June 20th, 2002


A Thunderbolt and I'm in it like Tyson

Mike Tyson.

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.
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Somebody tell me if I am sleeping, someone should be with me here. Cause I don't wanna be alone

The trouble with building a house of straw is that as airy and comfortable as it can be during the summer months, there are always wolves out there prowling ready to blow it away from over you and leave you exposed to the harshness of the elements and the sharpness of his teeth.

Things all came to a head at once today. First there was Spanish class where I didn't do very well on the test, which would be okay if I had been doing well on previous tests. As it stands I'm pretty well entrenched in the B+/A- territory. Not good. Not good at all.

To add to that I haven't yet gotten a group for the Oral presentation and today was the deadline. I emailed the professor about it and she said just look for one on monday, so I should be okay gradewise, but the groups will practise over the weekend and I will be left out meaning that any group I join is going to have to play catch up. There is nothing that I like less than being a drain on or relying on the kindness of other people. I want to pay my own way thank you very much. I want to wrack up the credit not the debt. But I'll do what I have to. Still it's left me with an uncomfortable feeling that won't disipiate probably until final grades are in.

As if that weren't enough my Doctor has started a game of phone tag with me. Apparently there is something in my test results that he needs to talk to me about. It obviously isn't urgent or he would be a little less lackadaisical about it, but since I hadn't been to a physician in years before I went to him I might have just about any disorder under the sun and wouldn't have known about it. Of course it's probably a billing thing or just some sort of cholesterol issue that will go away on its own as my diet continues to improve, but still not great to hear my doctor is looking for me after I had thought I was free and clear. Plus I won't be able to call tomorrow unless it's from work and I can't use my supervisor's phone without permission and I'm in her office right now.


Next I went in to work, which was alright. I checked on the animals and did some data entry. The thing is that whoever started this data entry file did a crappy job. I've had to fix a decent amount of stuff and I don't know how much else there is that needs fixing that I never noticed was wrong. Tomorrow is going to be tough since I'm going to have to do weaning all by myself. Weaning is tough enough with my supervisor, alone it's going to be hell on wheels. I never should have mentioned it.

Also I made myself a little too at home in the supervisor's office. Had to go back and straighten it up after I left it. Gotta make sure not to get too comfortable. I don't know why I feel so damned comfortable at that place...I'm normaly the most on edge guy you'll meet.

I lost focus in psych and I hope I took good enough notes to pass. I think the professor thinks I'm a sycophant which is just...UGH...but I really do like discussing issues after class. Anyway she's grading objectively so I'll just have to do well on the test. It's not like I can screw up a multiple choice test just my annoying the grader.

I've been wondering recently which direction my personality will take. I have two personas that I use in different situations. The one is an ornery take-no-crap guy who gives not a fuck what others think and wants only to claw his way up in the world. The other is what I have always thought of as my true self, the sensative introspective soft version who would rather wile away the hours teasing the meaning from poetry or writing about his "feelings" than racing rats for the scraps of cheese that the world leaves lying around.

The thing is that my ornery self just does so much BETTER. He can handle the pressure and the tough decisions without giving in. But on the other hand I feel like I somewhat seperate myself from my humanity and who I am when I do that. That I trade honesty for expediency.

I just wish I knew who I wanted to be

(Oh and for those who might worry about my psychological health, don't worry it's fine. I don't actually think I'm two different people or anything. Everyone uses personas to get through their day and I'm just making conscious statements about mine. Really I'm fine. The green men tell me so)

Oh and in case this stuff wasn't bad enough, my diet has been terrible these last few days. I've been eating crap and skipping dinner because I'm not hungry enough to eat it. That's NOT a good thing. I really need to reform that. BUt not tomorrow. Tomorrow I have work.

Sometimes I feel like I'm playing a zero sum game with myself dancing around the real meaningful issues by shuffling levels of meaningless activity to convince myself I'm moving forward while I'm really standing still.
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