Sunday, February 3, 2008

I'll moider da bum

Back in 1930, a reporter had this fascinating idea of asking boxer Tony Galento, about William Shakespeare. And here's the answer he got:

"I suppose he's one of them foreign heavyweights. They're all lousy. I'll moider da bum".

For some reason, you may think, that Two Ton Tony, owner of Orange's pub "The Nut Club", is one of those charismatic, adorable rogues, which sometimes boxing produces? And if you do, you'll be totally wrong. He was none of those. Still, he was unique and popular, this One-Man Riot and "beer barrel that walks like a man". Still, he gained individuality, and recognition.

You see, in 1930's boxing was America's most popular sport, with no PR, managers and a lot of dirty moves. "Because he [Tony] had been hailed as the most colorful fisticuffer since John L. Sullivan, 10,000 curious fight fans turned out to watch his well-publicized antics." [Time]

What were the reasons of this popularity? A boxer, later an actor, and president candidate? He did even play with Brando, in a movie directed by Elia Kazan.

I think Joseph Monninger, has the answer:

"a moment, and an era reminds us that sometimes it is through effort, exceeding expectations and beating the odds, that people can most enduringly define themselves".

At Depression's end, those overlooked "heroes" were needed. I think. At least the underlying refrain, for all those man and woman with potential, which with different fortune could be remembered not with "trying" but with "achieving" something better.

"There won't be nuttin' left of him 'cause I'll analyze him", said Tony. For once funny, imagining him analyzing, and even funnier, because, after all, Tony's popularity was a popularity of a Fantasy. And you should not analyze fantasies. We need fantasies. To live.