Saturday, 21 November 2009

An interview with Mike Tyson

In a week where there has been just so much going on with Brother D, it would be so easy to talk about some of that, but instead I want to say a few words about Mike Tyson.

Dermot Murnaghan of SKY news interviewed Mike Tyson the ex-heavy weight champion of the world (and youngest) as he (Mike that is) had just come off a flight from the US. I probably would not usually have made a point of watching this, but for some reason I did and was glad that, I did. I must say, I had always thought of Mike as being a rather illiterate ghetto youth somewhat like me, who somehow made it (unlike me).

It was interesting watching the typical big channel news reporter trying to goad this ex-heavyweight into taking on the usual conception that we sometimes have of boxers as dim and brawn. Mike said to Dermot ‘What do you want to get from this interview’ Dermot was trying in a rather brazen way to hype things up and talk about the prison sentence, the aura of being the heavy weight champ and all of the accolade and lifestyle that comes from that type of lifestyle, some of the rather vulgar (in my opinion) comments that Mike made at the time such as wanting to punch his opponents noise through his head etc. The thing that I feel Dermot forgot, was that Mike Tyson, just like you and I is a human being, who tried in his way to do the best with what he had around him.

I gained a great respect for a man that I thought I would never want to sit down and have a chat with (no not Dermot, but Mike). Mike said to Dermot ‘ you are talking about things I said as a youth,  I am now 43 years old, you are dwelling on things I said when I was 20 years old, what do you want to get from this interview?’ all Dermot could put up as a weak reply was, that he wanted to see how much Mike had changed, well who are you to judge another person Dermot - I thought to myself. So what does it really matter as to how YOU (Dermot) judge how Mike has changed. Would it not have been better to have said that the UK would like to see how Mike had changed from those days?

It was at this point, I genuinely began to fear for Dermot, as Mike said, twice that Dermot was ‘irritating him’ as he was dragging up things from 15 to 20 years ago. Although it was clear to see that Mike is a rather deeper individual than most of us may initially give him credit for I still wondered whether Dermot, who to me, did not seem to have realised the potential of what he may be facing, or he hid his fear well, continued to go on almost obliviously to Mike’s demeanour - I wonder whether that interview was risk assessed.

Have you ever thought about what it may be like to feed a couple of starved pit-bull terriers or crocodiles a steak, not so well done and then to find out that the amount that they have been given would be a likened to the starters of a 5 course meal. Well if you did not have anything else to pull out of the bag, you would probably realise that you are likely to become course 2 to 5 of this sitting.

Well this is the precarious situation that I felt Dermot had place himself in. It must be interesting in the very least to be a news presenter. I guess you feel all types of pressures to perform and entertain, but with such a formidable character in front of you, you need to take stock (I would have thought). For myself I felt that Dermot’s approach was rather stereotypical of what would have been expected from such a character of an ex-heavy weight champion, pound for pound boxer, but I was disappointed that Dermot was not actually able to adjust (what I believe to be) his pre-set conceptions of what he would be getting in this interview and then to adjust, ad-lib to the new element of what he actually got; which again in my opinion was a very mature, thoughtful, reflective, life experienced ex-heavy weight champion in Mike Tyson. It is no wonder that Dermot irritated Mike, I think that you and I would have been too.

Dermot what is wrong with you? Dermot next decided to put a question to an already irritated Mike Tyson (who I am sure could still knock out a Bull with a decent right hook) about the death of his child… Dermot are you that tired of life. Do you really think a camera would stop a man from choking the life out of you??? When Mike said that he would rather not talk about that, I did hope that Dermot would leave it there and thankfully, he did not push this.

I gained a lot of respect for mike Tyson from this interview and in some way I gained a little for Dermot as I do appreciate the huge pressure he would have had when given a highlight opportunity to interview someone such as Mike Tyson. Although would appear not to be the type of interview that Dermot is the strongest at; in fact to me as a very ordinary person, I believe I could have connected with Mike in a more constructive way. I mean Dermot felt he had to go into the Obama issue, you know, a black president, interviewing Mike Tyson; Dermot, you need to leave be able to ad-lib, as you clearly had a set agenda of questions, maybe a producer in your earphone directing you, but you seemed to lack the ability to diversify from those question, when faced with answered that clearly indicated that your format was not going to make for a great interview. The person in front of you had much more depth than the researchers for this interview had taken on board. In some way Dermot, I feel for you, as I feel you were left hung out to dry.

I am not a news reporter, but this made for much entertainment for me (albeit – that I feared that every next word that Dermot spoke could be his last).

I should say that my view is not based on Mike Tyson, but on what I thought, was poor interviewing by Dermot of indeed if not him directly, but that of his production team.

Please check out the links for excerpts of the interview – If you can find the whole interview it is good viewing and please give me the link so that I can share it with others, after all it is only 15 minute long of what I pray will be a long life for you.



For me, it was the case of an almost desperate interviewer, or to be fair to Dermot, Production team, trying to draw out what he/they thought would make for good viewing, when if he/they had taken the time to re-assess the person in front of him/them, he/they could have had a classic interview that would have challenged some of Michael Parkinson’s best endeavours. Sorry Dermot or should I say your production team, you truly wasted a good opportunity in my mind and thank you Mike, as you were a pleasure to watch – true through and through.

Even at the end of the interview, Dermot shook hands with Mike and did the ouch! Thing. Come on Dermot, was that you or production? Either way, you are so much better than that………….

What are your thoughts??????

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)
21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.

Brother Don

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey....Your a good writer! you write like you talk and thats good to read.

Keep it going brother Don!!

God bless you

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