A Blog About Punching People In the Face

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Dancing Guy

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

 

Mike Tyson believes that this needs no explanation.

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You are special, America

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Mike Tyson notes Richard W. Stevenson’s recent article on the Republicans’ plan to use “American Exceptionalism” as a 2012 campaign tactic. Mike Tyson thinks that exceptionalists should be made to watch as a feral mongoose is placed inside a burlap sack and then placed over their heads.

What Mr. Tyson does not like about the exceptionalism argument is that it is devoid of explanation. It is either a bald assertion (“America is an exceptional nation” — Mitt Romney), a salvo targeted at the Left (“In this [present day] liberalism, America’s exceptional status in the world follows from…an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard” — Shelby Steele), or a counterpunch designed to shore up questionable patriotism (“I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional” — Barak Obama).

Mike Tyson notes that at least Obama’s rhetorical shift — our values are exceptional — gives him the cover to avoid identifying with the core of the “exceptionalist” argument, namely that America is more “exceptional” than everyone else.

Perhaps the best stab at why exceptionalism makes any sense was articulated by Rick Perry, who said: “See, American exceptionalism is the product of unlimited freedom. And there is nothing troubling our nation today that cannot be solved by the rebirth of freedom.”

At least Mr. Tyson can understand the America is “exceptional” because it is “free” argument. Though stupid, at least draws upon a storied literature.

Mr. Tyson loves America, but he believes that talk of exceptionalism degrades the character of those who seek to use it as a cudgel to beat others into submission, as if there were something in the water that makes us “better,” an idea that is at best undefined and at worst reduced into some inchoate concept of a “free people.” Mr. Tyson feels that this is infantile and hereby challenges all believers to feel the awesome liberation that comes with meeting his fists.

Mike Tyson talks about art

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 19, 2011 at 4:35 am

Mike Tyson has read Peter Schjedahl’s New Yorker review of the new MOMA exhibit “Heroic Africans.” Mr. Schjedahl has brought primitive skills into Mr. Tyson’s realm.

Mr. Tyson notes that Schjedahl begins his review with a disclaimer, namely that that art world is at a loss to explain African art. “Like others I know,” Schjedahl writes, “I have been fascinated by [Africa’s] tribal art while resigning myself to being baffled by it.” Not content to keep his bafflement to himself, Schjedahl proceeds to ejaculate it all over the rest of us.

The problem for people “like me,” Schjedahl writes, “is a lack of graspable stories” to contextualize African art in a way that “people like him” can understand. The reason? “[F]oreign incursions,” as Schjedahl calls them.

Mr. Tyson would like to introduce Mr. Schjedahl to a foreign incursion that it sometimes known as his fist.

Mr. Tyson further notes that for all the lip service that Schjedahl gives to the obligatory  “sorry for the colonialism” thing, he nevertheless sees no irony in congratulating his peers for having the enlightened presence of mind to showcase the fruits of their plunder. For this we can thank the British, French, German and Portuguese colonialists who stole the items, as well as the MOMA, the Musee Dappee, the British Museum, the Bildarchiv Preussicher Kulterbesitz and the Museu Nacional de Etnologia, which gladly accepted them.

Mr. Tyson hereby challenges all of the above to a fight. He will eat their children.

Mr. Schjedahl might not have had the need to fight Mike Tyson but for a series of backhanded remarks about the alleged sophistication of ancient Africans — comments which are as transparent as they are stupid. Despite the fact that, by his own admission, Mr. Schjedahl is at a loss to understand the subject of which he speaks, he nevertheless takes great pains to describe the experience, likening it to a spritzer after a long day of fox hunting. “The show’s arrangement is rhythmic and self-refreshing…worlds spring to vicarious life,” he says.  Since he has already stated he has no point of reference, Mr. Tyson wonders which worlds Schjedahl is referring to. He can only guess that it looks something like a scene out of the Lion King. Mr. Tyson is becoming agitated.

Mr. Schjedahl finishes up by noting that even Africans can create good art — a compliment for which I’m sure the Africans are eternally grateful. One piece in “Heroic Africans” is noteworthy for its “starry modern-art provenance” — of course, it had been previously blessed by a gaggle of critics back in the 1930s, proving that the only limb Schjedahl goes out on is the same one from which he hangs himself by the time this critique is over.

Mr. Tyson will see Schjedahl in the ring.

Girls gone wild

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Mr. Tyson has read the Washington Post’s article on the rising tide of female violence in America. Mr. Tyson wonders whether this is a real trend or the product of the author’s imagination. Mr. Tyson notes that the basis of this theory stems from a 2008 DOJ report which shows that “arrests of girls increased more than those for boys in most crime categories between 1991 and 2000,” but does not state the baseline rate. The statement that “[a]rrests for simple assault among girls increased by 24 percent between 1996 and 2005,” is significant, but lacks context — particularly if the numbers of arrests were artificially low to begin with. It may be the case that the police are more willing to arrest girls than in the past (perhaps due to increased statistics-driven policing which places a greater emphasis on arrests made). Moreover the authors do not clearly delineate between “arrests,” which appear to have risen, and detentions, for which the author presents no data.

Mr. Tyson notes that the article’s heavy use of anecdotal evidence — the stories of several high-profile female assaults — makes the article all the more suspect. All of the high profile cases cites involve black-on-black student violence, a fact that was not evident from the article, and yet strikes Mr. Tyson as a plausible impetus for writing it. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence does not make a trend. Mr. Tyson would like to see further proof before he subscribes to this idea.

I build a fire

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Mr. Tyson is staying in a large apartment that overlooks the city. It has three bedrooms, five bathrooms, a maid’s quarters, two fireplaces, a library and a jacuzzi. At night he wanders the apartment for hours, going from room to room, stopping in each for a time and wondering how he got there.

Mr. Tyson quit drinking some time ago. Normally, instead of haunting his quarters, he would drink. This would ease the angst inside, and the feeling of not knowing what to do with it. But now his present madness leaks out in the form of a mindless shuffling.

Tonight Mr. Tyson will build a giant fire in his fireplace. He is ordinarily quite stingy with his fires, believing that he should save his logs for a day when he might really need them. Tonight, however, he has thrown them all in and sits beside the flames with the faint realization that the real reason why he rarely lights a fire is because he is terrified that hewill spend it all — that it will all burn, burn, burn until there is nothing left, and he will have to go to sleep.

On the London Riots

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 8, 2011 at 12:08 am

Mike Tyson has been reading about the London riots. Mike Tyson is not surprised.

Having been to London once or twice, Mr. Tyson has taken note of the quiet rage bubbling beneath the surface, and remembers how, one day, near Piccadily Circus, a band of youths erupted without warning into a massive brawl. He recalls watching, along with several hundred other people, how a young man beat another over the back of the head with a skate board until his shirt was speckled with blood, and what struck him, apart from the apparent mindlessness of the thing, was how ordinary it seemed to everyone else.

Mr. Tyson is well aware of how mindless violence sends the chattering classes into a tailspin. He is aware that violence is not something that magically disappears after a spell of digital opium, a McDonald’s milkshake or a football match, and he is disappointed when the echo chamber acts as if warfare, mindless or otherwise, is a sign that Something Has Gone Wrong.

Mr. Tyson believes the locus of violence is helpful, inasmuch as Americans have taken to thinking of England as something of the cradle of civilization, an assumption borne not out of any keen knowledge of history (see War: the Revolutionary, of 1812, I, etc.) but rather the brilliant affect of its culture. Mr. Tyson reminds Americans that the same folks who brought us this brilliance are, at this very moment, smashing cars with baseball bats. The tribe abides.