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There are times where I feel out of synch with the cultural zeitgeist of my peers. I tend to feel this most strongly about people and events from when I was young or even slightly before my birth. Part of that is due to the fact that I had almost no real exposure to the outside world until I was at least 8-10 when it comes to pop culture or politics or anything along those lines. For most of my life, you could say that I knew more about what had happened during the civil war than I did what happened during the 60's and 70's. School and book learnin' filled in the former while the later was more or less a blank slate to me. I'm sure a good chunk of that had to do with growing up in an immigrant household. My parents weren't exactly current events people, at least not of this country, and there was almost no exposure to news at home. Pop culture and current events only started to slowly leak in over time as I developed links to the outside world and I don't have much memory or opinion about events and celebrities until around the mid 80's.

I took the time to say that because I think it might explain why I find peoples' responses to the life and now the death of Muhammad Ali so baffling. I didn't grow up hearing stories about his achievements and I'm pretty certain I had no idea who he even was until 1990 when I saw the following on tv.



I never had any interest in boxing so any followup information I had about Muhammad Ali I had came in trickles and drips. What I did hear sounded like the life of a man filled with achievement, but also with pride and arrogance. He seemed like any other strutting, unbearable braggart that you often found in sports were in a battle between talent and ego was barely kept in check. In short, I found very little to like about the guy and I never understood the pass he seemed to get from others. He clearly mellowed in his old age but to this day, I don't understand why you would lionize a man who epitomized arrogance and bad sportsmanship. Maybe people tolerated it and even admired him for it because of his achievements, but that's a terrible lesson to teach. As long as you are skilled enough or strong enough, everyone will overlook the fact that you're acting like a terrible human being.

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