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Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas Paperback – July 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Esquire columnist Klosterman may remind listeners of a slacker holding forth at a tailgate party or over a game of beer pong. Klosterman has imbibed a lot of lowbrow culture in his young career and the tone of his sentences are a blend of jaded and amused, with a voice both nasal and deep. The strongest material in this uneven collection of pop culture essays are his celebrity profiles, in which Klosterman employs an offbeat narrative energy. Unfortunately, there is a jarring effect in these pieces when audio actors stand in for the interviewed celebrities such as Britney Spears, Val Kilmar, Oliver Stone and NBA star Steve Nash. The audiobook concludes with a short story, which Klosterman also narrates. Having listened to the author as himself for almost four hours, it's hard to accept him as the first-person narrator of his own fictional protagonist. In the end, Klosterman IV offers up a casual and relaxed style, but the narration is only as engaging as the material, which unfortunately becomes increasingly ragged as the collection unfolds. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, May 29).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Pop-culture-enthusiast Klosterman anthologizes his previously published rock interviews, opinion pieces, and a short story to create an entertaining albeit head-scratching follow-up to Killing Yourself to Live (2005). Rock fans will appreciate the ironies in Klosterman's interviews as he plays the interloper invited to the party who sits back and makes fun. Caustic throughout while alternating between disclosures oddly unrevealing and quasi sympathetic, Klosterman observes, "Britney Spears is the most famous person I've ever interviewed. She was also the weirdest." Bono picks Klosterman up in an insanely expensive car, then helps injured kids in a hospital only to be taken aback when he plays the new, still unreleased U2 album and the kids sing along--not taken aback in humility but in capitalist questioning of how the album leaked. Contradictions and silliness best exemplify this collection. Klosterman's writing is funny and smart, if not so new or earth shattering, and that, after all, is pop culture. Mark Eleveld
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The Edge was open about his support for John Kerry, but Bono—supremely aware that he will have to work with whomever wins—remained staunchly nonpartisan. “I have forsaken my ability to talk about this issue,” he said, and I find it hilarious that he actually used the word forsaken. For the past twenty-five years, countless people have referred to Bono as “messianic.” Now he actually talks like Jesus.
His McNuggets eating experience is interesting, but his subsequent note contrasting his experiment with Super Size Me is, frankly, what made me a Chuck Klosterman fan for life:
... Early in the documentary, Spurlock poses an important question: he asks us where personal responsibility ends and corporate responsibility begins. Super Size Me never answers that question, but I will. Corporate responsibility begins when corporations start breaking the law, and personal responsibility never stops. Spurlock questions the ethics of offering consumers mammoth 64-ounce beverages and massive portions of fries, because people can’t help themselves. “It’s just human nature to eat what you get, even if you don’t need it or want it,” Spurlock says. Well, whose f---ing fault is that? Why is a restaurant supposed to worry about people who get fat by eating food they supposedly don’t want?
Goth day at Disneyland, the Morrissey cult among LA latinos, the all-girl Led Zep cover band:
Roberta Plant looks a little like Parker Posey; her other band is called Easy, but this band is easier. All she has to do is sing the songs that changed her life. And if men (or women) want to watch her do that simply because she’s a woman, that’s fine; being a woman doesn’t have any impact on why she loves Physical Graffiti and In Through the Out Door. “Actually, the hardest thing is just memorizing the lyrics,” she says. “When I was learning ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ I had to close my eyes and create this entire movie in my head—I had to come up with this entire visual [expletive] thing, just so I could [expletive] remember all six verses of this weird-a-- sh--. I had to look up hedgerow in the dictionary.” Well, so did the rest of us.
I actually liked the reporting, dated as it is, better than the thought experiments, which struck me as one toke over the line. It is worth getting to his thoughts on "guilty pleasures," however:
Drinking more than five glasses of vodka before (or during) work generally qualifies as a guilty pleasure. This is also true for having sex with people you barely know, having sex with people you actively hate, and/or having sex with people you barely know but whom your girlfriend used to live with during college (and will now subsequently hate). These are all guilty pleasures in a technical sense. However, almost no one who uses the term “guilty pleasure” is referring to situations like these; people who use the term “guilty pleasure” in casual conversation are often talking about why they like Patrick Swayze’s Road House. This drives me insane for two reasons: by labeling things like Patrick Swayze as guilty pleasures, it somehow dictates that (a) people should feel bad for liking things they sincerely enjoy, and (b) if these same people were not somehow coerced into watching Road House every time it comes on TBS, they’d just as likely be reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both of these principles are wrong.
Dated or not, this may be, as intended, Chuck Klosterman's Zoso.
The extra piece of fiction at the end of the book is bizarre and a bit experimental, but personally I liked it—some readers may find it strange and out of place, though.
That being said there are some real gems in the collection. Some of my favorites include:
a profile of Birtney Spears ("Bending Spoons with Britney Spears"-possibly the least self-aware celebrity alive), a profile of Val Kilmer ("Crazy Things Seem Normal, Normal Things Seem Crazy" -possibly the most self-aware celebrity around), a Johnny Carson obituary ("Here's `Johnny'"-the collapse of the common pop culture), a mediation on your nemesis and archenemy ("Nemesis"), the pop culture concept of Advancement, which I still don't quite grasp ("Advancement"), the problems of rooting for your country in the Olympics ("I Do Not Hate the Olympics"), fashion ("Three Stories Involving Pants," pop opinion vs. your opinion ("Cultural Betrayal"), the problem of monogamy ("Monogamy"), the significance of reality TV ("4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42).
All in all, it is extremely entertaining, thought provoking, but not too taxing. I guess that's the definition of a perfect summer read.