Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto Hardcover – Aug 26 2003
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
This may be a non-sequitur but Chuck's book jacket picture looks like Corey Feldman with blond highlights. (sorry, I just had to get that off my chest) An observation that's less off the wall than Chuck's fresh and crisp writing. He is also clever, funny, twisted, and articulate. His witty essays are full of non-sequiturs but skillfully manages to segue them all in a way that only this sharp Author can.
Chuck's vocabulary is to die for. He drops tongue-twisters such as "iconoclast" like I would use the word "like". I had my dictionary handy for his use of the words "byzantine" and "zeitgeist".
Unless you have been living isolated in a cave for these last 30 years, your feelings and passions will be affected by some if not all of his chapters. Each of these droll chapters are stand alone essay topics that are as various as the different channels on cable TV. I also enjoyed it when he shed light on some secrets of the famous and infamous that were either very juicy or just plain weird. Either way, very interesting.
His wickedly keen observations range from The Sims phenomena (the most detailed and passionate essay I've ever read about a computer game) to why "Sports reporters hate sports". He not only takes you behind the scenes but into the minds of various professionals and personas in an uncannily honest and original voice. Before I read this book, I knew nothing about The Sims. I had no idea why my nephew wanted me to buy him this game for his birthday. Now I think I know too much. I finished the chapter with thoughts of God, existence and materialism swimming in my head. (The chapter began with a topic on a game for kids!Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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