I can list the handful of writers who have truly inspired me throughout my career in journalism. Steve Buckley. Rick Telander. Steve Rushin. Dick Schaap. Dave Anderson. Mike Freeman. A couple of others. None, however, have had the impact of Greg Orlando, my former co-worker at the University of Delaware student newspaper and one of the best scribes I’ve ever seen.
Greg has worked for a handful of publications, primarily dealing with video games. He conducted the funniest Jason Giambi interview of all time (Question (feeling Giambi’s uniform): Is this thing velvet?), and once wrote an essay, The Answer Man, that continues to blow me away. Most important, he’s a good friend, and he’s agreed to contribute to jeffpearlman.com by taking one side in our weekly debate session. Today’s topic (selected by Greg): Teddy Roosevelt vs. Godzilla
GREG: Theodore Roosevelt once took a bullet. A lesser man would have (in no particular order), bled and, likely, died. Theodore Roosevelt responded the only way he knew how: He gave a speech, and you can believe that when the president of the goddamn United States of America gets shot and instead of saying ouch, he reads his prepared remarks people—”pardon my boorishness”—fucking listened intently. For 90 minutes.
Theodore Roosevelt was, to cop liberally from Predator, a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus. Believe you can, and you’re halfway there, he once said before bedding 27 women at one time. Then he became president. He personally visited every one who hadn’t voted for him, and punched them in the neck.In the matter of Godzilla v. Roosevelt, we can understand the opposition’s apprehension. Godzilla, the so-called “King of Monsters,” was defeated by, in recent memory, Matthew Broderick and a giant moth. Its sad, weepy origin as a fatal expression of man’s flirtation with the atom is at once fitting for a misunderstood behemoth, but it can also explain away unfunny prop “comedian” Carrot Top. And, one supposes, Walter Mondale as well.
Roosevelt won a Nobel Peace Prize. He karate-chopped the man who handed him the award. He also singlehandedly defeated Menudo at the Battle of San Juan Hill. And the teddy bear was so named because Theodore used to kill and eat bears—but not necessarily in that order. Blood dripping down his chin and still in a killing frenzy, Roosevelt declared this to be cute, and ordered five million real bears to be exterminated and stuffed with foam.
As our president, Roosevelt spent most of his time carving his own image into Mount Rushmore. Then, when World War I came around, Roosevelt offered to go to Germany and “rip the Kaiser’s tits off.” President Woodrow Wilson declined the offer and sent troops over instead. Just like a sucker.
Godzilla? Crunch all you want. They’ll make more. There was, and forever will be, only one Roosevelt.
JEFF: What a stupid argument. Teddy Roosevelt vs. Godzilla? So dumb—and not even close. Godzilla kills Teddy Roosevelt. Literally. He could eat him. He could step on him. He could crush him with his left claw. He could crush him with his right claw. He could engulf him in flames, turning the man with a big stick into a literal marshmallow stick. He could drop Teddy Roosevelt into a volcano. He could feed Teddy Roosevelt to a pack of hungry wolves. He could hang Teddy Roosevelt upside down until all the blood lingers in his skull.
So take your Nobel Prize … your presidency … your mountain bust. I’ll take the bad-ass MOFO who f—ed up Gamera. Who sent Megalon packing. Who turned King Kong into Little Punk.
You best respect, b—-. You best respect.