MIKE TYSON. I’ve always thought he sounded interesting in interviews, but I lacked the interest and time to pursue further. Today, while reading the Wall Street Journal, I stumbled upon this by Mr. Tyson (I can identify with Tyson’s motivation for reading-material choice):
I love reading philosophy. … Nietzsche’s my favorite. He’s just insane. You have to have an IQ of at least 300 to truly understand him. Apart from philosophy, I’m always reading about history. Someone very wise once said the past is just the present in funny clothes. I read everything about Alexander, so I downloaded “Alexander the Great: The Macedonian Who Conquered the World” by Sean Patrick. Everyone thinks Alexander was this giant, but he was really a runt. “I would rather live a short life of glory than a long one of obscurity,” he said. I so related to that, coming from Brownsville, Brooklyn.
What did I have to look forward to—going in and out of prison, maybe getting shot and killed, or just a life of scuffling around like a common thief? Alexander, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, even a cold pimp like Iceberg Slim—they were all mama’s boys. That’s why Alexander kept pushing forward. He didn’t want to have to go home and be dominated by his mother. In general, I’m a sucker for collections of letters. You think you’ve got deep feelings? Read Napoleon’s love letters to Josephine. It’ll make you think that love is a form of insanity. Or read Virginia Woolf’s last letter to her husband before she loaded her coat up with stones and drowned herself in a river. I don’t really do any light reading, just deep, deep stuff. I’m not a light kind of guy.
So Tyson slapped a woman. Shut up! Who hasn’t felt like doing that! (This is my version of a Jeselnik-style Joke.)
If forced to choose someone other than Anthony-Jeselnik, another favorite celebrity would be … DENNIS RODMAN.
Dennis Rodman has a road-map to peace: “building trust and understanding through sport and cultural exchanges,” as he put it. It’s slow, laborious and precludes lobbing bombs at North Korea or depriving its poor, long-suffering people of contact with the world.
Rodman says this about his frequent visits to Pyongyang: “I know in time Americans will see I’m just trying to help us all get along and see eye to eye through basketball and with my friendship with Kim I know this will happen.”
These are baby steps, but it’s one man’s way of opening up a closed and cloistered society to outside influence: through positive, voluntary exchanges and interactions.
Fortunately, I don’t have to choose.