HIS KIND OF TOWN
Mike Tyson is a sleazeball. He's lower than low, a convicted rapist and a moron of the highest order. He's no one I'd want to sit down to dinner with, no one I'd ever let anywhere near the children in my family, and definitely no one that I would date or set my friends up with. His lack of sportsmanship in and outside of the ring make him an anti-hero for sports fans and his actions and attitudes toward women place him firmly on the lowest rung of the evolutionary ladder.
But I can't wait to see him fight in Memphis.
In the Pyramid, in the Liberty Bowl - in my own living room - who cares where the fight is held? I doubt I'll even be able to afford tickets (unless it is in my living room)- but I'll find a way to go. Sure, Tyson is absolutely void of integrity, but he's still one of the most compelling boxers alive and possibly the most entertaining fighter of my generation.
He's violent and out of control; an unapologetic pugilist who forgets to turn the arrogance and aggression off. But really people, this is Memphis. This is the land that nursed and coddled wrestling into an international fascination. We're the same people who make constant excuses for the "fake" acts of WWF fighters when they pull hair and pound competitors over the head
with folding chairs. We cheer when one overgrown greaser smacks another with a two-by-four; and we applaud when their barely-clad, eye-candy "girlfriends" are traded amongst the fighters like prehistoric property. It's no coincidence that when the XFL was looking for homes for its teams, Memphis was one of the first picks. We've proven ourselves to be very comfortable with violence.
So Tyson does some of these things for real. Big deal. If we can approve when steroid-driven actors pull off these stunts to entertain our 12-year-old sons (many of whom truly believe that what they see on Monday Nitro) why are we so appalled when a talented athlete actually acts out the violence?
What line are we drawing?
Basically we're saying that excessive, rule breaking violence is okay so long as we lie about it. We can make it look as real as possible, with every slam, groan, and pile-driver performed to academy award winning standards, but we allow it because the adults watching understand there's an implied wink. We turn our heads when our kids act out hundreds of murders daily and perpetuate hit-and- runs on pedestrians while playing video games like Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto. And we fork over allowances so our kids can buy albums that glorify murder, rape and the objectification of women -- but a fighter who bites the ear of another fighter -- well, now that is strictly taboo.
Tyson is a violent man. This should come as no surprise to anyone. It's his job to be violent. That's how he makes his living. And he's a convicted rapist, true. But he served his time and according to our criminal justice
system he is again fit for society. So let him get back to work. I'd rather he have a job than not. I'd rather he stay in the public eye -where we all know what he's up to - than have him slip below the radar. And I'd much rather he fight in Memphis than Washington, D.C. The obvious reason is that I live here and want to watch the fight in person. Another obvious reason is that I want to see my city rake in some big bucks and international exposure.
But I've got one more reason for why the fight should not happen in D.C. The other big convention currently scheduled to take place that weekend in the nation's capitol is the largest ever Girl Scout sing-a- long. I think wrestling-weary Memphians are better equipped to handle Tyson than harmonizing eight-year-old girls. That is, unless the Scouts start giving out badges for biting.