24 September, 2021

LitStack Rec: Blue Highways and Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies

Beautifully Unique Sparkleponiesrec
On Myths, Free-Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities,
Chris Kluwe

Chris Kluwe is a professional football player; the Minnesota Viking’s starting punter for eight years. He also is intelligent, articulate, and unabashedly passionate about what he sees as affronts to personal liberties. On September 7, 2011, he published an open letter on the website Deadspin responding to Maryland legislator Emmet Burns, who had contacted the Baltimore Ravens urging them to stifle linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s outspoken views on same sex marriage. Kluwe’s heartfelt – and somewhat profane – diatribe brought the debate of same sex marriage and gay rights into a new arena- sports fandom. Some believe it was this stance – and Kluwe’s refusal to not only back away from the issue, but in fact to embrace it – that led him to be released by the Vikings in 2013.

In “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies” (a phrase he coined in the PG version of the letter he released a few days later after the more scorching original), Kluwe delves deeper into things he cares about; not just same sex marriage and social liberties, but football, gaming, music, time travel, and various other topics, in essays both pithy and, at times, absurd (in a good way, hence the subtitle of the book). To give you just an inkling, on the inside of the dust jacket, his crackling humor is evident: “Hi. In your hands, right now, you hold the culmination of thousands of years of human intelligence, ingenuity, and brilliance. Now put down your goddamn phone and pay attention to my book.”

Yes, he has a potty mouth. Yes, he loves to be on a soapbox. But he’s also not afraid to be self-
deprecating, openly personal, and unabashedly passionate. And he’s incredibly intelligent. And well spoken. If you aren’t afraid of heat in your readings and if you lean somewhat to the left (but even if you don’t), spend some time with these short but intriguing essays. They will make you smile, possibly make you laugh, and perhaps make you think differently about football players. They will also make you think, which is the best thing of all.

—Sharon Browning

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