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.comment: Linux Lewis vs. Microsoft Tyson

The Smart Money

  • January 30, 2002
  • By Dennis E. Powell

This is starting to get really interesting.

Last week, AOL and Netscape sued Microsoft Corporation.

Yesterday, IBM named as its new CEO a man who has championed the company's support of Linux on almost every machine the company sells or rents.

Today, Hewlett-Packard will make much at Linux World Expo of a new desktop Linux initiative.

Tomorrow, Microsoft will webcast various marketing types giving marching orders on how to get Linux off of customer machines -- even if they want Linux.

A little blood in the water, anyone?

I was thinking about these things yesterday afternoon as, on the news in the background, a miserable mountain of squeaky-voiced meat, a cartoon-character thug name of Mike Tyson, was begging regulators in Nevada to let him continue to do as he damn well pleases with no penalty. Police in Nevada have made what I'm told is a pretty compelling rape case against Tyson; you'd think that Nevada would be the last place he'd want to be. But times are tough in Nevada just now, and giving Tyson what he wants would be worth $300 million to Las Vegas. What's one little rape when you're talking bread like that?

Enough, apparently, to cause Nevada's boxing commission to say no.

What Tyson wanted -- well, what whoever it is on the other end of Tyson's leash wanted -- was for Tyson's boxing license in that state to be reinstated so that he could step into a boxing ring there April 6 and face a fellow named Lennox Lewis.

Tyson is truly frightening in much the way a carnivorous dinosaur might have been. There is no evidence of his ever having let thought or scruple interfere with his pursuit of whatever he has desired. He is also, by all available evidence, the locus of as much stupidity as has ever been concentrated in one place. He seems to be on autopilot 100 percent of the time, headed wherever his instincts lead.

Lewis, meanwhile, is a bright and articulate fellow. (I almost said that Lewis is as smart as Tyson is stupid, but Einstein, hell, Goethe wasn't as smart as Tyson is stupid.) He is a precise and scientific boxer, and though he's had a few bumps in the road, he's never actually bitten body parts off of his opponents.

Despite the ruling of the Nevada boxing commission, Tyson and Lewis will end up doing battle somewhere. The outcome is unclear, but the match will take place. To the extent that he has them, we might suppose that Tyson's feelings were hurt by the commission's ruling, and that might open just a little vulnerability. When your society has been deemed unfit for association with the denizens of the Strip in Las Vegas, you've been officially pronounced pretty low indeed.

We're about to see a clash of titans of a different sort, but the parallels are striking.

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