69 million page views

a weak jab at ali

Reader comment on item: Muhammad Ali's "Beautiful Soul"

Submitted by John Allen (United States), Dec 20, 2005 at 02:04

To have written something so filled with nostalgia gone sour and bitterness against a flawed but unbelievably accomplished man bespeaks, at least to this humble reader, of jealousy on the part of Mr. Pipes. ... A lot of people hate Ali now, as deconstructing-the-mighty is a hobby that many armchair intellectuals have taken up with the greatest zeal. Our age is so bloodless and without originality that great figures of old must be smashed, because meaning itself cannot exist. Hence Pipes' eagerness to expose Ali as the human being he was.

I find that it amusing that awarding Ali would be the "nadir" of Bush's Presidency--he's such a disgrace to this nation that I find myself disappointed in Ali for accepting anything from him. It has to be a combination of the Parkinson's and his desire to still be adored by the public. Maybe waging a senseless butchery in Iraq and sending young men to die for no reason should qualify as his chief flaw? What about the people HE'S deserting, Daniel?

We would not remember Muhammad Ali the same way if he hadn't done the right thing at the right time, that is, to blatantly reject the induction to fight in Vietnam. He didn't desert anyone: he stood with the people who mattered. His sexual escapades are no more relevant to his status as the Greatest Boxer Who Ever Lived then what color shoe he wore each day. Was his denigration of Joe Frazier right? No, but this was part of Ali's fight strategy; defeat the opponent on cerebral ground and then defeat him physically. Frazier was an unremarkable figure in any way save for his courage and willingess to take on opponents who no one else would. He was out-manned by Ali in the public's eyes and toe to toe. (Oh, and as a little footnote, Joe Frazier was arrested for beating up his wife a year ago. And Ali-haters still wonder who the better man is?)

The misogyny Ali voiced is regrettable, but let's keep in mind that he was a young man who had gained fame very quickly (and rightly so as an extraordinary athlete). He was brash and bold, unfortunately some of his boldness went too far. He was a racist because he'd grown up in a racist country and was pissed about it; HE HAS CHANGED HIS VIEWS. Floyd Patterson and Ernie Terrell deliberately antagonized him by calling him Clay, a name he had renounced when he joined Islan, which it was his perfect right to do. If you were Christian and someone constantly called you a Jesus Freak, you'd get mad yourself.

Your information about this comments concerning Joe Louis and the rest of them is simply wrong. Ali said on a number of occasions that only played at being "The Greatest" and Joe Louis really was. Many of these people are his friends now. It was his perfect right to distance himself from Malcolm X if he felt the need to;what's your point? You attack his "racism" and then fault him for backing off from Malcolm X? Hmm.

I'd rather spend two hours talking with Ali about his boxing techniques and life than five minutes with George W. Bush.
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to a weak jab at ali by John Allen

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)