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Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities

Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities

4.1 20
by Chris Kluwe

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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


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.

(You know you want to.)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chris Kluwe— erstwhile punter for the Minnesota Vikings, musician, and "ordinary human being, full of carbon and hydrogen and oxygen" —builds a collection of essays using the same zeal first seen in his open letter to Emmett C. Burns Jr., the Maryland politician who attempted to quell the free speech of Baltimore Ravens players. The infamous letter is included early in the collection followed by essays on a wide variety of topics: personal, political, random. The book reads like a diary of a smart, incredibly likeable, opinionated spazz. Kluwe entertains throughout with nimble associative leaps, ranging from a future where "the world hovers in an uneasy peace," to a hilarious investigation of the former pope's Twitter account, in which Kluwe points out, "the pope follows himself, in seven languages." Kluwe's sharpest writing comes when he's riled up and revving to rant, as displayed perfectly in his response to an article by former tight end turned writer Nate Johnson. While the book is no masterpiece, Kluwe's personality shines through, making it a highly enjoyable read. Kluwe is a self-aware, funny, intelligent, good dude who knows how to tweak a little publicity toward a good cause. (June)
From the Publisher
"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

The New York Times
The most interesting man in the N.F.L.
In a league (and sports climate) which has become one, long, repetitive sound bite, a guy who will actually say something meaningful.
Mother Jones Magazine
Chris Kluwe is a glimmering sparklepony of candor (and not afraid to dive fearlessly into the marriage equality debate).
Kirkus Reviews
NFL punter Kluwe riffs on everything from social justice to dinosaur obsessions in a lively collection of stories, essays, letters and poems. Those who've never watched Kluwe attempt to boot his team out of trouble on fourth and long are still probably familiar with his much-talked-about support of same-sex marriage. Marriage equality, however, is just a thin slice of what the avid video gamer, rock-'n'-roll bassist and Kurt Vonnegut devotee has percolating inside his contemplative mind. Much of it, like when he imagines a "sportsball" showdown between the "Lustful Cockmonsters" and the "Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies," has comedic value. Kluwe can't help but dispatch a few politicians and other assorted close-minded pontificators as "douchebags," but he spends a lot more time pondering other things, like paradoxical time traveling and mankind's penchant for self-annihilation. In mixing the profane with the prophetic while using a variety of literary devices, the author succeeds at being both entertaining and enlightening. Haters can forget trying to paint Kluwe as some kind of loudmouth who doesn't spend enough time thinking about his day job. At least two entries--one painstakingly detailing the intricate process of successfully punting a football downfield while a phalanx of world-class juggernauts hurl their cinder-block bodies at him and another creatively cataloging the variety of painful injuries he has sustained over his long football career--clearly attest to his dedication to gridiron greatness. Football concerns Kluwe, but so do a lot of other things--including being a good parent. "Never be ashamed of who you are. I'm a nerd who plays football," he cheerfully advises his kids. The advice is empowering and displays the author's overarching belief in empathy and reason. An intriguing assortment of work from an athlete with a lot on his mind.

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Little, Brown and Company
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Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies

On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities

By Chris Kluwe

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2013 Chris Kluwe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-316-23677-5



I've decided to call my own mind. There's a lot of different characters in there, and I think we need to talk. Sadly, I have to use my three-year-old phone with crappy reception because I'm too cheap to upgrade to one that actually works, but I guess that's on me.

First up is Football. As the phone rings, I pace around like a lion on methadone. I've never been able to sit still while I'm on the phone; it seems like thinking and listening and talking with someone I can't see causes me to fill in the gaps with movement. Sometimes my wife yells at me because I'm driving her to distraction. I hope she doesn't Tase me one day.

Football finally picks up. I can hear the yelling of coaches in the background. How's it going? I ask. Oh, just fine, Football responds. It's the usual—sitting around during practice thinking of spaceships, video-game ideas, possible book topics, how many different shades of blue there are before you start entering green—anything at all, really, to keep from going violently insane after we finish the forty-five minutes of punting we're here for.

A dull roar shakes the phone in my ear—it sounds like a plane just landed on Football's head. What was that?

In the middle of a game have to go the snap is coming puntis off gotta cover here comes he sterohshitohshitoh—click. The phone goes dead, the call cut off. I shrug and dial the number for Reading.

Reading doesn't pick up, usually never does. Spends all its time among stacks of books, science fiction and fantasy mainly, tuning everything out inside the hushed cathedral silence of a library. I'm never quite sure where I'm going to go with Reading, but it's always a great trip. I swear, though, if Reading ever gets an e-reader, I'm going to lobotomize myself. You can't beat the feel of paper on fingertips.

Next on the list is abstract. I dial the number, and my phone swallows me up and spits me out inside a psychedelic landscape of non-Euclidean geometry and fireworks. The colors taste like triangles. All of a sudden, a herd of bowling-ball llamas run past me whispering scenes from Hamlet while a thunderous bass track shimmers the air into crystal sculptures. At one point, I'm pretty sure they all look like Jessica Rabbit. Commence the sweet-tea tango. <record scratch>

Time to leave, before abstract takes me on another tangent. It's a fun place to visit, interesting scenery, but I don't think I'd want to live there.

At this point I realize I'm talking to Reason. Reason's always sitting above everything else, custodiet the custodians and all that, and usually keeps abstract on a pretty tight leash. There's a couple long-chain molecular compounds that can distract Reason for a while, but they also generally make the next morning slightly unpleasant, so they get in only occasionally. The funny thing, though, is that Reason is the only one that will let them in in the first place. Unless Reason's satisfied that it's okay to take a break, all guards stay on high alert.

Reason assures me that it's still very much in control at the moment, so I hang up and go looking for the last portion of my mind I'd like to speak with. It crafts me a wonderful conversation and then brings this snapshot to a close.

Enjoy the ride.

Welcome to the Circus

I never intended to write a book. All of this started when I wrote a letter.

A lot of people seemed to enjoy reading this letter, and one of the reasons they enjoyed reading it was that it had a bunch of naughty words in it. Words like lustful cockmonster and narcissistic fromunda stain and holy fucking shitballs.

Some other people didn't like the language, and I imagine they went into apoplectic fits when they finally reached the very last word I wrote down, which I've taken the delight of reprinting here:


Coincidentally, Kurt Vonnegut always included a stylized picture of an asshole next to his signature (one of the many delightful hand-drawn illustrations he liked to include in his stories). There's a big asterisk middle finger emblazoned on the spine of each book (at least on the ones I own, anyway), telling the world that this was his voice and you could take it or leave it.

I like Kurt's voice, how he was able to highlight the absurdities and awfulness of the human race, hope and depression all twisted together into one complex knot (just like people!). I'm not Kurt, though. I have to use my own voice—colorful language, obscure tangents, mixed metaphors, and all.

As the great poet Marshall Mathers put it,

Sorry, Mama, I'm grown, I must travel alone Ain't following no footsteps, I'm making my own.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

So now that I'm writing a book, people have suggested topics for me to consider. Some of them I like, some of them I'll ignore (I'm the one writing; I get to make the rules), but one in particular I find absolutely fascinating. The topic is "How the truth will always help you win."

Sorry, but that's not true. The truth will help you win only if people are willing to educate themselves as to why truth is important, and, make no mistake, truth is very important.

But what is truth?

To me, truth boils down to two things: a willingness to see the world as it really is, and the desire to change your beliefs when they conflict with your vision.

First off, to see the world as it really is. The world, one that we've made for ourselves, is absolutely fucked. We drop bombs on each other, kill children in the name of religion, discriminate against the poor and minorities because they're "different," pollute and destroy and despoil to satisfy our own selfish needs; in short, human beings are assholes.

The world is also full of joy and wonder: a fireman running into a burning building to save a complete stranger; a church offering food and shelter to the homeless; a child given encouragement and love from those around her. Human beings are assholes, but they're also self-sacrificing, noble, and filled with boundless love.

The world is full of complexity. This is the truth, and it's a hard one to learn. People can't be defined by labels or categories; one man's hero is another man's villain. We cannot judge people by their own claims, which they shape as they see fit, or their thoughts, which we cannot see; we can judge people only by their actions and by how those actions affect others around them.

The truth is that the world is what we make it. What consequences our actions bring—that is truth. What our society values, not in word or phrase but in law and policy—that is truth. What people are willing to fight for, work for, die for—that is truth. The only truth that is self-evident is that we determine how truthful we want to be with each other.

Right now, the truth is that we value the shallow, the immaterial, the worthless, and the inane. Huge department stores and horse-meat hamburger chains are built on shoveling as much cheap, easily replaceable trash on people as they can, no matter the consequences. (Have another Double McLard Burger to go with your lead-infused milk!) Reality TV, daytime talk shows—they're mindless pap to distract us from actual issues. (But, boy, I'm sure glad Maury found out the fifth man tested was the child's father!) Political races are closer to gladiatorial spectacles than rational discussions of important matters (why think when we can be entertained!).

The truth will always help you win? Hardly likely. No one is interested in the truth anymore, because the truth is harsh, unpalatable, bitter to the tongue and the mind. Give us our soma, our video walls, our bread and circuses to numb the dull ache of ignorance until we don't even realize what it is we've lost. Give us a truth, but not the truth, because to change our beliefs and confront that truth is to admit that we've failed as a country and as a people, grown fat and indolent on the spoils of empire, that we're content to fiddle as it all slowly burns around us, unwilling and unable to recognize that this path has been well trod throughout the course of history. For the truth to win, you have to want to know the truth, and not many people have the appetite.

Perhaps enough people will one day realize the truth—that we have only each other on this planet, that how we treat one another is the only legacy we leave for our children—and will act accordingly. Perhaps one day people will realize that we are a species composed of complex and unique individuals, that our differences don't divide us but instead highlight our wondrous diversity. Perhaps one day people will treat each other the way they want to be treated: with respect, with dignity, with tolerance and compassion. That's the day the truth will win.

Until that day, ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies.

Some People Don't Understand Logic

Emmett C. Burns is a Maryland state delegate who, in August 2012, wrote a letter to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens concerning statements made by Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo in favor of same-sex marriage. The letter from Mr. Burns (n'excellent) to the Ravens demanded the organization inhibit Brendon's right to free speech, which I had a bit of a problem with. In response, I wrote this letter, which originally appeared on Deadspin, because they'll print just about anything (love you guys).

Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,

I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):

1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST, amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should "inhibit such expressions from your employees," more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-bogglingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person's right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.

2. "Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement." Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for "beautiful oppressionism").

3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way, shape, or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you'll start thinking about penis? "Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!" Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children. They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won't even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child-care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA health care for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past two hundred years mean absolutely nothing to you?

In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot-in-mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I'm fairly certain you might need it.

Sincerely, Chris Kluwe

PS: I've also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your "I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing" and shove it in your close-minded, totally-lacking-in-empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.


First off, let me say thank you to all the people who commented on my letter to Emmett C. Burns Jr.

You all give me great hope for the human race—hope that one day we can rise up past the petty differences that divide us and realize we're all in this together. Perhaps our children won't look back on our stewardship with regret.

Second, I heard from quite a few sources (including my dad) that the letter would have been more powerful and would have delivered the message better without the swearing, and that those who would refute the point could seize upon my colorful insults to dismiss the main thrust as little more than childish antics and egotistical displays of temper.


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 degrade 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 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. I won't lie; I use those words also because I personally find them entertaining to write and read (as do a large number of other people), but those who argue that my message means nothing simply because I'm referencing a portion of the male anatomy would never have accepted the message anyway. They would have used other excuses to refute it, like "Oh, he's just a punter," or "What do you know? You just play football," or "No one cares what you think, you fag."

No, my words are meant for those who might be on the fence, those who are initially drawn in due to shock, or laughter, or outrage but then look at what lies beneath, at the truth of the matter. Those people I might reach, might give a quick lightbulb flicker of "Ohhh, so that's what's wrong with that argument." But those who don't look, who don't question, who happily treat the symptoms and not the disease—isn't that the very problem with our politics today? No one is interested in what lies hidden in plain sight beneath what's said, the glossy dung ball of intolerance and hate buffed to a lustrous gleam by rhetoric and catchphrases.

So here is my gift to you. The exact same letter, but without the oh-so-naughty words, which only mean what we allow them to mean. What will your excuse be this time?


Excerpted from Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies by Chris Kluwe. Copyright © 2013 Chris Kluwe. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Chris Kluwe is a punter for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He played college football at UCLA. A musician, gamer, and radio host, he lives with his wife and two children in Minnesota and California.

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Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
asiancakeashley More than 1 year ago
This is often a quite hilarious read. Chris Kluwe manages to be funny, honest and remain true to his convictions. For those who are looking for long, drawn-out chapters, you'll be disappointed as this book is all over the place - but that is what makes it personal. It's like reading journal entries: short, to-the-point, and brutally honest. He tackles hot button issues like gay marriage, guns and more, tending to lean liberal so be forewarned because that could affect the enjoyment you get out of his ramblings. I read it in two sittings, and it is one I will happily read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book by a very smart and clever athlete. I found out about Mr Kluwe from his twitter account and his outspoken opinions for marriage equality. Pick this book up and enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A collection of essays that don't have to be read in any particular order. Definitely read if you appreciate strong opinions clearly presented.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like Chris Kluwe because he is righteously indignant about how we as human beings disregard the feelings of others. I get it. I liked the personal stories better than the rants about the golden rule. This book felt cobbled together at the behest of a publisher to take advantage of the DOMA Supreme Court ruling date. I believe that his next book will be better. Keep writing Mr. Kluwe, keep living the Golden Rule, and thanks for appreciating the fact that as a teacher, I will make in a lifetime what you will make this year.
belqis More than 1 year ago
And in my view, that's the highest compliment. I'm not a football fan, and had never even heard of Chris Kluwe until I read his masterful rant about "Gamergate" online. I immediately bought his book, a collection of essays, and enjoyed every word. LOL funny, insightful, passionate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why was this in football fantic? It has nothin to do with football
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Superstar punter and 4th string quarterback. (Actully 5th string, hes behind the other punter
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I agree with Kluwe on a lot of what he has to say, it's just kind of a pity that so much of it is expressed through high school-level essays. I'll stick to enjoying his work on twitter and at deadspin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lola is awesome and if u disagree ur a loner and we hate ur life jk lol from ur hottie and burrnet lola jk lol okai today we will pick sides for hair. There is the awesome burrnet stupid blondie crazy red head and jet black peeps. Type in ur hair fav go burrnets!!! How to vote: click review and type in ur name or a fake in tittle and say ur team or choice in thks box!luv u all lola da burrnet oh and one more thing another hair team! It is dye like example pink or purple hair basically punk or unaturall hair ps u just write the name nort awesome or stupid just blondie not stupid blondie or just burrnet not awesome.... yayaa okai bai luv ya and plz vote lola
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