Mike Tyson

[This was posted two years ago: 19 Jan 2009.] David Carr's recent interview with Mike Tyson at Utah's Sundance Festival was quite revealing about the boxer, even though it was very short. Sometimes, I like Carr, because of his voice. This hoarseness makes me think of the gritty aspects of New York City's urban world; and I'd like to think this is one reason why The New York Times chose him to be the web-video correspondent for the paper's The Carpetbagger episodes, or webisodes. I know that's a weak justification; but still, there's no harm speculating. Now I don't know if his voice always sounds like that. I haven't checked the rest of his webisodes. But the feeling of urban grittiness in his voice does make him sound endearingly cool. And too, the image of approximate roughness on his face somehow reminds me of Mickey Rourke, a one-time boxer aspirant. And so when Carr was interviewing Tyson, I had this playful image of boxer interviewing boxer. Mike's answers were, I thought, articulate and gave me ideas of how he thinks. Of course, the act of manipulating answers to interview questions to give a pleasant or certain effect to viewers could certainly be factored there. Mike has had extensive experience with the media for years; he had been in the spotlight since he was 20-years-old as world champion, then the rape charges, the drugs, and other dramas or tragedies along the way. He did mention the word 'tragedy' towards the end of the interview, as though highlighting something in written-text narrative. Somehow I can sense the link between how he answered Carr's questions and his rise to prominence in the boxing world: sharpness, focus, and his determined right to carry things through the end. This short interview made me want to see the documentary "Tyson", directed by James Toback. The director was actually there, sitting beside Mike, and mentioned there were other celebrities there at Utah, but that people paid more attention to Mike than these other Hollywood big-names: what a natural way to promote his film's subject, I thought. Then there's that tattoo around his left eye, a sort of Maori tattoo. He can look menacing with it, no doubt, although not during that interview.

(For interested parties: video section of paper's website.)