While I sometimes call BS on Chuck Klosterman's assertions, he explores topics in ways that are so fascinating, insightful, clever, and downright enteWhile I sometimes call BS on Chuck Klosterman's assertions, he explores topics in ways that are so fascinating, insightful, clever, and downright entertaining that this is still easily a 5-star read for me, despite Klosterman's occasional flawed logic and forced parallels. After finishing Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, I was craving more of him and wanting to find every single published essay of his. I was sold in the first few pages, when he discussed ways in which movie characters set unrealistic expectations for romantic partners--not a novel idea, but the way he drew in references from John Cusack's Lloyd Dobler character, along with Woody Allen films, was hilarious and provided a lot of "aha" moments for me.
In several of the essays, he tackles different forms of "low-brow" entertainment and illustrates ways in which it resonates with people. For instance, how The Sims makes us reflect on our own lives the same way high-regarded art is supposed to; how we become emotionally attached to characters of The Real World, even though they are stereotypes; and how the lyrics of Dixie Chicks and Trisha Yearwood carve meaningful experiences in our minds much more so than other types of musicians. Similarly, he illustrates ways in which reality gets oddly conveyed in entertainment and the great lengths we're willing to do to suspend our disbelief (such as dissecting the "Tori paradox" from Saved by the Bell). He also rants about soccer and provides an amusing essay about the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, arguing that it represents far more than just basketball.
Whether or not I was familiar with the topics he covered, I found Klosterman's humor and writing style so engaging that I wanted to see how he approached everything, including the subject matter that normally doesn't interest me (which to me is the mark of a truly great essayist). His astute observations and his way of drawing together references make me think about the topics in detail long after putting down the book. I will probably annoy my friends in the next couple weeks by making too many references to this book....more