I apologize. I don't know what I'm apologizing for, but between the CEO of Toyota and Tiger Woods, it just seems like the thing to do these days. Of course, nobody asked Akio Toyoda the important questions, such as:
1) If your "name is on every car," then why aren't they called "Toyodas?"
2) Did you come here on a private jet ? If so, can you give me a lift back to my constituency?
3) For a company with acceleration problems, what took you so long?
Tiger Woods answered no questions. Which means I still don't know the following:
1) Is the reason we've never seen you without a hat because you're balding?
2) You ran into a tree with your car. Are you sure it wasn't a Toyota?
3) What do you have against black or Asian women?
Those aren't the only reasons I'm dissatisfied. In the case of Toyoda, I'm feeling a little hurt that he bowed twice to the Chinese, but not to us. Particularly after our 6'2" president practically gave himself a hernia when he met the Japanese emperor. It's not so much the snub I mind; I just like bowing because it's more hygenic than shaking hands.
But there was something underhanded about the U.S. Congress, which is a majority shareholder in General Motors, using its authority to trash talk a competitor. When Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked why Americans "should pay hard-earned money on a Toyota in hard economic times," I expected him to turn to the camera and add, "When you could buy a Buick!"
Naturally, Toyoda's apology didn't get as much attention as Tiger's, which is yet another sign of the coming apocalypse. At the risk of stating the obvious, none of Tiger Woods' cars killed anyone. Tiger Woods hits a ball with a stick for a living; had he hit his wife with a stick, he'd need to apologize. He's an athlete, not the pope (who, by the way, took no action for the church's real sexual sins in Ireland).
Tiger said he's subject to the same rules as everyone else, but what's the point of being a superstar if you can't enjoy the perks? The only people who need to apologize are Nike and the media for having kept their Tiger in a cage all these years, building him up as a paragon of virtue.
With both Tiger and Toyoda, it all comes down to money. Their businesses are damaged, and that requires damage control. If remorse really had anything to do with it, then so-called Justice Department attorney John Yoo would feel compelled to apologize for sanctioning torture instead of getting exonerated.
So forget it, I take my apology back. We're at war. If I apologize, the terrorists have won.
And that, my friends, is The Upside.
Introduction to Value Investing
Are you the next Warren Buffett?View Course »