Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Mike Tyson Goes Into a Bar

Every once in a while some long-term otherwise silent Slog reader will pipe up to aggressively tell me how idiotically wrong I was about something.

(As I've often noted, I enjoy being told when I'm wrong, but 1. I could do without the aggression, and 2. I need to actually be wrong...which I am sometimes, though, maddeningly, people seldom notice.)

This is all I ever hear. No "hey, nice job figuring out the multiverse!". No "y'know, I think you're right about why God lets kids get cancer!" No "your theories about George and Kelly Ann Conway’s Marriage were hilarious!" Just these errant blips of tart disapprobation, odd coming from people who've stuck around here for years when there are 180 quadrillion web pages to choose from.

The same thing used to happen on Chowhound. In the blurry and feverish mental collage serving as my memory of the period, a framed needlepoint homily hangs warmly above it all, reading "HEY MORON YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA SUX". I quote not random trolls but people whose lives were improved by my restaurant finds, and who spent countless hours enjoying the friendly, useful community built by my adrenal glands. Some of them achieved modest repute imitating my writing style on, like, Tumblr or whatever. And at some point - it never failed - they'd offer heartfelt payback via marvelously brusque critique.

I've finally solved the mystery.

Mike Tyson goes into a bar. And some guy inevitably tries to pick a fight. Not because he dislikes Tyson. He reveres him, demonstrating his respect by the desire to match skill, challenge supremacy, swing dicks, etc.. It wouldn't occur to him to consider how any of this might affect Tyson. This, after all, is what Tyson's for. This is the function of a champion: to serve as the ideal against which we measure our own skills, so we can finally extend our arms into the air as champions, ourselves. Frickin’ cycle of life, bruh. Nothing personal.

If you think interrupting Mike's quiet conversation to make fun of his voice and tattoos makes me a disrespectful asshole, then you're the asshole, asshole! I wouldn't do this if Iron Mike wasn't the KING. Did you hear me? I think he's THE KING! Long live the king...as I do my best to provoke the motherfucker, ruin his night, and ideally beat him to a pulp.

Ah, the elevation of the hero...even hapless dudes quietly offering cool little magic tricks for the unrequited delight of total strangers*.
* - Those background circumstances are utterly beside the point, because we're not people to people. We're thin static images in their heads. Nothing's ever about you as full-fledged You. That's why we elevate birthdays. On your "special day", those around you adhere to a ritualized series of timeworn actions and canned utterances in supposed recognition of the real, unique, not-just-in-my-head you. That's the apex*!
* - This observation is only dark and depressing if you choose to dramatize and frame it as such. Disenchantment need not be a permanent state. It is, by its nature, merely transitional. Peer not ruefully back at vanquished illusion but forward to the unremitting love permeating the eternal actual now.

Eleven years ago I noted that No One Loves You Like a Hater Does. People don't click links, so I'll republish it in its entirety:
No One Loves You Like a Hater Does
A large team of workers manages the day-to-day operation of Chowhound.com's discussion forums. I haven't moderated the site in six years or so, yet haters continue to flatter me with their persistent misimpression of my omnipresence - i.e. assuming that I've personally deleted their postings. Crackpot blogs frequently make such statements (often with Nazi imagery).

Sanity check: Chowhound receives upwards of three thousand postings per day. Phalanxes of moderators work day and night to vet a mere fraction of it all (our users pick up the slack by reporting missed problems). And yet I still exist for some individuals as an all-seeing Dr. No, ensconced in my acrid star chamber, relishing my power (pause here to suck air through flaring, vindictive nostrils) as I delete their postings when they act like shmucks - as people sometimes do in online communities (me too; I occasionally get deleted, as well).

No one I actually know would ever mistake me for omnipresent. And no mere fan would deem me capable of such awesomeness. No one admires you, respects you, loves you, like a hater does.

I'll never forget the time one of the most piqued of the lot, a man I'd never met, sent me a profanity-laced email expressing in most damning terms what a "self-absorbed holier than thou sociopath" I am. He concluded with an earnest invitation to come to dinner with him and his wife the next weekend (he also once guessed my instant message screen name and popped up to say a chipper "Hi!"). It wasn't the first such invitation I've gotten over the years.

No one...no one...loves you like a hater does.

See also this.

1 comment:

Display Name said...

Timely post Jim. A library colleague who is a dog lover called Caesar Milan the dog trainer a lot of nasty names on her fb last night. I was surprised and puzzled. Your post has given me some ideas. I always wonder about what people choose to spend their time on. How do they have the energy for the writing you have described? Aren't there better funner things to do? I do have a compelling reason to read my collegue's fb. While she was at the library she got the call that her house had burnt and her two beloved dogs were dead. In ten days she was the proud owner of two rescue pups. Her vet helped. I am in awe of this woman.

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