Yana Djin


Moscow News

March, 2002

         Lately, as one observes the surroundings, it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that everything is beginning to resemble everything else and everyone is striving to blend into this dull naturmorte. Even the past winter in Washington DC seemed to contain in itself the elements of all other seasons. One day it rained, the next day some scarce flurries reluctantly made their way down only to be replaced by just as reluctant sunrays. It seems, that most things lost their contours, and like fresh paint, have decided to invade and be invaded. Everything acquired a chameleon-like propensity for change.  
         In this vein the Texas jury, deliberating on the case of Andrea Yates, the mother of five children all of whom she drowned, decided not to send her to her death. Texas, which prides itself on the number of inmates it  fries had an easy case with Yates, yet they spared her life. The recent Olympic Games were no  longer the most important sporting event but a  public relations charade where a couple of tears and an all-American smile guarantees a medal. President George W. Bush, notorious for his bad grades and absolute indifference for books, now encourages children to take up reading and promises to do the same. In other words, things are changing but they are becoming more same than ever. More and more like the next thing. 
         Most obviously, the Homeland Security Chief, Tom Ridge, would not agree with me. In his world, characterized by lack of emotional elasticity and intellectual denseness, everything is still as clear cut as a machine gun. After almost six months of excruciating work-days and heavy puzzle-solving, Ridge finally unveiled his plan of keeping America safe: the color-coordinated system of hazard which every single American is obliged to learn by heart. Americans, however, need not grieve over this added burden, for their brilliant leader, Ridge, no doubt with the help of the G.W. himself, based his intricate solution on the already known system of a street-light. Thus, he explained to America, during a press-conference, if we are on RED, and his face twitched uncharacteristically, we must be very, very cautious. And if we are on Green, which we wont be until, at least the next elections, we must be cautious only when crossing the street. Right now, he sighed, we are on Yellow and therefore, be very, very careful. At that he thanked the reporters and proceeded to take himself and his family to a much-deserved vacation, where undoubtedly, he will come up with other, equally brilliant proposals, to save the nation from evil people. And to think that  some of us even dared to question Tom Ridges potential and his work ethics! 
        The next most exciting thing that we have to look forward to in Washington in the near future has, at a first, glance less to do with politics and more with pure sport. But thats just at a first glance, for like most things, with the exception of Tom Ridges conception of reality, the line between politics and sports has become almost invisible. I am referring to the upcoming heavy-weight boxing championship fight between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. The Las Vegas boxing commission has denied the controversial Tyson the boxing license, and the fight was to be relegated into oblivion until DC decided that it would welcome the money raised by the fight and offered the two fighters the capital as a location to exhibit their gladiatorial ambitions. 
       Mike Tyson, in addition to disputably being the greatest athlete in history is an extraordinary personage on the bland canvas of todays sports-heroes. He stands out like a primordial dinosaur among his peers. Convicted for having sex with a beauty pageant contestant who went up to his hotel room at 2 AM, Tyson is a far cry from such figures as the golf wizard, Tiger Woods, who only dates women his daddy approves of, or the basketball legend, Michael Jordan, who never dates any women, since doesnt want to split his immense fortune with his wife. Jordan and Woods are what the American media calls, successful athletes, because no shoe-company or cereal manufacturer would be against having their faces on their products. They have learned how to become neutral, off-white businessmen; they have learned to transform. They have made a lot of money for the establishment but they have also embraced that very establishment and became subservient to it. 
        Tyson has failed to do so. After serving two years for the above-mentioned supposed rape, Tyson came out of prison unchanged: in great shape and angry as ever. He won fight after fight until he decided, almost to justify the ferocious image that the media created around his person, to bite off Evander Holifields earlobe and spit it out in disgust. Holifield, who, like most athletes nowdays, marketed himself as a fighter for Christ, cried Holy Jesus!, and the fight went to him. 
        Certain classic fights are notable for shameless low blows, rabbit punches and other illegal tactics. Biting off an opponents ear is not a common occurrence; yet it is hardly unknown in boxing. Tyson, had he repented publicly and promised to be a good,  media and Jesus-loving boy would have been forgiven. America loves when bad boys become like all other mediocre boys. It loves to watch the extraordinary the good and the bad acquire the colors of grayness that prevails in this society. Tyson, however, decided to stay angry and I, for one, have more respect for him than for the same Jordan who announces that he desperately wants to get rid of his wife but as soon as he is notified of alimony payments, changes his mind and propagates family values. 
        Every society needs its genuine bad boys like Tyson if only to remind us of our own insignificance. I sincerely hope that the scheduled Tyson-Lennox fight should go without any obvious mutilation and that Tyson should win it and show that not every violation of a taboo necessarily carries failure as its price and that not everything must blend with something else in order to survive. Some contours are worth underlining.

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