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Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto Hardcover – Aug 26 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (Aug. 26 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743236009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743236003
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #657,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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No woman will ever satisfy me. Read the first page
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3.8 out of 5 stars

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Hattem on July 16 2005
Format: Paperback
The topics covered in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs are entertaining enough, but Klosterman's writing style is what really makes the book sparkle. The writing drips with an oily sheen of sarcasm and puffs itself up with a mixture of self-importance and self-deprecation. Each page is packed with dozens of pop culture references, juxtaposing topics as diverse as The Cosby Show, Bridget Jones' Diary, Lloyd Dobler, and they way Coldplay manufactures fake love the way the Ford corporation manufactures Mustangs all within the space of a paragraph. It's a safe bet that no one is going to catch every cultural curve ball that Klosterman throws, but it's even more likely that every few pages you'll run across some obscure cultural nod that most people would scratch their heads at, and you'll feel a guilty sense of pride for knowing something so insignificantly obscure.
Granted, since this writing style goes on for almost two hundred and fifty pages, it can get a tiny bit grating. Klosterman occasionally comes off as too smug, as if he's trying to justify his hipper-than-thou attitude. The writing can feel a little too glib for some of the subject matter, such as when he explores America's obsession with serial killers. He also throws in a little too much "golly, I'm just a humble grown-up-nerd from Fargo in the crazy world of popular culture" confession. The first few times this attitude surfaces, it helps to establish where Klosterman's is approaching everything from, but eventually we just wish he'd get back to making fun of the over hyped from today's world and praising the obscure facets of our youth that we haven't though about in twenty years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Fitzgerald on Dec 2 2007
Format: Paperback
Mr. Klosterman opens by stating that no woman will ever satisfy him. By the end, he's put down half of America, wants to punch Magic Johnson, slams cover bands plus Kid Rock, and even takes a jab at Jenny McCarthy (but who can blame him on this last point!). Mr. Klosterman is a very angry man; he would say he's honest, I would say he's angry. In his defense, he's a very good writer, who's analytical, has an interesting take on things, and has a creative way of expressing himself. Overall, this is actually a pretty entertaining read that I also found a bit unpleasant due to his vitriol. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
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Format: Paperback
For his second book Sex, Drugs and Cocoa puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, Klosterman put together what is basically a collection of pop-culture based short essays in which he investigates American culture for the most part, and himself. In his first effort, Fargo Rock City the book was more or less linear and felt more united whereas this is a collection of essays that still shows unity to each other because they're all about the same thing essentially, pop culture. I always thought that the way he got through was by demonstrating a point relating it to his personal life, whether he uses the band KISS or MTV's The Real World TV show it works, make us think or laugh to ourselves and comes across as effective. Most of Klosterman's books are at the core of it all, an examination of society through social and cultural events that may or may not be of some relevance to you, yet the author manages to constantly make good points and references. There's just a real honesty about Chuck that makes him sympathetic as an author and that also makes you want to like him as a person which is ultimately his strong point (and his willingness to give readers details about his personal life also helps).

Some of the content may seem a little outdated by now because of changing times but some of the topics he covers are interesting and for the most part, reflective of pop culture or society at that point and that makes it relevant in itself. Personally, I can still relate or remember most of what is the book. Not everyone has played Sims or seen The Real World, but through Chuck's prose we understand them and the way he uses those pop culture references to examine either society, himself, or whoever it is he's talking about is always from an intelligent, well thought angle.
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Format: Paperback
"Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" is an essay collection that draws comparisons between popular culture and important social and interpersonal issues. It also happens to be extremely witty at times. Chuck Klosterman is a writer for Spin magazine, so he clearly knows pop culture and can write quality essays. The best of his work here truly encapsulates life. Who cannot relate to this quote? - "Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less." That profundity, by the way, is from an essay that discusses the merits of "When Harry Met Sally"; another section proffers the genius of Billy Joel. Yes, Klosterman is a bit of a hipster geek.
Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout the book, but sometimes it stretches a bit too much for the sake of a clever analogy. In the forward, Klosterman assserts that, at times, he feels as though "everything is completely connected." Unfortunately, he is not adept enough to make all of his essays into a cohesive whole (as other reviewers have noted). Ultimately, the book feels like a loose collection of unrelated but very funny skits. Although that debit doesn't sink the book, it does lessen its impact. In addition, Klosterman is sometimes too self-aware for his own good; several times, he makes reference to liking something "unironically" - such as "Saved by the Bell." His definitive goal seems to be achieving irony. While this credo certainly makes "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" a funny read, it can become rather tedious as well. Overall, I'd recommend this book, but with reservations.
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