretense of being one himself.
Berlinski’s motto has been reported as “To have a good time all the time.” In the book I edited, he refers with a certain sardonic cheer to past relationships, asking at one point, “May I also observe that no one with two ex-wives could possibly be unaware of the deity’s less attractive features?” So as his editor, I’ll just clarify here that contrary to what George Gilder implies, there’s no indication that David Berlinski ever played in Tiger’s tour.

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