Saturday, June 4, 2016

On Muhammad Ali, Continued

I spent much of the day working on my dissertation. As my subject focuses on the former Yugoslavia, a country that was created and functioned as a series of moral compromises, I realized I had a few more things to say about Muhammad Ali.

In his later years, Ali suggested that maturity had led him to change some of his beliefs, but he didn't mention specifics. We will never know if he ever or to what degree he regretted some of his adventures in the Middle East or the stomach-churning sexism and racism he spouted. He was loud as hell, but he was always performing, and he kept a few things hidden.

I've had many political and personal beliefs that I've expressed loudly through my life. Some of those beliefs were correct. Some of them were terrible. If you are a thinking person and if you speak your mind, the same is true for you. I have actively admitted to some of these past beliefs but not all of them. Ali was just larger than any of us, more brilliant in head and body, and he had a much larger stage to make terrible mistakes.

I don't think it's wrong to discuss anyone's transgressions when they go. Humans inhabit this earth. I neither believe in nor particularly like angels. The worst of Ali made the best of him better.

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