LGBT equality advocate and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe photographed by David Bowman for Out magazine.
"Your insults can’t be the standard fuck, shit, bitch -- it has to be something that sticks in people’s minds,” says Chris Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings punter, explaining how to craft a devastating letter to someone whose views you hold reprehensible. “Generally the way you do that is to take a swear word—usually a part of someone’s anatomy -- and attach it to something else that it normally wouldn’t go with. When you come up with a good one, you’ll know you have it because you’ll just start giggling to yourself.”
For example, “lustful cockmonster.”
On September 7, you could sense the howls of laughter reverberating across the Internet after Kluwe’s excoriating letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. was published on the sports fansite Deadspin and quickly went viral. A week earlier, in a letter brimming with self-importance, Burns had told the Baltimore Ravens to “order” linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo to cease advocating for same-sex marriage. Kluwe’s response was a master class in how to take down a pompous and wrong-headed ass.
“I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government,” Kluwe’s letter started, reasonably enough. “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.” Kluwe then went on to dismantle Burns’s position, point by point, culminating in a crescendo of wit and impishness -- and that now-fabled coinage. It’s worth running the penultimate paragraph in full, if only because it does such a good job of clarifying the issues:
“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 healthcare 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 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?”
Oh, he also called Burns a “narcissistic fromunda stain” -- which is just showing off.
With all the attention on Kluwe’s letter, it’s easy to forget that he was, in turn, inspired by another football player, the Ravens’s Ayanbadejo, busy fighting his own corner in Baltimore. In November, voters in both Minnesota and Maryland will be faced with marriage-equality ballot initiatives, so the high-profile stance of Kluwe and Ayanbadejo could have real and profound consequences. The positions of both men not only reflect how quickly opinion is shifting, but also spotlight the need to check our own preconceptions of the sports world as inherently intolerant and homophobic.
“I’ve always relished breaking that stereotype of the dumb jock athlete because while I enjoyed athletics growing up, I also enjoyed reading and video games, and athletic sport is not what defines me as a person,” says Kluwe. “I think as more and more generations start rising through the NFL, a lot of these kids see that it’s OK to be something other than an athlete.”Read the whole article at Out.