This one comes to us from Mockingbird’s legendary man-in-Shanghai, Bob Guterma, aka The Gute:
The other night, I was arbitrarily surfing the web and somehow made my way to a Wikiquotes page full of the truth bombs of “Iron” Mike Tyson. While a great many of the quotes were irrelevant (i.e., “Being a champion opens lots of doors—I’d like to get a real estate license, maybe sell insurance.”), I quickly found myself immersed and hanging on every word. When it comes to judgment and love — or at least the devastating effects of a lack of love — this guy gets it.
Mike Tyson is known for ripping people’s heads off, and readily admits he is a pretty troubled dude. He is also a Muslim. But if his self-understanding is to be taken at face value, Tyson may also be the ultimate example of what controversial Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner controversially calls an “anonymous Christian,” someone who “in [their] basic orientation and fundamental decision accept[s] the salvific grace of God, through Christ, although [they] may never have heard of [or even rejected] the Christian revelation.” In other words, the lamest of sheep in the clothes of the biggest, baddest wolf. Let’s warm up with a few not directly relevant Mike Tyson classics to properly contextualize what follows.
“One minute I’m robbing a dope house. Next minute I’m the youngest heavyweight champion of the world. I’m only 20, 19, with a lot of money. Who am I? What am I? I don’t even know who I am. I’m just a dumb child who’s being abused and robbed by lawyers. I’m just a dumb pugnacious fool. I’m just a fool who thinks he’s someone. Then you tell me I should be responsible.”
“Don’t be surprised if I behave like a savage. I am a savage.”
“I’m addicted to perfection. Problem with my life is I was always also addicted to chaos. Perfect chaos.”
“People love you when you’re successful, but if you’re not, who really cares about you?”
“I just look around and say, I’m a mess. I don’t know why I do things.”
“When I had money I was an animal. I was so belligerent. I lost all across the board.”
“My life has been a total waste.”
“I’m not a good father. I’m a good man with my kids. I’m very generous with them. I’m very kind to them, but I am not a good father.”
“At one point, I thought life was about acquiring things. Life is totally about losing everything.”
“Real freedom is having nothing. I was freer when I didn’t have a cent. Do you know what I do sometimes? Put on a ski mask and dress in old clothes, go out on the streets and beg for quarters.”
“I’ll never be happy. I believe I’ll die alone. I would want it that way. I’ve been a loner all my life with my secrets and my pain. I’m really lost, but I’m trying to find myself. I’m really a sad, pathetic case. My whole life has been a waste. I’ve been a failure. I just want to escape.”
“I feel like sometimes that I was born, that I’m not meant for this society because everyone here is a… hypocrite. Everybody says they believe in God but they don’t do God’s work. Everybody counteracts what God is really about. If Jesus was here, do you think Jesus would show me any love? Do you think Jesus would love me? I’m a Muslim, but do you think Jesus would love me … I think Jesus would have a drink with me and discuss … why you acting like that? Now, he would be cool. He would talk to me. No Christian ever did that and said in the name of Jesus even … They’d throw me in jail and write bad articles about me and then go to church on Sunday and say Jesus is a wonderful man and he’s coming back to save us. But they don’t understand that when he comes back, that these crazy greedy capitalistic men are gonna kill him again.”