Classic or Dud: Chuck Klosterman

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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 (8 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 (8 years ago) Permalink

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

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:03 (8 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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 years ago) Permalink

poor yo la tengo ; (

gear (gear), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:12 (8 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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 years ago) Permalink

battle of the chucks

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

You don't know me, you're too old, let go
It's over, nobody listens to Tengo

Marmot (marmotwolof), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:20 (8 years ago) Permalink

what saved by the bell needed was a dylan klebold

gear (gear), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:21 (8 years ago) Permalink

what it needed was a dylan mckay!

Zwan (miccio), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

Don't want to speak for xhuxk too much but I think he just writes about whatever interests him, some of which does happen to be mainstream. I think his rock music taste is only really populist when it comes to the 70s and 80s. (He has more time for Loverboy and Sleater-Kinney than he does for Pearl Jam or Smashing Pumpkins or Fall Out Boy.)

Sundar (sundar), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:35 (8 years ago) Permalink

The thing that works for Klosterman so well is his distinct writing voice. It sticks out in a crowd, just like any great columnist. People who think he's a critic have long missed the point. He's not even a great features writer in asmuch as his analysis is always paralyzed by his overly self-aware prose; his insight and reportage are always his weak, telling link. He works at Esquire for the same reason Junod does, and it's plenty fair to point out that a lot of well-regarded critics and writers have long coasted on the merits of their writing voice (and yeah, I'm talking to you Lester Bangs.) What remains amusing to me are the people who refuse to accept this, and why Klosterman continues to succeed at it.

To me, Chuck is sort of the original blogger with all the weight and depth that title deserves. In other words, I probably wouldn't ever print out a blog posting by Chuck, but I might save the link somewhere on my hard drive.

don weiner (don weiner), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:57 (8 years ago) Permalink

a lot of well-regarded critics and writers have long coasted on the merits of their writing voice (and yeah, I'm talking to you Lester Bangs.)

"I SEE DEAD CRITICS! AND THEY WON'T SHUT UP!"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:59 (8 years ago) Permalink

OG Bloggah!

grady (grady), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 22:59 (8 years ago) Permalink

Fargo Blog City

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 23:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

I just read Killing Yourself to Live and noticed he says "supper" instead of dinner and also uses the word "ectomorph" more than once. Just saying.

pinder (pinder), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 23:05 (8 years ago) Permalink

Maybe he's actually HP Lovecraft.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 23:06 (8 years ago) Permalink

the mention of ylt reminded me of this classic

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27870

timmy tannin (pompous), Wednesday, 6 September 2006 23:39 (8 years ago) Permalink

I think Don's analysis is basically OTM. As much as I'm loath to admit it, Klosterman does have a distinctive, immediate and instantly-inviting authorial voice. He sidles up to you and puts his arm around you and starts whispering his kooky ideas in your ear before you have time to register what's happened. It may take a while before you realize that he's wasting your time.

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 7 September 2006 00:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

It is so ILM to focus on Yo La Tengo being used as an example and exhausting that point.

billstevejim (billstevejim), Thursday, 7 September 2006 00:36 (8 years ago) Permalink

most of the people i know who've read any klosterman let alone know who he is are on ILX!

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:07 (8 years ago) Permalink

He sidles up to you and puts his arm around you and starts whispering his kooky ideas in your ear before you have time to register what's happened.

now i'm kind of afraid.

It may take a while before you realize that he's wasting your time.

if by "a while" you mean "on average, three sentences," i guess you have a point.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

and btw i wasn't kidding about kid a up there. klosterman fits perfectly into my theory about radiohead, wilco and the impotence of modern bourgeois liberalism.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:16 (8 years ago) Permalink

One last Yo La Tengo comment, it sure seemed like ol' SPIN magazine was a lot more responsible for their big mid 90's rock-crit push than New Yorker, NPR, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's etc., but then I never read/listed to any of that shit when I was a kid.

Marmot (marmotwolof), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:21 (8 years ago) Permalink

read/listened*

Marmot (marmotwolof), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:22 (8 years ago) Permalink

"He sidles up to you and puts his arm around you and starts whispering his kooky ideas in your ear before you have time to register what's happened."

timmy tannin (pompous), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:23 (8 years ago) Permalink

x-post -- Read/fondled/self-abused/vomited

Fitter, happier, more populist

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:23 (8 years ago) Permalink

The kind of person who loves Chuck Klosterman is probably no more in touch with "mainstream America" than the kind that reads the New Yorker (even ignoring any overlap).

I don't really believe in "mainstream America" anyway. I don't think there's such a thing.

-- A-ron Hubbard (Hurtingchie...), February 26th, 2000.

That was before 9/11 changed everything, apparently.

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Thursday, 7 September 2006 01:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

he has a new big book out! i had no idea. there is even fiction in it, i think. i saw it at the bookstore. i never go to the bookstore.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 7 September 2006 02:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

it's called chuck klosterman iv, which i admit is pretty funny.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Thursday, 7 September 2006 02:18 (8 years ago) Permalink

I am trying to think of a female writer who reminds me of CK.

don weiner (don weiner), Thursday, 7 September 2006 12:49 (8 years ago) Permalink

The article above particularly annoys me. It seems like Klosterman's typical exaggerated sense of his own significance - I can almost picture him saying "Hey, you guys should do a story on how I just don't get all these people calling me 'the voice of a generation'!"

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Thursday, 7 September 2006 12:53 (8 years ago) Permalink

then he does a column on the story on how he doesn't get all these people calling him "the voice of a generation" it can be the centerpiece of a new collection of criticism of CK by CK...

you get my drift. he's the post-Cheerios version of those laughable hack newspaper columnists like Bob Greene (who wrote a book about Alice Cooper in the 70s). self-consciousness sells like sex.

m coleman (lovebug starski), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:03 (8 years ago) Permalink

middlebrow postmodernism.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:08 (8 years ago) Permalink

Napoleon Klosterman

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

"CHUCK! COME WRITE SOME SPAM!"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

I don't get the impression that he takes himself nearly as seriously as a lot of people here do. I think he's just as surprised of his successful middlebrowsing as his detractors. He's certainly not a phony, hypocritical asshole on the level of, say, Michael Moore. Nor does he seem particularly cynical or exploitative of his middlebrowing, which is something that most hi-falutin' writers embrace once they start getting checks from the likes of Esquire.

don weiner (don weiner), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:19 (8 years ago) Permalink

Oh come on, he's one of the worst cases of self-aggrandizing modesty I've ever seen.

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:40 (8 years ago) Permalink

I don't get the impression that he takes himself nearly as seriously as a lot of people here do

I think the problem is that he doesn't take himself seriously enough, and indirectly, that he doesn't take his audience seriously either. If he did, then he would probably try to think through his ideas a little better. Instead I get the feeling that he looks for the "Klosterman angle" on a story - ie., the unconventional perspective that will hold up a sociological phenomenon at an unexpected angle - which will give him the element of surprise. And as long as audience disbelief can be suspended for the three or four pages that a Klosterman essay typically runs, he is satisfied with that. He's not really that serious about the issues he discusses, though he tries to come off as a cross between Malcolm Gladwell and Dave Barry.

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 7 September 2006 13:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

that beard is really working for him.

M@tt He1geson: Real Name, No Gimmicks (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:15 (8 years ago) Permalink

indeed, the last two books were ghost-written by it

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

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

I'll put the book in the mail tomorrow. :D

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:19 (8 years ago) Permalink

I am trying to think of a female writer who reminds me of CK.

Oddly enough, all the examples I can think of are men's-magazine sex columnists.

nabisco (nabisco), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:21 (8 years ago) Permalink

OK, fine, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen didn't really blossom until she bought tits post-SBTB, but I can't believe no one was willing to stick up for Lark Voorhees' hotness. What is wrong with you people?

pdf (Phil Freeman), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

lark voorhees was the secret weapon that kept the male crowd coming back.

gear (gear), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:37 (8 years ago) Permalink

screech was the audience surrogate, then?

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 7 September 2006 16:40 (8 years ago) Permalink


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