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Nihilistic Rites of Passage
on February 14, 2007
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.