Classic or Dud: Chuck Klosterman

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dear chuck klosterman: i knew ralph wiley. i loved ralph wiley. you my friend are no ralph wiley. should we ever meet i will destroy you. best regards, james blount

cinniblount (James Blount), Tuesday, 17 August 2004 17:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

Kloserman's primary calling card is that he has a fairly distinct writing voice, and that his choice of topics is often clever. That his content is fairly vacuous doesn't seem to bother quite a few esteemed editors.

don carville weiner, Tuesday, 17 August 2004 17:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

Another reason to hate:

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 August 2004 17:08 (9 years ago) Permalink

What does that mean?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 17 August 2004 18:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

Click on Yanc3y's link.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 August 2004 18:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

No, I know. You have something against Bill Simmons?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 17 August 2004 18:51 (9 years ago) Permalink

I have something against that graphic in general!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 August 2004 18:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

10 months pass...
I bought Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs the other day but I lost it in my car, and am deciding if I should read it.

I bought it after reading an excerpt on The Real World that I loved, but in this thread a lot of people who's opinions I trust are really going to town with the Klosterman hate and I'm wondering if I shouldn't even waste my time with it.

Though this line of thinking:

I suppose my problem is that not only can't I understand why anyone would waste their time watching Saved by the Bell, I feel a degree of contempt for the way it seems Klosterman is determined to make this into a badge of honor.
Probably also I do this sort of thing myself, and it seem there's a pretty strong element of defensiveness in his stance; criticism is instantaneously diverted because he already KNOWS it's "low culture."

-- daria g (daria_gra...), August 28th, 2003.

does not appeal to me at all.

David Allen (David Allen), Sunday, 10 July 2005 15:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

I bought Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs the other day but I lost it in my car

How large is your car?

joseph cotten (joseph cotten), Sunday, 10 July 2005 15:27 (8 years ago) Permalink

my 15 year old nephew, a recent convert to ROCK, was reading CK's latest tome at the beach last week. didn't have the heart to rip the book from his hands and set him on a higher path to knowledge. kids have to make their own mistakes, etc. but oh boy I was bummed out.

m coleman (lovebug starski), Sunday, 10 July 2005 15:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

I like him, in that I think he's funny and clever, and that's good enough for me. The smugness doesn't bother me, nor the fact that he doesn't address legitimate aesthetic issues in his reviews, nor that his ego may be out of control, nor that he gets paid too much for what he does. Not even that he kind of likes alot of bad music. He's a skillful humorist, and a semi-insightful thinker. He's no Derogatis, that's for sure. But if hes still going on the frequent solo drinking binges he mentions so casually in Fargo Rock City, he may end up as over-rated as Lester Bangs.
Though would it be rockist of me to say he was better before he got popular?

Mike Dixn (Mike Dixon), Sunday, 10 July 2005 15:45 (8 years ago) Permalink

for some reason i read sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs. at the time, i thought, eh, it's ok i guess. but now, looking back on it, i think it was awful! i don't even remember what it was about.

caitlin oh no (caitxa1), Sunday, 10 July 2005 16:06 (8 years ago) Permalink

He is often full of shit, but Klosterman can be a very entertaining writer. I really enjoyed his last book.

-- latebloomer (posercore24...), March 11th, 2004.

I STAND BY THAT STATEMENT.

latebloomer: the Clonus Horror (latebloomer), Sunday, 10 July 2005 16:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

GODDDAMN I NEED TO LEAVE THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON AL0NE

latebloomer: the Clonus Horror (latebloomer), Sunday, 10 July 2005 16:30 (8 years ago) Permalink

No one has ever written something so brilliant, so concise, so insightful, and so charming all at the same time.

hstencil (hstencil), Sunday, 10 July 2005 20:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

Not even Jack Handey?

miccio (miccio), Sunday, 10 July 2005 20:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

If you replace "Saved by the Bell" with comic books and references to hair metal with "Star Wars," Klosterman morphs into Kevin Smith.

I read a chapter or so of his new book at the bookstore, I think it's a lot better than his previous efforts. Other than that, I stand by about everything I've said.

mike h. (mike h.), Sunday, 10 July 2005 21:08 (8 years ago) Permalink

awww,c'mon!
he's alright...i mean, he's not turning anyone's world on ear, but he's entertaining enough, well, to me.

i'll readily (and i'm sure he will too) admit he's no master writer, and i think that's 1/2 his appeal is to say up front- i'm not very good at this, but i'll try. and it works, for the most part.

i don't get all 'teh h@t3' on him...

now, if someone can tell me where Mark Leyner is, i'd be much appreciative.

eedd, Sunday, 10 July 2005 21:13 (8 years ago) Permalink

"and i think that's 1/2 his appeal is to say up front- i'm not very good at this"

yikes! you really think so? or that he thinks this? i never got that from him. i only read his esquire column (or is it gq?), but i never got that vibe. he knows how to write for one thing. he has journalistic skills up the wazoo. i actually liked his val kilmer piece in the last gq (or was it esquire?) i could never write that kinda thing in a million years.

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 10 July 2005 21:19 (8 years ago) Permalink

i guess i just don't like his half-baked sociological "insights". and some of his stunted notions about music. which i probably noted on this thread. and i'll stand by it!

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 10 July 2005 21:22 (8 years ago) Permalink

i dunno, all that i've read from the man seems to go with that notion of 'i'm not that good'. but, maybe i'm reading it wrong in me noggin.
not impossible, i assure you.

i think he CAN write but, like scott said, gets bogged down in the 'insights' category. but, said 'insights' can be pretty funny, too!

i guess my thing is i don't get why so many dislike him SO much.
hell, i'm shocked that this many people even cared he writes!

boy, that eggers boy can write!!

eedd, Sunday, 10 July 2005 21:36 (8 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...
did we ever learn how big that guy's car was?

hank (hank s), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 19:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

That slate piece they link to is really stupid.

deej.. (deej..), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 19:55 (7 years ago) Permalink

i was just going to post this - lol "voice of his generation"

timmy tannin (pompous), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 19:57 (7 years ago) Permalink

I also learned from that CNN splash page that Gwen Stefani is a doll (duh) and that Emilio Estevez is engaged (huzzah!...now there's a voice of a generation)...

hank (hank s), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 20:17 (7 years ago) Permalink

The spare Manhattan space, highlighted by a big screen TV tuned to ESPN Classic and a large, framed poster of Radiohead's "Kid A,"

i rest my case against both klosterman and kid a. (i'll let espn classic slide.)

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 20:24 (7 years ago) Permalink

Huh, I totally thought he was older than that.

Sundar (sundar), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:14 (7 years ago) Permalink

The trick is that Klosterman's not a critic, and never really was one. He's a popular columnist and a decent features guy. He is basically the Richard Roeper of ten years from now. And the endpoint of his project really does seem to be an arts-page column for a major newspaper through his late 40s and early 50s. This is okay.

It's just that he's gotten there by -- at first -- playing a sort of critic, the culture critic for people who aren't super-engaged with culture or criticism. (That is populist, I guess; it's how Roepers are born.) And he has a lock on a core audience, and a lucrative one -- guys who read Maxim at their friends' houses but Details at home, these sort of regular-guy young professionals who watch sports and enjoy New Pornographers and are shopping for good plasma-screen TVs because they're buying condos with their girlfriends, and they play video games and genuinely like to think about stuff (just not all the time) and spend lots of time on Metacritic and ESPN.com and buy lots and lots of DVDs and liked The Matrix because of its "interesting philosophical underpinnings." The more highbrow among them will see Klosterman as a regular dude, like them; the less highbrow among them will see him as a kind of intellectual type, but palatable and down to earth about it.

And he serves that audience decently -- his big forte isn't being "clever" so much as being conversational and engaging and digestible. (He's also really good at magazine features, just in terms of craft -- entertaining, readable, vivid, etc.) But of course this means that those of us who pay attention to culture in what we think of as "serious" ways will have to be slightly offended by him, this guy who's taking fairly uninteresting culture-views and packaging them for people who aren't necessarily in our circle. It's hard to complain, though, especially as he travels away from being seen as any sort of "critic" and becomes basically just a columnist, which is the honest vision of what he's up to.

Seriously, though: the Roeper of ten years from now, basically.

nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:22 (7 years ago) Permalink

Ha, the "Kevin Smith of music" thing upthread is pretty spot-on, too, concerning cultural sensibilities and all -- this is why I'm glad he's kind of dropped the "of music" and just become a chin-scratchy pop-culture funny-column guy.

nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:26 (7 years ago) Permalink

Oh great. So the next Andy Rooney in twenty years.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:31 (7 years ago) Permalink

he serves that audience decently -- his big forte isn't being "clever" so much as being conversational and engaging and digestible.

that's the most sympathetic take on him that i can basically agree with. sometimes i feel bad for how much he irritates me because i sort of think he's probably not a bad guy. and you're right about his audience -- which is still a niche audience, but it's a lot bigger niche than someone like, say, kogan or your-favorite-critic-here appeals to. i have met klosterman fans, the kind of people who would stand in line for 40 minutes at a booksigning for him, and they're totally fine. i tell them i can't stand klosterman and they just kind of laugh, they don't get mad about it or anything. which just makes me feel worse for badmouthing him.

as a member of his generation, though, i would like to file a complaint with cnn.

xpost: his 'snakes on a plane' column made him sound like the andy rooney of this year.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:32 (7 years ago) Permalink

every country needs its own lex

gear (gear), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:34 (7 years ago) Permalink

!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:37 (7 years ago) Permalink

"My view has always been there are lots of people in America that want to think critically about the art that engages their life," he says. "Now, there are places that definitely do that, like the New Yorker, NPR, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's.

"The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records. They haven't seen the films that are supposed to be important."

Or perhaps the problem is that Klosterman, a man who claims to be a writer about culture, has obviously never actually read the New Yorker or listened to NPR?

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:46 (7 years ago) Permalink

Or perhaps the problem is this:

The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.
The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.
The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.
The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.
The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.
The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.
The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records.

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:47 (7 years ago) Permalink

Uh, oh wait, I think I might be getting confused by Klosterman's ambiguous syntax there. Who's "they" - NPR and The New Yorker, or "society"?

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:48 (7 years ago) Permalink

No Ira, no credibility.

Marmot (marmotwolof), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:51 (7 years ago) Permalink

I'm guessing that he means most people ("society") haven't listened to Yo La Tengo and would rather read criticism of music they actually listen to instead of indie bands that NPR etc deem important. The grammar's shaky.

Sundar (sundar), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:53 (7 years ago) Permalink

Is the Saved By the Bell essay online somewhere? I'm curious because I found that show totally worthless as a kid and was baffled by its popularity.

Sundar (sundar), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 21:59 (7 years ago) Permalink

On Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns point guard, he writes: "Nash plays basketball in a deftly metaphoric manner."

"He's a small white man in a world of tall black men. He has no choice but to run around in circles trying to not get pounded. That's the only way he can possibly survive out there. He represents white, middle-class America being introduced to the dangers of the ghetto kids; you have no other choice but to run away from them. Now don't even get me started on why Ichiro represents the overachieving Asian kid in math class!"

Cunga (Cunga), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:01 (7 years ago) Permalink

The Saved by the Bell thing is part of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, if I remember correctly.

darin (darin), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:02 (7 years ago) Permalink

Ha, I would like to read the Saved by the Bell thing.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:03 (7 years ago) Permalink

"He's a small white man in a world of tall black men. He has no choice but to run around in circles trying to not get pounded. That's the only way he can possibly survive out there. He represents white, middle-class America being introduced to the dangers of the ghetto kids; you have no other choice but to run away from them. Now don't even get me started on why Ichiro represents the overachieving Asian kid in math class!"

this paragraph is fucking gross.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:06 (7 years ago) Permalink

"My view has always been there are lots of people in America that want to think critically about the art that engages their life," he says. "Now, there are places that definitely do that, like the New Yorker, NPR, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's.

"The problem is that a lot of the subjects those publications cover, a lot of society has no relationship to. They've never listened to Yo La Tengo records. They haven't seen the films that are supposed to be important."

isn't this basically Chuck Eddy's schtick? To engage middle-American culture head-on and take it seriously (no matter how fucking trite or offensive or downright bad it is?)

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:08 (7 years ago) Permalink

Wait, that was parody not a real quote, right?

Re SBTB: I didn't even think the cast was attractive! And I was 14!

xpost

Sundar (sundar), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:10 (7 years ago) Permalink

poor yo la tengo ; (

gear (gear), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:12 (7 years ago) Permalink

Re SBTB: I didn't even think the cast was attractive! And I was 14!

Dude, Kelly was hot and I copped my first drum beat from A.C. Slater.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:14 (7 years ago) Permalink

that nash thing is not a real ck graf though, right? i think it's cunga parodying him. don't indict him for crimes uncommitted.

and yeah, chuck k's shtick is related to chuck e's (and chuck e has expressed some appreciation of chuck k), but chuck k's is sort of a cheap knock-off. chuck e has actually gone to the trouble of thinking about stuff, while chuck k mostly goes to the trouble of appearing to think about stuff -- which is enough to impress cnn.

(xposts)

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:16 (7 years ago) Permalink

likewise I was just the right age for Saved by the Bell but it never appealed to me - too cheap looking, not actually funny, nobody attractive on it, snorezville.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:17 (7 years ago) Permalink


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