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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drug and Cocoa Puff-a-rific
Yeah, that title pretty must covers it.
Klosterman's essays are chock full (and I hate to use this term) of Gen-X references to everything we've grown up loving.
Now, these aren't essays ON Saved by the Bell and Pamela Anderson, but rather, he uses cultural icons as a jumping off point for rambling, funny and (uh-oh) thought provoking discussions. Klosterman is...
Published on August 9, 2003 by Amazon Customer

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95 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tasy Cereal....but with an aftertaste
"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...
Published on July 10, 2004 by Westley


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95 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tasy Cereal....but with an aftertaste, July 10, 2004
By 
Westley (Stuck in my head) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (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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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy This Book, May 10, 2010
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This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
Klosterman is constantly making references to conversations he's had at parties, which is appropriate since there seems to be a "Klosterman" at every hipster party I've ever been to... The guy who is funny for the first five minutes you meet him, interesting for the next ten, and then offensively pedantic and self absorbed for the next three hours before you realize you're really either too old or too well adjusted to keep going to these damn hipster parties in the first place.
I only finished this book out of a sense of duty to the 9 dollars and 99 cents I spent to download this adolescent diatribe to my Nook. Klosterman's an intellectual lightweight with a Mohammad Ali sized personality, which is why the ideas in the book are forgettable , but the voice of the author sticks with you like gum on the bottom of your shoe. I felt like I was stuck in a room with Rush Limbaugh, if Rush Limbaugh was a tad funnier and a tad smarter but just as obnoxious, sexist, solipsistic, and frivolous.
Do not buy this book. Go to the book store, skim the essay about The Sims (which, like so many of these essays, already feels dated but, unlike the rest, is actually though-provoking), and move on with your life and your wallet.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good book, December 17, 2009
By 
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This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
This book is terrible. Klosterman starts out with a few pages eluding to the fact that he is so superficially witty that he has been able to fool several attractive women into sleeping with him despite the fact that he apparently isn't attractive. Congrats, buddy. I suppose his goal here was to assure the reader that he is absolutely shallow enough to cash in on this book despite its weak material. I guess, at the very least, that's a trait I can identify with.

Anyway, each chapter in this book contains a fairly self contained essay that is meant to examine a particular aspect of American culture as compared to, affected by, and/or resulting from a particular piece of pop culture. Unfortunately, Klosterman's understanding of most topics (both the deeper social topics he tries to explore and the actual pop culture references) is as superficial as his wit.

Basically, you could break the entire content of this book down into one sentence; stupid people emulate what they see on TV because they are often also shallow and because their lives suck. Add in about two hundred pages of topical references you won't understand unless you're between the ages of 30 - 35 and sentences along the lines of 'I'm not cool but here is what a cool, ironic person would say about this topic, which just happens to be the same opinion I hold, or maybe I don't' and you'll be readily prepared for the content of this book.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Started out TERRIFIC, but I steadily lost interest..., November 19, 2003
By A Customer
Glad this was a collection of essays, rather than a novel. I don't think I would have been able to make it through a novel of this type of writing. Also made it easy to read while on the pot.
The essays start out with brilliance (especially the first two, about romance and The Sims, respectively), but my interest in them fizzled out. There are a few bright points here and there in the remaining essays (the essay about serial killers and our fascination with them is dead on). There is no doubt Klosterman is an adept writer, can pinpoint emotions, and locate intermittently with a witty finger the pulse of certain social issues (like what the hell tribute bands are all about and WHY). But the tone in which he does so is sometimes reminiscent of...how shall I put it? A smart-ass thirty-year-old who thinks he is very clever with his observations, and justifies it by saying he is a Gen X'er and entitled to his lofty superiority. In other words, if you read Klosterman, you're just the type of person he'd look down on.
In trying to deconstruct pop culture, Klosterman sometimes comes across as believing himself an expert about everything American. He also has no qualms about insulting outright the very audience reading his book. Even though he jokes in the beginning that he writes these things late at night in a state of near-delirium, you still get the impression he thinks he is, as he might put it, the "uber-mensch".
Some of the essays are so specialized that I had absolutely no interest in reading them, and skipped right over them as I realized the entire essay was absorbed in deconstructing, say, basketball heroes. So I can't really say I enjoyed the entire book - some of it was unintelligible to me; hence, 3 stars (IMHO).
True, Klosterman has been saturated with pop culture through his research and work with major magazines, but most of his off-the-cuff opinions are just that -- opinions and rantings rather than hard facts supported by any type of references, so keep in mind that you're reading personal essays, rather than research articles.
Perhaps I was tainted, since I had just finished reading half of Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men," and the entire of Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," so one more book illustrating the hopeless stupidity of the human race may have caused me unfair irritation.
Strong essays for the most part, well written, but I lost interest and read them very patchily throughout the last half of the book because the tone grated on my nerves.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An oxymoron for Gen Xers, September 16, 2007
This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
I decided to read this book after considering the many positive reviews along with the accolades of several independent book sellers. I shouldn't have. I'm not going to say this book is bad, but its certainly not anywhere near being good either.

This book is a self-described manifesto, which it is not. It is the inane ramblings of someone who does not suffer from lycantrophy. It is dysfunctional, poorly written, and is essentially about nothing at all. I liken it to a Seinfeld episode, in print form, but without the distraction that comes from actual humor or entertainment value. In hind site, I'm starting to wish Klosterman did suffer from lycantrophy.

If you don't believe me, I will let a Chuck Klosterman quote from the book serve as a one line synopsis:

"Do you not see what I am no longer not saying to you? If so-congratulations!"
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh, July 12, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
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. You can almost see the (cheap, industrial) carpeting and hear the 'k-cchunk' of the vending machine in the background.
This can be fun, but what we all learned in college is that it's important not to take couch-speaker-guy's opinions as seriously as he takes them. That's the case here, too. Klosterman guesses at things when ninety seconds of googling would have given him the facts; he makes assertions and then, rather than backing them up, goes on to further assertions, possibly in hopes that you'll be too busy trying to keep up to start poking holes in his argument; and every now and then, despite his open contempt for people who use words without understanding their meanings, he does this himself (e.g. describing this collection as a 'manifesto').
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drug and Cocoa Puff-a-rific, August 9, 2003
Yeah, that title pretty must covers it.
Klosterman's essays are chock full (and I hate to use this term) of Gen-X references to everything we've grown up loving.
Now, these aren't essays ON Saved by the Bell and Pamela Anderson, but rather, he uses cultural icons as a jumping off point for rambling, funny and (uh-oh) thought provoking discussions. Klosterman is the kind of guy that you would want to hang out with at a party. Look. You're either going to love this book or you're not. You're either to find the tangential, rambling essays endearing and interesting, or simply tangential and rambling.
So what kinds of subjects are you in for? How about the Tori Paradox in which Klosterman deconstructs the idea of Tori on Saved by the Bell? One season, after Tiffany Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley had left for more naked pastures, Tori shows up. And then, just before a graduation special that was to air on NBC, Tori was gone. And Kelly and Jessie were back. Klosterman argues that Saved by the Bell is a lot like life. First people are there, and then they're not - gone. Only to be forgotten and at the most, vaguely remember. Of course, Klosterman explains much better than me.
Just the pure assault of pop-cultural references was enough for me. It's not uncommon for Klosterman to reference such diverse items as the music of Radiohead, Who's the Boss and Trix cereal all in one essay. And I wouldn't be exalting his references if he was just throwing them out. They actually mean something to the people that grew up in the post-Boomer era...
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brutal and self-important, April 29, 2010
By 
B. D. Patterson (Albuquerqu, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
As far as I can tell, there are only two explanations for this book. Either Klosterman was trying to write a satire of what a self-important, but not very intelligent a**hole, would write in a series of essays or Klosterman is a self-important, but not very intelligent a**hole. I'm going w/ the later.

Just a few examples:
- In one of the essays Klosterman argues that soccer will never make it big in America. On this point we agree. His argument based on his failure as a little league baseball coach. Apparently, Klosterman tried to be one of those hyper-intense coaches who tried to work out his own personal daddy issues by trying to turn a team of 9 year olds into a finely tuned baseball machine. Because this didn't work out, and Klosterman might have a problem with women, soccer will never make it big in America. Um, okay.

- Klosterman's discussion of math and probability would embarass a stoned 16 year old with it's facile reasoning.

- Like other writers of his generation, of which I am part, Klosterman has somehow confused an obsession with, and Rainman like recall of, certain pop culture elements (cereal, Saved by the Bell, The Real World)with actual knowledge and understanding. Perhaps one day he will read a book or see a movie created before the 1960s.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nihilistic Rites of Passage, February 14, 2007
This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
I have a 30 yo barely single professional son. He says this book is his Bible - so I read it. What better way to find out who or what this boy worships?

Klosterman is an entertaining writer, serving up a unique critique of post-modern popular culture. Although each essay contains a major theme, over 400 individual entries are in the index - songs, movies, personalities from all entertainment venues, sitcoms, concepts, rock bands, periodicals, organizations, events - even a little religion thrown in for the "Left Behind" crowd.

*Billy Joel is popular because he's so good, he doesn't have to be cool - whereas the usual rock band doesn't have to be exceptional if they are consistently cool.

*Our author got fired from being a Little League baseball coach one high school summer for trying too hard to win. I'm just impressed when a high school kid takes on that kind of responsibility - but you may have to consider an "enhancement factor" for this story.

*excerpts about self-delusion, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy - without the formal terminology, especially in his bit about Woody Allen. He wouldn't be interested in a girl uncool enough to be interested in him.

*tribute to Guns 'N Roses as he travels with a band trying to duplicate their songs and general funk.

*instructions on how to be a conversationalist (he has enough material for three dates only): "First, make an intellectual concession (makes listener comfortable). Next, make a completely incomprehensible but remarkably specific 'cultural accusation' (makes you insightful). Finally, end the dialogue by interjecting slang lexicon that does not necessarily exist (makes you contemporary). Example: When talking about sports: I mean, come on - you just know that Rodney Rogers is sitting in the locker room before every game reading Nietzsche, and he's totally thinking to himself, "If Ron Artest tries to step to me one more time, I'm gonna slap jack his brisket, Philly style."

A pervasive nihilistic attitude runs through this book - the angst of single yuppy-hood, deliciously judgemental, documenting the rites of final passage toward marriage, responsibility, and adulthood. I liked it.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An extremely painful read..., February 4, 2010
This review is from: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
I was excited to read this book, because I was hoping that it would be a critical look at modern society. This book is critical, and it does dissect some modern societal issues, but unfortunately the bad points of the book rule over the good points. I found the author rather labourious, and I really struggled to see the connections between some of the points that he raised. For example, I found the entire chapter on Bill Joel being great, and not cool, extremely painful to read. I must agree with a previous reviewer in that this book reads as though the author had sat down in front of his computer and typed it out to himself, got carried away, didn't have it proofread (a "pigeon" language ?? It's pidgin...), and has never had his opinions debated.
Also, I stay in South Africa and a lot of the stuff I couldn't relate to, because of the cultural references. I've never watched MTV's Real World, and I'm just younger than the Billy Joel generation, so I don't quite grasp the weight of these issues. But also, I think the book would be better if he approached topics in a broader manner. For example, blaming John Cusack and the films he's been in for society's romantic expections, is a bit narrow minded and silly. Shouldn't this be an attack on the entertainment industry, rather than poor John Cusack who is also trying make a buck ?
All in all, I hated this book. I would never recommend it to anyone. It's reminiscent of a tongue-in-cheek, pseudophilosophical/pseudological blogger's ravings that have never been opposed. It's extremely difficult to read, because it's tough to make the connections and remain on the same thought path as the author. The author's extremely arrogant attitude takes a long time to get over. I think you'll find better books out there.
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Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman (Paperback - July 2, 2004)
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