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Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
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Mar 29, 10

Read in December, 2009

As longtime readers of Blog on Books know, we love Chuck Klosterman. After all, who else could completely invert our views of Kiss, Britney Spears, sports heroes and cultural icons the way Klosterman deconstructs then reassembles them in a completely different, yet somehow still (if not more) sensible way?
Yet, in this, his fifth compendium (and sixth book overall) `Eating the Dinosaur' (Scribner), Klosterman has made a fatal mistake and it appears in the very first chapter, no less. Somehow Klosterman has gone from merely self-aware, to somewhat self-obsessed. It's like he suddenly has realized that his prominence (success) has transformed him from the interviewer to the interviewee. This is not a circumstance that the Fargo-cum-New York rock'n'roll gonzoist seems quite able to handle. By questioning how an interview is actually different than a conversation, say, by two buds at a bar, Klosterman appears to have lost it when it comes to the realization that it's all about `product.' (I mean, what was the guy thinking when he conducted all the interviews he's done?) This same attitude was in full effect in his incredibly awkward recent interview with Carson Daly as well.
Once we get a few exits past this just plain weird, road-kill stink opening, Klosterman gets back on track with some reasonably great analyses of Kurt Cobain vs. Waco cult leader David Koresh (did he ever hear Koresh's demo tape, I wonder?), time travel, the NBA's Ralph Simpson, Hitchcock, ABBA, irony, canned laughter and numerous chapters loosely structured around the theme of personal perception (a re-examination of the message of the Unabomber as well as the final cultural dissection of Garth Brooks' Chris Gaines character, being the most memorable ones). Don't get me wrong, Klosterman's POVs are still some of the most mind opening and cutting edge interpretations of modern pop culture. It's just that it would be nice if he relaxed about his newfound position of popularity. In other words, get over your bad self, dude.
In the final analysis, The Chuck is dead, long live the Chuck!
Tim Devine
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