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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Klassik Klosterman
My take on Klosterman is this: if you absolutely must get a pop culture fix by reading about inane movie stars or overrated bands, you might as well read someone who is smart and funny about them, and that person is Klosterman. Although not a metal fan, I loved Fargo Rock City, and found his essays in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs exceedingly funny. Killing Yourself To Live...
Published on January 20, 2007 by A. Ross

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative insights
Klosterman's work reflects creativity and interesting insights into American culture. His major frame of reference is modern-pop music. Interesting read with fascinating "what if" scenarios. Good basis for discussion with friends. Worth the quick read.
Published on April 27, 2008 by Howard E. Borck


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Klassik Klosterman, January 20, 2007
My take on Klosterman is this: if you absolutely must get a pop culture fix by reading about inane movie stars or overrated bands, you might as well read someone who is smart and funny about them, and that person is Klosterman. Although not a metal fan, I loved Fargo Rock City, and found his essays in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs exceedingly funny. Killing Yourself To Live didn't work as well for me, and I was glad to get another dose of his shorter works here ( all of which were previous published). The book (whose title is a reference/homage to albums by both Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath) is divided into three parts.

"Things That Are True" contains about twenty profiles and pieces of reportage. Included are the best Britney Spears profile ever ("Britney Spears is the most famous person I've ever interviewed. She is also the weirdest. I assume this is not a coincidence."), a very good U2 piece ("U2 is the most self-aware rock band in history. This generally works to their advantage."), and solid profiles of musicians The White Stripes, Radiohead, The Streets, Billy Joel, Jeff Tweedy, and metal tribute bands. There are also profiles of actor Val Kilmer, basketball superstar Steve Nash, a Q&A with Robert Plant, experiential pieces on Latino Morissey fanatics, the unofficial "Goth Day" at Disneyland, Akron-area clairvoyants, and a "Rock Cruise" (featuring Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Journey), and contrarian review essays on the documentaries "Super Size Me" and "Some Kind of Monster."

The somewhat briefer "Things That Might Be True" section contains about fifteen more personal opinion pieces written in recent years for Esquire (these are available at Esquire.com) and Spin magazines. Topics include how to recognize your personal nemesis and archenemy, the Olympics, guilty pleasures, monogamy, the ten most accurately rated artists in rock history, pirate vogue, robots, genetics, watching VH1 for 24 hours, etc. The final section, "Something That Isn't True At All," is a 35-page "not-so-loosely autobiographical" short story written back in 1999.

The style throughout is pure Klosterman, although there is a certain sympathy or quasi-compassion in some of the pieces that plays a nice counterbalance to his natural snarkiness. One rather refreshing element is the newly written introductions to each item in the first section. These provide an interesting context and are a peek into how a magazine writer might come to regret elements of their work. The pieces in the second section are introduced by the kind of pithy hypotheticals he unveiled in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Ultimately, the best way to read the book is leave it lying around the house and anytime you're tempted to pick up Entertainment Weekly or US or flip on MTV, pick it up and read something far funnier, smarter, and more insightful. Sure, it's just pop culture, but that doesn't mean it has to be idiotic.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chuck's Common-Sense Is In Short Supply In the Culture, October 4, 2006
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The title of "Chuck Klosterman IV" hearkens back to Led Zeppelin's classic untitled, "Stairway to Heaven" album. It's typical of Chuck's approach, which is to examine our significant pop culture landmarks with ironic, self-deprecating wit. This book collects some of the highlights of Klosterman's journalism over the past decade. He has been hailed as the successor to Hunter Thompson, but I think he has a quality that Thompson lacked (as much as I admired the work of the Good Doctor). That quality is American common-sense, in abundance. Klosterman's method is to examine pop culture with the close reading usually reserved for so-called "high culture." And then he takes the contrarian view, which can yield some surprising insights. A lot of these icons have been only worshipped their whole careers, so the combination of Klosterman's ruthless scrutiny and heartland human sympathy produces strange and wonderful new wisdom.

I mentioned Klosterman's compassion because it's an attribute not normally associated with critics. But it gives us a more rounded portrait of his subjects, which this time include Wilco, Robert Plant, Metallica, U2, the White Stripes, and Britney Spears, to name just a small sample. He can see clearly and unsparingly while taking into account unavoidable human frailties. This got him into trouble with his infamous profile of Billy Joel (included here), which was meant by Chuck to be a celebration of his career, but was interpreted by Joel and other as a too-candid, embarassing look at an artist's mid-life crisis.

My favorite essay in this book is "Cultural Betrayal", which should be recognized as a brilliant analysis of the current culture wars in America. His great central insight: in a democracy "don't get pissed off over the fact that the way you feel about culture isn't some kind of universal consensus. Because if you do, you will end up feeling betrayed. And it will be your own fault. You will feel bad, and you will deserve it." If everyone would take this advice, the bitterness of our national culture arguements would be considerably lessened and we could actually begin to talk to each other again. Klosterman's essays about snobbishly reviled pop culture actually have a distant echo of similar essays by the patron saint of common-sense, George Orwell. It's not an entirely ridiculous comparison, if you will actually take the time to read this witty, insightful collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of pop culture tidbits...., September 8, 2006
By 
secoulte (Lake Tahoe, CA) - See all my reviews
If you like S,D&CP, you will love this too. There are always parts where I find the things Klosterman is writing about is picked directly from my life growing up on the tailend of Generation X.

You either like this type of writing or you don't. Klosterman's work typically applies to a very specific segment of the population, but to that segment his writing really connects.

I especially enjoyed the essay on identifying your Nemesis and your Archenemy, and the differences between the two, for I too have a Nemesis - and yes we are friends, yes we sit down and have a drink together every so often, and yes we have both punched each other in the face at one point or another in anger.

If you want to read a book where you find yourself laughing out loud while reading it on the subway, pick it up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative insights, April 27, 2008
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This review is from: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Paperback)
Klosterman's work reflects creativity and interesting insights into American culture. His major frame of reference is modern-pop music. Interesting read with fascinating "what if" scenarios. Good basis for discussion with friends. Worth the quick read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fanastic, competes with SD&CP, September 5, 2006
Great book, i preordered it and got it one week before it was released. And finished it the day it was.

I have read all of Klosterman's other books and i really didn't think he (or anyone else, for that matter) could write anything more entertaining than Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs. And my first impression of Chuck Klosterman IV is that it is just that. The first part is a great collection of essays/articles with new (self-critisizing) introductions. The second is a collection of mostly articles from Esquire with hypothetical introductions that remind me of the SD&CP segways. And the final section, a fictional story slighty resembling his life.

Overall, i think it's a great read. Especially if you have read his other books (as he does make refrence to them) and are already familiar with his style of writing (the footnotes are running rampant, as usual)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most enjoyable collections I've ever read., January 21, 2008
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This review is from: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Paperback)
If you're familiar with Klosterman, then you probably don't need these review. If you're not, then I highly recommend that you start familiarizing yourself with either this book, or his "Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs." Both are quick, smart, and humourous books.

Chuck's a talented writer. "IV' is his latest work. I'm eager for my next installment of Klosterman.

If you're into pop culture and taking something pointless and moronic and emphasising its importance and influence on our lives (the essay from "Sex..." concerning "Saved by the Bell" comes to mind) then I hihgly recommend Chuck Klosterman. This might be his best yet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the NEWBIES, August 21, 2007
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This review is from: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Paperback)
If you are just getting into Chuck Klosterman's writing, this is the book for you. I was given his previous book, SEX, DRUGS and COCOA PUFFS by a friend and found it to be one of the most entertaining and interesting books I had read in a long time. His insight into pop culture and his take on what is all means is fun and sometimes thought-provoking. I hadn't read any of his previous work, so this anthology of his previous work was a great way for me to catch up. I have since read KILLING YOURSELF, and am about to start FARGO. Enjoy!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Entertaining Reading, December 27, 2007
By 
Sor_Fingers (Boulder, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Paperback)
Chuck Klosterman's "IV" is a great book for those of us who love his writing but don't feel the need to subscribe to Esquire and the dozen or so other periodical publications Klosterman periodically writes in. This book is really just a kitchen sink book. He's piled a bunch of the articles that he's written over the past 10 years or so and has put them in this wonderful entertaining collection. The book is in three parts: (1) "Things That Are True" (a conglomeration of entertaining profile stories focusing on everything from Wilco to Morissey) (2) "Things That Might Be True" (columns and editorial articles telling about Advancement theories and the ideological differences between "Lost" and "Survivor") and (3) "Something That Isn't True At All" (a short work of fiction about a guy from Fargo who moves to Akron to be the newspaper film critic who smokes a lot of PCP. Klosterman categorizes this not as "fiction" but "reverse creativity.") The profiles are merely entertaining and shed a lot of light on how dumb or intelligent some of our favorite or most despised celebrities and musicians are. The columns are just as interesting and thought-provoking as the hypothetical questions that Klosterman uses as introductions for these columns. The hypotheticals have the same flavor of his 23 questions he poses in the middle of Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs which was personally, my favorite part of that book. These editorials are really what make this collection great as they give you something a little more substantial to contemplate than whether or not "When Harry Met Sally" is really screwing over the way that our society views relationships. Klosterman's fiction is downright awesome. It's comparable to Dave Eggers on, well angel dust. This is a great collection. Long time Klosterman devotees (or Esquire subscribers) will probably have already read half of the material in this book, but it's a great collection to own, so you can finally go recycle the dozens of issues of Esquire that have been sitting in a box in your basement for the last ten years. On the otherhand, if you're just getting into Klosterman's writing, this collection is a great place to play catch-up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Voice of Flexible thought, April 26, 2012
This review is from: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Paperback)
I didn't know too much of what to expect when I picked this tome up. I read Esquire, but rarely pay much attention to the columnists by-lines. I haven't read too much of Spin Magazine, both of whom Mr. Klosterman wrote for.

This is a collection of his columns, from these magazines, as well as from his short stint at the Akron, Ohio daily newspaper.

I do not have much of a feel for the 90's and 2000's music scene, so I admit feeling a little in the dark, while reading of his take on the bands from this era, but much of the rest of writing made me laugh, and marvel over the parallels he can draw in situations, and his right-on takes on our culture.

He would often frame a column by giving the reader a moral or lifestyle hypothetical choice, such as, "your company you work for gets bought by new owners. They immediately give everyone a 5% raise, better medical benefits, and four more holidays a year. But they require men wear tuxedos with top-hats (paid for with a clothing expense) every day to work, with a dress down Friday consisting of a cream puff white double breasted three piece suit." do you accept this job?

Wow! Then his column parallels in real life this conundrum.

It makes for fascinating, mind opening reading and thought.

He delves into politics, music, and social issues.

I have to say that once I got through some of the music reviews of bands I new little about, I couldn't put it down. I will be dialing up more of his writing quickly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me care about Billy Joel, March 10, 2008
By 
spitgrrl (libraryland, indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (Paperback)
Contains previously published interviews and essays on personalities and topics as disparate as Britney Spears, Radiohead and the phenomenon of Latino Morrissey fans. Generally speaking, this is a pretty fun read. Klosterman's Advancement Theory is one of the most brilliant hypotheses I've ever encountered and it almost makes sense....kind of. At times, though, his analysis of social issues makes him sound a bit condescending and he has a tendency to over simplify issues (such as his take on international political dynamics). Fortunately, there's more than enough mirth and playful self-deprecation to make up for these slight lapses.
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Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas
Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman (Paperback - July 3, 2007)
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