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Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities Hardcover – June 25, 2013
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"The most interesting man in the N.F.L." -- The New York Times
"The quirky and sometimes pugnacious ex-punter for the Vikings reveals a little more about his views on social issues, and a lot more about himself, his career and how his frenetic and far-ranging mind works....Kluwe proves himself to be, indeed, a man for all season--not just football season." -- The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"In a league (and sports climate) which has become one, long, repetitive sound bite, a guy who will actually say something meaningful." -- BleacherReport.com
"Chris Kluwe is a glimmering sparklepony of candor (and not afraid to dive fearlessly into the marriage equality debate)." -- Mother Jones
"It's a strongly worded, profanity laced political and philosophical manifesto from an unlikely new pundit: pro football player Chris Kluwe ... Mr. Kluwe's particular talent as a prose stylist lies in his creative use of inventive swear words." -- The Wall Street Journal's "Speakeasy"
"Kluwe is a genuine iconoclast.... Kluwe's writing makes for an entertaining read. He's as adept at the art of the take-down... but he is capable of toning it down when he has to.... His words present compelling arguments on myriad deep and unsolvable, yet relentlessly fascinating problems." -- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Intelligent and thought-provoking, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies is relentlessly honest; Kluwe pulls no punches, spares no language and writes a rip-roaring debut." -- Shelf Awareness
"A lively collection. In mixing the profane with the prophetic while using a variety of literary devices, the author succeeds at being both entertaining and enlightening. An intriguing assortment of work from an athlete with a lot on his mind." -- Kirkus
"Kluwe is a brainy loudmouth dyspeptic idealistic pessimistic utopian punter/gay rights activist/champion of free speech/family guy who plays guitar. He's sort of Charles Barkley meets Bill "Spaceman" Lee--but with more gravitas." -- ESPN.com
"Kluwe's combination of passion and intelligent self-deprecation has resulted in some must-read stuff....Kluwe is a talented writer with plenty to say. He just happens to kick footballs for a living." -- The Maine Edge
"Chris Kluwe writes much better than I can punt." John Scalzi, award-winning author of Old Man's War and Redshirts
About the Author
Chris Kluwe grew up in Southern California among a colony of wild chinchillas and didn't learn how to communicate outside of barking and howling until he was fourteen years old. He has played football in the NFL, once wrestled a bear for a pot of gold, and lies occasionally. He is also the eternal disappointment of his mother, who just can't understand why he hasn't cured cancer yet. Do you know why these bio things are in third person? I have no idea. Please tell me if you figure it out.
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He brought it. Spectacularly. His book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities (of which he covers ALL of that and more) is a joy to read. Amazon delivered this book today and I chewed thru it like a lineman at a bar-b-que. So eager was I to finish the book that, to its credit, I did not give it the amount of thought and attention it deserves. That will come upon my second reading.
Kluwe is both vicious in his take down of a multitude of issues and, surprisingly, sympathetic. Who else could both EVISCERATE a fellow player's "SEE SPOT RUN" mentality and compliment him on the observation that he can 'write pretty well'?
The shame (if there is any to be had) is that the very people who SHOULD read this book probably won't go near it. Those are the same "morons" that Kluwe alludes to in the title and then summarily chews up and spits out thru-out the book in unabashed logic. The same ones (are you reading this Archbishop Nienstedt?) that feel that their unabiding and limitless faith can not seem to encompass the very tenants upon which they are based (compassion and love), let alone a universe in which science, biology, and human instinct hold true.
If SparklePonies in anyway sends a message, its that Chris Kluwe and his opinions are not going away anytime soon, nor are mine, nor are yours and that the best love letter you can send to humanity is one that is true, compassionate, and cuts thru the B.S. like a laser.
“Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies” is a fascinating, rambling, incredibly smart read. I first heard Chris Kluwe’s name in reference to the marriage equality debate (one of my hot button issues) – and when I read his letter to Emmett C. Burns Jr. Many people responded more to some of the words Kluwe used than the overarching point of his letter, and Kluwe addresses that in this book. “The swearing is there for a reason. What Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote, what I responded to, was far more disgusting and foul-minded than any simple scatological reference or genital mash-up. His words degraded the very essence of the English language with their barely hidden venom and intolerant hate; drag it screaming into the muck of iniquity by wrapping a mantle of seeming reasonableness around corruption and control; masquerade as discourse while screaming their very lies to any heaven to any heaven you care to name – I could go on. My words? My words are a litmus test for those who would see the truth of a message rather than the package it’s delivered in.”
Chris Kluwe is crazy smart. He is creative, articulate, thinks fast on his feet and has a core of beliefs that shine through everything he says.
He also writes beautifully. In the section entitled “The Rush” – his description of the process and experience of his day job – is very evocative, reading almost like poetry. “…as my left foot locks into the ground and all the muscles on my right lower side contract and then explode up through an expelled grunt of air, left arm fully outstretched to the sky, eyes never leaving the gold Wilson engraved on the side, though they’re not quick enough to actually see the moment of impact, and now I’m following through and time returns to normal again, an eternity of 1.2 seconds later.”
And when he talks about the sensation of reading a great book – it’s like he was pulling those thoughts and feelings straight from my own head. “The pure luxuriousness of reading a book in comfort is one of the greatest sensations in the world (sex is better, but only by a little bit). Curling up on an engulfing couch as snow drifts down outside, toes hidden beneath warm blankets; lying sideways on a cushioned chaise while cool sea breezes gently stir the sunny afternoon air; hiding under the covers with a flashlight while rain beats down outside, all of these anchored by a collection of thoughts and ideas bound together, alone in whatever world the author created. Such hedonistic delight in contemplation of the immaterial, the intangible. File under Satisfaction with Universe.”
I think the section that had the greatest impact on me (because this is another of my hot button issues) is “Bang Bang” – the essay he wrote on the day of Newtown. As a person, as a mother, that day was horrific for me. I couldn’t stop crying for those children, for those parents…and for the certainty that even though these were schoolchildren that were murdered, the NRA would not allow one single solitary thing to change in our country – and if they possibly could – they would make things even worse so that they could sell more guns and ensure more people would die. Kluwe, however, expresses his feelings of that day in bold and with many caps. He is angry, rightly so, as he maps out exactly what the gun fanatics would think and do after one of the darkest days in our country’s history. His letter to those who worship guns over human life is one of the most powerful I’ve ever read.
“Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies” is a book that made me think and laugh and learn. I loved reading it and I look forward to more books (and letters!) from Chris Kluwe.
The cursing and sexual references may give pause to more conservative readers - but it is nothing beyond Vonnegut or many contemporary writers........but don't buy this book for your 12 year old NFL Raider/Viking fan.
Based upon this book, Mr Kluwe has a bright future after the NFL. I hope to read more of his work in the future (when he writes it) and I hope he keeps it as entertaining and accessible as Sparkleponies. Maybe the great American novel is in his future. Chris appears to succeed in anything he tries to do - whwhy should such a novel be any different?