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There's a lot more cold cereal than sex or drugs in Klosterman's nostalgic, patchy collection of pop cultural essays, which, despite sparks of brilliance, fails to cohere. Having graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1994, Klosterman (Fargo Rock City) seems never to have left that time or place behind. He is an ironically self-aware, trivia-theorizing, unreconstructed slacker: "I'm a `Gen Xer,' okay? And I buy shit marketed to `Gen Xers.' And I use air quotes when I talk.... Get over it." The essay topics speak for themselves: the Sims, The Real World, Say Anything, Pamela Anderson, Billy Joel, the Lakers/Celtics rivalry, etc. The closest Klosterman gets to the 21st century is Internet porn and the Dixie Chicks. This is a shame, because he's is a skilled prose stylist with a witty, twisted brain, a photo-perfect memory for entertainment trivia and has real chops as a memoirist. The book's best moments arrive when he eschews argumentation for personal history. In "George Will vs. Nick Hornby," a tired screed against soccer suddenly comes to life when Klosterman tells the story of how he was fired from his high school summer job as a Little League baseball coach. The mothers wanted their sons to have equal playing time; Klosterman wanted "a run-manufacturing offensive philosophy modeled after Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals." In a chapter on relationships, Klosterman semi-jokes that he only has "three and a half dates worth of material." Remove all the dated pop culture analyses, and Klosterman's book has enough material for about half a really great memoir.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In Fargo Rock City (2001), Klosterman parsed the midwestern heavy-metal scene. Now he broadens his scope to include the cultural implications of subjects as diverse as the Dixie Chicks, Internet porn, and soccer ("'the sport of the future' since 1977"). Fargo Rock City fans may blanch at chapter headings invoking the likes of George Will and Lisa Loeb, but never fear. "George Will vs. Nick Hornby: Ralph Nader Interlude" isn't about Will's wordy conservative philosophy but about Klosterman's tenure coaching a kids' soccer team, among other things. And it's the other things that account for Klosterman's appeal as he makes unexpected connections. Inspired by an early '80s NBA rivalry, he opines that "everyone who truly cares about basketball subconsciously knows that Celtics vs. Lakers reflects every fabric of male existence, just as everyone who loves rock 'n' roll knows that the difference between the Beatles and the Stones is not so much a dispute over music as it is a way to describe your own self-identity." Well, of course. Mike Tribby
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I highly recommend this book as required reading on pop culture. Chuck Klosterman is an amazing writer and the book is absolutely hilarious!Published on June 16 2012 by HShea
This book is awful. Its an uninteresting, uninspired man's reflections on the state of modern culture cast through his obsession with reality t.v. and 'the sims'. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2012 by CTanner
This book is crap.
This guy writes about every thing like he is an expert, but he is just a dork.
He has bad idea, that he talks about like it is truth. Read more
well this book was pretty good, but a lot of the time i had some trouble relating to it because i'm a gen y-er not x, so i didn't grow up with those cultural refrences i guess. Read morePublished on June 20 2007 by elfdart
It is rare that a book actually makes me laugh out loud. This one did. Intelligent, interesting and downright funny, this book is an important part of my collection.Published on Dec 29 2005 by Emily
It was impossible to read these essays and not imagine that they were typed as spouted, realtime, by a smart, overcaffeinated english major sitting on a couch in a dormitory. Read morePublished on July 12 2004
"Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" is an essay collection that draws comparisons between popular culture and important social and interpersonal issues. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Westley
Klosterman's collection of essays never failed to be anything less than humorous, insightful, and thought-provoking. Read morePublished on June 30 2004
Chuck Klosterman has obviously read plenty of Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis. He seems to be trying to write the next BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY. Read morePublished on May 24 2004