Friday, January 20, 2017

Audiobook Review: "Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies" by Chris Kluwe

Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities Chris Kluwe
Published: June 25, 2013
ISBN: 9780316236775
Genre: Essays
Source: Audible
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this audiobook if you like: Humorous essays, Progressive writing, Profanity, Football

Hi. In your hands, right now, you hold the culmination of thousands of years of human intelligence, ingenuity, and brilliance. Now put your goddamn phone down and pay attention to my book. 

What is in my book, you ask? (I'm really glad you asked, by the way, because now I get to tell you.)

Time travel. Gay marriage. Sportsballing. Futuristic goggles that DO NOTHING.

Tiny brags from my publisher, stuff like: "This is an uproarious, uncensored take on empathy, personal responsibility, and what it means to be human."

Excessive brags about myself: "An extraordinarily clever, punishingly funny, sharp-tongued blogosphere star, NFL player, husband and father, one-time violin prodigy, voracious lifetime reader, obsessive gamer, and fearless champion of personal freedom."

Oh, and also an essay on the Pope's Twitter account. Honestly, if that doesn't draw you in, there's no hope left for humanity. I also give my own funeral eulogy, in case you were hoping I'd go away and die now!

So please, join me in the glorious art of windmill tilting by reading this "collection of rousing, uncensored personal essays, letters, and stories" (I have no idea why that's in quotes).

Join the herd of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies.

Preface to my thoughts:
I normally do not post reviews on Fridays.  But, today is not just any Friday and I felt that this was the perfect book to feature today.  While it was published three and a half years ago, I found it to be frightening applicable for today.  If you would like to read a more recent essay by Chris Kluwe--one that would have been in this book if the book had come out 3 years later--check this one out.

My Thoughts:
While I am a football fan, Chris Kluwe was not someone who was on my radar.  Part of this is because he played for most of his professional life for the Minnesota Vikings, and I'm a Packers fan.  Part of this is because he's a punter and, well, I don't think I could even tell you who the punter for the Packers is.

For me, I found out about Chris Kluwe when he wrote an open letter to Maryland political Emmett Burns, who had publicly condemned, and tried to stifle, Ravens player Brendan Ayanbadejo for speaking out in support of same-sex marriage.  His letter, which was a masterpiece in the art of utilizing profanity to its maximum effectiveness, quickly went viral and Kluwe quickly became famous for something other than football.

And, folks, Kluwe has a lot to say.  I'll come right out with this--if you are not comfortable with Progressivism, this book will make you very uncomfortable.  However, if you are a Progressive, you will quickly realize that Kluwe may just be your spirit animal.  He does not hold back in any way--there were many times while I was listening to this where I had to stop the elliptical or put down the weights and rewind to check if he actually said what I thought he said.

Also, if profanity is not your thing, this book is probably not for you.  I'm reminded of an essay in Aasif Mandvi's book, No Land's Man, where he likens using profanity to chiles.  It is far too easy to use too much and ruin everything you are going to say.  However, a skilled chef can use just the right amount of chiles to create a masterpiece.  Kluwe, shall we say, is 3-Michelin starred-chef.

There is no topic that Kluwe won't approach--he opens with the (in)famous same-sex letter (reading two versions--the original and the profanity-less one, which is no less cutting).  He then talks about everything from the Pope to the Conservative political movement to cheap toilet paper.  There were a few times where things were dated--this book is 3 years old, after all.  Still, I found myself nodding in agreement (and probably looking like a wacko in the gym) at nearly every one of his essays.

I have 2 cautions about this book.  First off, while I enjoyed it greatly in audio form, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much had I read it.  Kluwe's narration works with his personal essays, and I think that it adds what is needed to the text.  While his essays are well-worth a read one by one, some may get Kluwe fatigue if they tried to read a whole book of them.

Secondly, if you are queasy about injuries, there is an essay towards the end where Kluwe describes in great detail the sensations of all the injuries he incurred while playing professional football.  While it is a credit to his writing that he can describe these sensations so well that the reader or listener can almost feel it, it may also be too much for some to take.  In that case, I recommend just skipping ahead past that essay.

Even though these essays are over 3 years old, they still make it clear that he voices like Chris Kluwe--people who will speak out and do so in a way that compels people to listen.  I highly recommend this audiobook.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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