As we discussed on Tuesday, Lyndon Johnson was one of the greatest intimidators in US history, utilizing every bit of his 6'3", 250-pound frame and sharp, filthy tongue to push through a fistful of the most sweeping governmental reforms of the 20th century. It was known simply as the Johnson Treatment—unrelenting mental and physical intimidation of opponents by any means necessary—and only 10 American gentlemen in the last 50 years have employed it as famously and effectively as LBJ.
So, a couple nights ago, Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion of the world, appeared on a Brazilian television show called Caldeirão do Huck and, dressed to the nines in a white rental tuxedo, (kind of) sang “The Girl from Ipanema.”
Mr. Tyson was accompanied on piano (and mercifully on vocals) by the original composer’s grandson, Daniel Jobim, who should be ashamed of himself.
As for the video itself, there’s a whole lot going on here and yet absolutely nothing at all. Thankfully, as he’s prone to do, Iron Mike finishes strong (and offers a random bonus word at 1:21).
James Toback's documentary Tyson comes out today, but the director's relationship with the iconic boxer actually goes back two decades, to when Iron Mike was just a 19-year-old up-and-comer. The movie has moments of humor and sadness—sometimes at the same time, as when he calls Don King a "wretched, slimy, reptilian motherfucker" who "would kill his mother for a dollar." (But how does he really feel?) We sat down to talk with Toback to talk about whether he's scared of the champ, Tyson's curiously strong knowledge of 19th Century poetry, and the perils of the eight-day acid trip.
Kempt: So, Mike Tyson: Crazy or misunderstood?
JT: Certainly misunderstood. Crazy, only in the sense that he’s not a conventional, linear person, and is on his own channel, in a kind of uncompromising way.
K: So why do so many people think this guy is nuts?
JT: Primarily the ear-biting and the rape conviction. I think if you take away those two things, the perception would pretty much be gone.
K: You’ve known Mike for 20 years. Has it ever been scary working with him?
JT: No, [but] he said something interesting after seeing the movie: "You know, I always used to wonder why people said they were scared of me. [After] watching the film tonight, I’m scared of that guy."