Muhammad Ali: Trickster in the Culture of Irony

Muhammad Ali: Trickster in the Culture of Irony

by Charles Lemert


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Muhammad Ali has a unique place in global history. One of the most extraordinary athletes of all times, Ali is also, as he always was, an inadvertent but powerful figure in world affairs. From the first announcement of his membership in the Nation of Islam, through his courageous refusal to fight in Vietnam, to his spiritual calm in the face of crippling disease, Muhammad Ali’s steady values have inspired others the world over to rethink their racial, political, and spiritual attitudes.

Ali’s life over the years has put irony in a different light. When Muhammad Ali stood against those who criticized him for converting to the Nation of Islam, he told the world “I don’t have to be what you want me to be.” What first appeared as simple defiance was revealed over the years as rock solid conviction – a conviction that allowed him to be and do what he believed in, while also embracing the world in his loving and laughing way.

Charles Lemert writes with grace, perspective, and affection. Muhammad Ali is the first book to unravel the reasons for the enduring respect and reverence that Muhammad Ali commands long after the end of his athletic career.

This text will appeal to those teaching and studying cultural studies, social theory, sports studies, and sociology, as well as to general readers interested in Muhammad Ali.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780745628714
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/15/2003
Series: Celebrities Series
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Charles Lemert is Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University.

Table of Contents

1From the Beginnings: GG is Gonna Whip Everybody1
2Celebrity, Tricks, and Culture: Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee26
3Trickster Queers the World: I Don't Have to Be What You Want Me to Be51
4The Irony of Global Cultures: No Viet Cong Ever Called Me Nigger86
5Coming Home to the Heart of Darkness: When We Were Kings120
6Trickster Bodies and Cultural Death: You'll Die One Day ... So Better Get Ready150
Ali and the World: A Chronology177

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