I don't generally post about individual people because it just feels too much like feeding into the celebrity obsessed culture that I despise. But Mike Tyson and the whole Tyson circus is something that just fascinates me on a psychological level. I don't know how many times I've touched on this but I'm a fairly big boxing fan. I visit www.maxboxing.com every morning and I regularly watch matches on HBO and Showtime (The ESPN/FS bouts tend to suck to the point of near unwatchability)
Boxing is a really interesting sport. Part of the draw comes from the fact that at any moment the momentum and outcome of a bout could completely change on one well placed or lucky punch. Sometimes this can just be shocking, like in Judah Tzyu where the Thunder from Down Under put the flashy and quick Brooklyn Brawler down on his back and out for the count with one flush smack to the chin in the second round. Sometimes it can be inspiring like when the Rock took Lennox Lewis' belts after being smacked around for 4-5 rounds or so by the British Bruiser. Sometimes it can just be weird like when Kirk Johnson knocked Oleg Maskayev through the ropes despite the fact that the announcing team had played up his lack of power the whole time.
Anyway the point is that the unpredictability makes boxing exciting. This attracting aspect is enhanced by the near complete lack of women in boxing. Oh there's the occasional female boxing match but those are pretty much known to be either cheesecake fests or just complete jokes. Nobody pays any real mind to female boxing, sometimes not even the people paid to promote it. And all the major broadcasters are male.
Don't get me wrong, I don't really have a problem with female sports reporters (As long as they aren't in the damned lockerroom. Could you imagine a male reporter in a female lockerroom) except that the vast majority of them just flat out suck. They are there due to affirmitive action and NOTHING more. Leslie Vissir is okay, and Fionna Manning who is a boxing writer for Maxboxing.com is definitly knowledgeable and skilled with the pen...but that level of talent should be the rule not the exception. The sideline "reporters" in monday night football and the anchorwomen at ESPN. Well they are there partially to appease the manhaters and partially as eye candy and both reasons just piss me off.
Another interesting aspect of boxing is the tragic nature of the sport and how the athletes end up. The best boxers to watch are the warriors who have fists of stone and whiskers of steel. Unfortunatly those are often the ones who end up brain damaged or at the very least with compromised health. Giving your all in boxing takes an invariable toll on the participants and I think it's a fascinating commentary on masculinity that one can strive and strive and fight to overcome but eventually it all catches up with you and you are left a damaged husk of a man. It's sort of the curse of testasterone. It drives men on, inspiring us to fight our foes and procreate, but eventually it catches up with us takes away our hair and ultimatly leaves us dead sooner than women who'se hormonal cycles take their own toll on THEIR bodies. In some ways boxing is representative of men in general
Anyway on to the actual reason I wanted to post which is Mike Tyson. As I've established I am a boxing fan. However I did not see the Mike Tyson Lennox Lewis fight and it wasn't just because of the cost. I'd like to say that I don't want to line the pockets of a bastard like "Iron" Mike Tyson but that isn't entirely true. The truth is that I didn't want to see him get beaten. Now I don't like Mike Tyson as a person. I don't think it's possible to like him as a person at this point. He's gone too far too many times, from biting ears to raping girls, and he's never really done anything admirable except knock the stuffing out of other men. But the thing is that for a lot of guys Mike Tyson represented one of the last bastions of masculine simplicity. Like I said, he's never really done anything except knock the stuffing out of other men. He knew what his job was and by god he did it. Knockout after spectacular knockout he pushed aside moral superiority and civilization and just smashed faces and dreams. Then he went out and partied. He defined not giving a damn.
And that means something to a generation of men raised to be total pussies.
Of course Mike Tyson also showed the flipside of unchanneled raw machismo. He couldn't comprehend limits and he couldn't control himself. He pissed away the most promising heavyweight career EVER on hard living and hard time. He pissed away millions of dollars, relationships, fans, everything. And ultimatly it all caught up with him. We fantasized that he was still the old Iron Mike until he bumped into some real oposition, and those of us who follow boxing knew he was going to get flattened. Still people believed in him until the end. One guy in my Spanish class was absolutely convinced that he would win. I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth.
Mike Tyson is used up at age 36. In modern society that's not even half way through life. And I think his story says a lot about modern masculinity. At heart men still want to be out there kicking ass and ravishing maidens. But we know that in reality we can't because that sort of life just doesn't work for an extended period of time.
Mike Tyson flared brightly and now he's going to burn out painfully slowly. And you have to feel bad for him because he was essentially an animal trapped by society's rules. And we all feel like that sometimes. So I didn't want to see the mad dog finally get put down. And while on one level I'm glad he was on another it makes me sad.