life imitating art imitating tyson

But, let me present, that the exact moment when society ran askew was that enduring moment in the Holyfield fight in the early-90s. It was: The bite…”

 

by matt waterman

 

It has always been the eternal question hasn’t it: Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Seemingly forming an interminable loop, this “chicken and egg” question has remained steady for humans throughout the ages. But, in today’s hustle-bustle society, is it possible we have diverged from this loop? Is it possible an x-factor has jumped into this equation, skewing its cyclical nature? Ladies and gentleman, I hold that art no longer, necessarily, imitates life: It imitates Mike Tyson.

In the news lately for, well, any number of reasons, Tyson has taken on a more iconic role in modern life. Trace back his history to the eighties when all seemed normal and art still imitated life and vice-versa. Tyson was ripping through the ranks, dispatching fighter after fighter with, what seemed like, ease. But, let me present, that the exact moment when society ran askew was that enduring moment in the Holyfield fight in the early-90s. It was: The bite.

Think of it in these terms: The rise of “reality” shows on the major networks has been both celebrated and, more likely, scorned. The talking heads wondered what society was coming to as people bare their lives before the cameras. Well, it seems to have come to its natural conclusion as the eventual imitation of “The Bite.” The program? The Glutton Bowl, wherein contestants vie to see who can eat the most of any disgusting food item.

To say Tyson was responsible for the rise of “reality TV” may be stretching it, but consider this: If one were to graph the general decline of western civilization in recent times, would it not mirror the same decline of Tyson? It seems, as Tyson’s antics have gotten more and more ridiculous, the bar moving lower and lower, so has the nature of what we call entertainment. Particularly ironic is that the most recent reports have Tyson fighting in our nation’s capital this spring. Perhaps former Enron execs will somehow take part in the opening bout.

What does all this portend, given Tyson’s recent introduction melee followed by even more accusations of rape? One can never tell. Perhaps, it will lead to new renaissance in the art community wherein it might delve into the role of anger for the modern man. On the other hand, though, God help us all if the Tyson-Lewis fight becomes a, “Loser Becomes Mistress Paula’s Slave for a Year,” bout.

 

Originally published:
Issue Eighteen
March 2002

 

 

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