“Just Tyrus,” the new memoir by Fox News commentator Tyrus, details his independent streak that conservatives can learn from, rooted in the commonsense individualism of a biracial, fatherless young man who defeated victimhood and landed high-profile gigs with household brands such as Snoop Dogg and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
William F. Buckley’s highbrow, harpsichord-plucking, snobbish, WASPy, country club conservatism is waning. Tyrus’ rugged, homegrown, free-thinking The Hulk and John Wayne-inspired conservatarianism is rising.
The oldest child of a then-illegal biracial marriage, Tyrus (legally named George Murdoch) tells of horrific domestic violence against him and his white mother by his black father, who attempts to throw a young Tyrus out the window of their cramped, high-rise Boston apartment.
After a California move, a dysfunctional white stepfather bashes out a 13-year-old Tyrus’ front teeth, inspiring a subsequent vengeance beating by Tyrus, who eventually grew to a dominating 6 feet 8 inches tall and 350 pounds. Beating his stepfather led Tyrus to depart home at age 16, his belongings in a trash bag, sparking years of couch surfing.
During a childhood with no consistent male role models at home, Tyrus felt drawn to masculine, heroic archetypes flashing across TV — especially WWE superstars. Social science data suggests Tyrus is an exception: a poor, abused, fatherless child who graduated college and successfully turned his Hollywood fairytales into realities, rather than dropping out of high school or perishing in gangbanging street violence. As rising generations of fatherless, latchkey kids suffer from opioid overdoses and other postmodernism-induced ailments, Tyrus’ story of triumph is that much more inspiring.
A Story of Sin
It’s painful to read the harrowing obstacles Tyrus faced while suffering from a racist grandfather who couldn’t stand his own grandson’s skin. He told Tyrus’ mother she was lucky any white man would have her after she slept with a black man. Tyrus’ first girlfriend hid him under her bed for five hours after her racist family unexpectedly showed up.
While he’s honest about such wrongdoing against him, Tyrus is also honest about his own sins, including using a chair to crush the orbital socket and collarbone of a loving foster mother worried about his soiled playground clothes. Tyrus says that is his biggest life regret. It happened at age 7, and she quickly forgave him. He also details regret about a stint dealing drugs while living in Nebraska pursuing collegiate football.
Tyrus eventually used his daunting physique to land L.A. nightclub bouncer gigs, which turned into bodyguarding for Snoop Dogg. He later details the grueling workouts and mandatory weight loss to fulfill his childhood fantasy of snagging roles in the WWE spotlight.
“It’s high-concept entertainment built around heroes and villains,” he writes, dismissive of those who whine (he doesn’t name them, but many establishment pearl-clutching Republicans fit) about WWE’s low-brow inauthenticity. “The art of simulating combat is revered, especially in Japan. It’s considered an art form, in fact. At its heart, that’s what professional wrestling is. Not to mention the fact that you have to be in incredible shape to perform at the highest levels that professional wrestling demands.”
Tyrus sums up his life: “I am or have been a blue-chip, all-American, talented college athlete; a college graduate; a liar, cheater, manipulator; an animal enthusiast; a smart-ass (a personal point of pride); a rude bully; a lost, angry bar cook. I’ve been fucked over, hated on, fired, passed over, judged; a target of attempted lynching (but it didn’t work out for them); a police brutality survivor; ‘that n-gg-r,’ ‘a n-gg-r,’ ‘my n-gg-r’ [slurs printed in original]. I’ve had a gun to my head twice; had my heart broken; had it put back together again…but I’ve never been a victim.”
Skepticism of Victimhood, Capable at Reinvention
Arguably, skepticism of victimhood underpins what Tyrus reported was his most popular Fox News segment: skewering the hypocrisy of Black Lives Matter. While he says he’s personally experienced some rare over-policing, he’s rightly incensed by people unfairly demonizing police while trying to excuse their actual crimes.
Of course, these BLM sympathizers are abetted by weak district attorneys funded by billionaire George Soros and Vice President Kamala Harris, who elevate criminals over actual victims. Tyrus’ money line in the Fox segment: “If you choose to resist arrest, that doesn’t make you Rosa Parks. That makes you a criminal.”
This sense that Tyrus rejects victimhood leads him over and over to reinvention — beyond a broken home, beyond broken football dreams, beyond political labels. He said he voted for Barack Obama twice, in part for the aspirational nature of the first African-American president. But Tyrus also has warm words for former President Donald Trump.
“Trump changed my mind, he affected the way I think,” Tyrus writes. “I like how important it was for Trump to expose the system for the common man. When he gave speeches and when he dealt with the press, he was very deliberate about putting information out there; for the most part, it gave voters a chance to really understand how ugly the back of the political kitchen was.”
A former Never Trumper, Tyrus’s journey toward respecting the 45th president shouldn’t surprise, given Trump was a fixture on the WWE scene. They are both scrappy showmen at heart in a sport rejected by Beltway elites.
The Right’s Big Tent
One topic Tyrus doesn’t touch was the long-running feud between Trump and Tyrus’s former employer, Snoop Dogg. Snoop made a video with a mock assassination of Trump and later depicted Trump’s corpse in a remake of Ice Cube’s“Death Certificate” cover. But Snoop put that behind him after Trump issued a last-minute pardon to Death Row Records co-founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris, absolving Harris of attempted murder and kidnapping.
“I love what they did,” Snoop said, according to the New York Post. “Let them know that I love what they did. It is amazing what the work of God can actually bring to life to make people understand that there is a God.”
Snoop’s evolution in some ways parallels Tyrus’ own evolution away from race-infused divisiveness. “Just Tyrus” is a roadmap for conservatives navigating America’s shifting cultural and racial landscape — it’s a profile of a “Big Tent” voice the right should welcome.