Susie's Reviews > Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota

Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman
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Aug 30, 11

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Recommended for: chuck klosterman

I have little to no knowledge of metal, but I am a music lover; Fargo Rock City has me wishing I were more familiar with Klosterman's array of metal references merely for the sake of comic appreciation. Reading through much of the book, I howled with laughter at his descriptions and my vague memories of the bands connected to them. However, at the same time, his apparent misogyny and sexism ostracizes and offends me as a female reader.

For instance, re: riot grrl music, p 102 "Boys are simply more willing to spend money on rock music than girls are, even when the songs are specifically intended for a female audience"; then later, p. 107 "young females are virtually indifferent [to culture as a whole]") and basically reiterates over and over that female roles in the music world are basically limited to groupies, sex icons and consuming music as fashion and not as listeners, and that critical appreciation of music is limited to the male experience.

He backpeddles by saying he doesn't mean women don't appreciate music, but that's exactly what he's saying. He also says he's "attracted to feminists", so maybe he's trying to piss off any woman with a brain who may pick up this book in the hopes of riling up her feminist reaction and meeting her that way. Patronizing, considering the only types of people to pick up this book are likely people who are interested in music and/or social iconology/cultural analysis, and I doubt I'm the only girl to have done so!

But perhaps this book was intended to be read only by males from rural America who grew up on heavy metal and I've intruded on his boys-only love letter to metal. That's how it reads.

His humor is undeniable, but Klosterman is also overtly and repulsively chauvinistic.

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message 1: by Landon (last edited May 22, 2007 01:55PM) (new) - added it

Landon Oh man! My review is coming up- I am currently reading this and I must say that Klosterman has everything nailed down so far (on the actual music that is)! I am pleasantly surprised and always wondered how readers who never experienced an obsession with metal would react to this book. Your review answered my question! **Update**- As I had just started to read this book yesterday, I haven't quite absorbed the parts that you referenced (very disappointing to hear and I'm starting to realize his issues with women)... obviously, I was praising the actual metal references! Your expanded review actually now makes me more curious and eager to finish. Of course (as you probably know) not all purveyors of metal are like that; all of the metal heads that I knew in high school (along with my present friends who longed for Celtic Frost) were actually the most sensitive and intelligent dudes I have ever met in my life (which at the time never realized how much we were the exception to the chauvinistic stereotype). Anyway, I'm eager to get through it and will have a review soon.

Susie i had an equally intense musical upbringing, but the range of what i was listening to was SO different, so i related to his driving-around-town-with-nowhere-to-go-but-blasting-my-favorite-tape sentiments, but the rest of the descriptions i read as a spectator -- kind of like how i was a spectator and not a participant in metal! but, i was truly distracted by the ways he addresses women in his book -- that guy has issues! honestly, the most boring and unreadable part of the book for me as a non-metal fan was where he talks about the 'jack factor' / his favorite metal records, a part that probably is the epicenter of the book for those who love metal and their nostalgia for it. i'm looking forward to your review, landon!

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