Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Barack Obama and Kimbo Slice potentially have in common

I had settled in on a relatively uneventful Saturday night w/ an old Lambda pledge brother, Patrick, who had come to Austin for his birthday. We had a few drinks at my place, and flipped on CBS's coverage of the much-hyped TV debut of the YouTube phenonenon, Kimbo Slice, in his third-ever MMA fight.

Slice entered the octagon to the cheers of the partisan Newark crowd, and the adulation of CBS's forever-melodramatic Gus Johnson. Slice introduced himself to America as a Greek God with a ZZ Top beard. He looked less like a person, and more like a chiseled street demon with cannonballs for biceps, and a granite chest inpenetrable by fist, elbow, knee, steel or knife.

His opponent was James "The Colossus" Thompson, some scrub, with literally, a wretched and infected ear that looked less like a human body part and more like a baseball attached to the side of his head. Patrick and I immediately thought he was deformed b/c, surely, there's no way in hell that doctors would ever let Thompson fight w/ an ear like that. Right?

Wrong. Thompson, a fighter with a record of 14-7, and a generous middle-aged paunch, stepped in against Slice, and began taking vicious haymakers from him. Slice kept bombing him, one shot after another that would have sent mere mortals to the canvas, possibly not to awaken until several days later, like the worst hangover imaginable. Except Thompson didn't go down. He stayed upright, and began trading shots with Slice. He knocked Slice to the ground, and began pummeling his head with unprotected elbow shots. Gus Johnson kept screaming that we were witnessing the impossible, and at first glance, he sure seemed right. It looked like Norm from Cheers suffered a ridiculous malformation, but climbed to the top of Mount Olympus anyway to beat up on Zeus. Only the bell saved Slice from being whupped by a beer-bellied sap who looked like he couldn't even win a drunken bar fight.

The third round saw Slice land one massive shot to Thompson's deformed ear, popping it loudly like bloody bubble wrap. Blood splattered all over the canvas, but Thompson was still fighting and landing decent shots as well. Whether the doctors were repulsed by the whole thing, or CBS Sports executives were, either way the fight was stopped as Thompson's ear became a sanguine freak show. Slice, meanwhile, collapsed to the canvas breathing heavily like a fat kid running the 40.

The man who looked invincible, sounded invincible, everybody believed was invincible, won. But barely.


Those that know me well know that I typically vote Libertarian or Republican. But I've always deeply admired Barack Obama since he made his national debut at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. His speech reminded me of Ronald Reagan, and much to my surprise, he even invoked Reagan quite candidly in many of his political stumps, even going so far as to say that the Republican party was the party of ideas for much of the past 15 years.

Simply put, he's one of the best orators I've ever heard in my near 30 years on God's green earth. He's a handsome guy to boot, seems like a decent family man, and doesn't seem much tainted by the political muck that we, the general public, associate with most in the Senate.

His opponent, however, was Hillary Rodham Clinton, seemingly the career politician that I still can't find anyone who actually cares much for her. Obviously the state of New York feels differently, but to most people I know, she comes across as a shrewish carpetbagger. She knew she wouldn't win any general elections in Arkansas, so she moved to New York, disassociated herself from her always-philandering husband, and began what seemed like an inevitable presidential campaign run. Everything about Hillary seemed cold, calculating, almost manipulative, to a degree. She was about power, and everything associated with it. She was, and is, the epitome of political muck.

During this presidential campaign, most have wanted Hillary to go away, to concede defeat to Barack Obama, the man who looked invincible, sounded invincible, everybody believed was invincible. But like James "The Colossus" Thompson, Hillary wouldn't go away. She kept landing shots, winning states and delegates. Everybody kept telling her she had no shot against Obama. But the match wasn't over yet.

Just like Kimbo Slice's Saturday night victory, Barack Obama, the man who looked invincible, sounded invincible, everybody believed was invincible, did, in fact, win. I suspect that many in the mainstream media, just like CBS Sports executives, would not and could not, conceive of a scenario where the invincible didn't win. Perhaps that's why they kept begging for Hillary to quit, why they kept saying Slice couldn't be beat, and why Gus Johnson kept screaming that we were witnessing the impossible. Both their opponents were in the match when they really weren't supposed to be.


Sports media is now all ablaze about Kimbo Slice, and how if he barely beat some scrub with a deformed ear, then he would stand no shot against a formidable MMA opponent. The mainstream media, however, has yet to ask this question: If Barack Obama, an Internet wunderkind, could barely beat a bug-eyed, power-hungry goon that openly hinted at an assassination attempt against him, how in the world is he going to beat a war hero, and a media-savvy, experienced Senator with views moderate enough to satisify most Americans?

The sports media has already made up their mind regarding their questions about their Internet icon that couldn't be beat. I suspect the mainstream media won't even bother asking a question about theirs.