The noted countertop-grill retailer and ex-heavyweight champion has issued a challenge to Vladimir Putins best friend. If it ever happens, it will be a cultural event worthy of our distressed times
It has become a cliche of the epoch to say we are getting what we deserve. We get the politicians we deserve, we get the presidents we deserve, we get the world we deserve. Without get too L'Oreal advert about it all, surely we deserve a reprieve from these just deserts? Can't something hilarious and magical come along that we can all welcome with open arms, realising that we are, without question, getting the thing that we deserve- and that it is good?
Yes. Yes it can. George Foreman has challenged Steven Seagal to a proper fighting. This is the cultural event that should have you telling yourself” because I'm worth it “. Clearly, the best time to enjoy it is at this dare-to-dream stage because I sense that one of the parties may ultimately choose the bout can't go ahead. Perhaps because he's too good. Perhaps because he's afraid of hurting the other guy. Maybe because he was demoted to chef after a bungled special forces operation to take out General Noriega.
But at the present stage, when Seagal has pointedly yet to respond and everything still seems possible, let's get down to the background. A few days ago, former two-time heavyweight champ of the world and noted countertop grill retailer George Foreman took to Twitter to issue a challenge to cinema's Steven Seagal. As all of us adrift on the strange tides of early 21 st-century culture should know, Seagal is something of a renaissance human himself, blending age-inappropriate, straight-to-gif action roles with functioning both as a hench-sensei/ fat best friend to Vladimir Putin, and as an occasional spokesmodel for the Russian arms industry.
That is not the half of it, although space constraints mean we must gloss over his stint as an energy drink inventor and blues guitarist. Ditto the headlines he described for his stint as an Arizona border-control guard– as part of the “posse” of recently pardoned horror sheriff Joe Arpaio– following which Seagal was accused of killing a puppy during a raid on a house. (” Animal abuser is a role I will not accept ,” ran a rebuttal that mainly reminded completists like me of all the roles he has accepted. Some of the second largest performances are arguably on a par with canicide .)
And of course there is more- much better. Simply when you think you know him, Seagal unfurls himself in a different direction. Crimea expert. Ukrainian national security menace. Aikido trainer to the Serbian special forces. Like a series of lotus blooms, his career decisions constantly rise above the shitty waters in which they germinated. And then they succumb and rot away again, and it all really stinks somehow much, much worse than it did before. But I think the message is the eternal cycle, or something.
Anyhow, on to Foreman's challenge, which may or may not be provoked by Seagal's recent outburst on Good Morning Britain. Beamed in from Moscow, where he now lives, he raged about US athletes taking the knee in protest, declaring:” I myself have risked my life countless hours for the American flag .” Mmm. As a young Katherine Heigl uncovers in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory:” Uncle Casey's got medals at home that are so secret he can never show them to anybody .” No doubt , no doubt. Seagal surely has a purple heart in rejecting domestic abuse lawsuits.
Shortly after this well-publicised rant, and indeed after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Foreman tweeted:” Steven Seagal, I challenge you, one on one. I use boxing, you can use whatever. 10 rounds in Vegas .”
Well. I think you'll concur those few characters contain multitudes, but the big-fight trash talk has been officially opened with that” you can use whatever “. As students of Seagal's work will know, Steven has a seventh dan black belt in aikido, and a 10 th dan in stimulating it sound like he was given his powers by Buddha at a mountain rendezvous in Nepal, sometime between the mid-Mahajanapada era and the North American theatrical release of Above the Law. He has expended a lifetime talking up his “whatever”, while always remaining sufficiently adaptable to improvise a weapon from a bar towel, microwave or Native American something-or-other. To hear this art sort- the sweet pseudoscience- dismissed as “whatever” by Foreman will surely send him up the wall.
Where better to settle this than the ring? While Seagal urgently tries to come up with believable and face-saving answers to that question- and Foreman continues to goad him- we should consider the narrative of the videotape. At 68, Foreman is three years older than Seagal, with both of them clocking in a little older than the age that Rocky got back into the ring in Rocky Balboa. Which was pretend.
Weight? Look … I'm not sure we dare speculate here. George's grill obviously indicates an interest in retaining lean muscle, while in his DVD outings, Seagal is largely shot in darknes so dark it builds Marlon Brando's lair in Apocalypse Now seem striplit.
In words of other liabilities, Seagal's widow's peak is now being comprehensively out-acted by even John Travolta's, and he may be frightened of experiencing something of what Andre Agassi went through during the course of its 1990 French Open final. As the tennis star afterwards uncovered, there'd been some kind of toupee malfunction the night before, resulting in him squaring up to Andres Gomez with it held together by paperclips, and being so worried about his carpeting coming off that he lost.
On the plus side, Seagal is a sort of demigod, having been formally declared a tulku( a reincarnated lama) by the oldest sect of Tibetan Buddhism. That may come with powers of which we are as yet unaware.
He is, however, slightly less known for actual struggle than George Foreman. Seagal's martial artistry was merely brought to a wider audience by his most famous client. Yes, if you've ever watched a Seagal movie and wondered” How did this guy get into motion picture ?”, you are able like to know that he used to train legendary former Creative Artists Agency overlord Michael Ovitz. Seagal's stardom is largely down to the fact that Ovitz couldn't have a single second of the working day where he wasn't packaging some kind of deal, including at 5am or whatever ungodly hour he was hollering” judo CHOP !” at Steven, probably in some Beverly Hills aerobics studio where the part of” the Far East” was played by a silver buzzer and three jossticks. A starring was born- and the rest, as they say, is history.
It's certainly in the past, anyway, with Seagal's activities these days confined to touring Russian colleges and limbs fairs with Putin, cheerleading for Trump and explaining impatiently to western media that all governments dick around with other countries' elections( I paraphrase slightly ). Foreman's history is a little more … well, severely historical.
Still, there you have it. Think of the buildup. Think of the training montages. Think of the press conferences. Think of the undercard( preference: Holyfield-Van Damme ). Think of the ponytail lumbering for the hills.
It's not going to happen in Vegas, but perhaps some ambitious despot might oblige and stage it, as Mobutu Sese Seko did for the Rumble in the Jungle? Perhaps Putin could use it as a World Cup curtain-raiser next year? After all, Seagal now seems a wholly state-owned subsidiary of the Russian country, instead like Ivan Drago, and could be introduced as opposing out of his home town of Moscow. That might swing the scales in his favor( probably literally ). Though this would patently be a tournament less morally shaded than even Rocky IV. As for the name of this epochal session, it should be thrown open to all of us prospective pay-per-viewers. I'll start the ball rolling with the Oh-No in the Dojo and the Twatting on the Matting, and invite further suggestions at your earliest convenience.
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