Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Anglais) Broché – 2 juillet 2004
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
GQ Quintessential Klosterman -- sometimes exasperating but almost always engaging.
San Francisco Chronicle The reigning Kasparov of pop culture wits-matching.
The Washington Post Maddeningly smart and funny...[Klosterman's] good humor, compassion, and raw associative powers put him in the same league as Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, though he's a more tenacious critic than either.
Présentation de l'éditeur
Countless writers and artists have spoken for a generation, but no one has done it quite like Chuck Klosterman. With an exhaustive knowledge of popular culture and an almost effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter, Klosterman attacks the entire spectrum of postmodern America: reality TV, Internet porn, Pamela Anderson, literary Jesus freaks, and the real difference between apples and oranges (of which there is none). And don’t even get him started on his love life and the whole Harry-Met-Sally situation.
Whether deconstructing Saved by the Bell episodes or the artistic legacy of Billy Joel, the symbolic importance of The Empire Strikes Back or the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, Chuck will make you think, he’ll make you laugh, and he’ll drive you insane—usually all at once. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is ostensibly about art, entertainment, infotainment, sports, politics, and kittens, but—really—it’s about us. All of us. As Klosterman realizes late at night, in the moment before he falls asleep, “In and of itself, nothing really matters. What matters is that nothing is ever ‘in and of itself.’” Read to believe.
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Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout the book, but sometimes it stretches a bit too much for the sake of a clever analogy. In the forward, Klosterman assserts that, at times, he feels as though "everything is completely connected." Unfortunately, he is not adept enough to make all of his essays into a cohesive whole (as other reviewers have noted). Ultimately, the book feels like a loose collection of unrelated but very funny skits. Although that debit doesn't sink the book, it does lessen its impact. In addition, Klosterman is sometimes too self-aware for his own good; several times, he makes reference to liking something "unironically" - such as "Saved by the Bell." His definitive goal seems to be achieving irony. While this credo certainly makes "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" a funny read, it can become rather tedious as well. Overall, I'd recommend this book, but with reservations.
Anyway, each chapter in this book contains a fairly self contained essay that is meant to examine a particular aspect of American culture as compared to, affected by, and/or resulting from a particular piece of pop culture. Unfortunately, Klosterman's understanding of most topics (both the deeper social topics he tries to explore and the actual pop culture references) is as superficial as his wit.
Basically, you could break the entire content of this book down into one sentence; stupid people emulate what they see on TV because they are often also shallow and because their lives suck. Add in about two hundred pages of topical references you won't understand unless you're between the ages of 30 - 35 and sentences along the lines of 'I'm not cool but here is what a cool, ironic person would say about this topic, which just happens to be the same opinion I hold, or maybe I don't' and you'll be readily prepared for the content of this book.
I only finished this book out of a sense of duty to the 9 dollars and 99 cents I spent to download this adolescent diatribe to my Nook. Klosterman's an intellectual lightweight with a Mohammad Ali sized personality, which is why the ideas in the book are forgettable , but the voice of the author sticks with you like gum on the bottom of your shoe. I felt like I was stuck in a room with Rush Limbaugh, if Rush Limbaugh was a tad funnier and a tad smarter but just as obnoxious, sexist, solipsistic, and frivolous.
Do not buy this book. Go to the book store, skim the essay about The Sims (which, like so many of these essays, already feels dated but, unlike the rest, is actually though-provoking), and move on with your life and your wallet.
The essays start out with brilliance (especially the first two, about romance and The Sims, respectively), but my interest in them fizzled out. There are a few bright points here and there in the remaining essays (the essay about serial killers and our fascination with them is dead on). There is no doubt Klosterman is an adept writer, can pinpoint emotions, and locate intermittently with a witty finger the pulse of certain social issues (like what the hell tribute bands are all about and WHY). But the tone in which he does so is sometimes reminiscent of...how shall I put it? A smart-ass thirty-year-old who thinks he is very clever with his observations, and justifies it by saying he is a Gen X'er and entitled to his lofty superiority. In other words, if you read Klosterman, you're just the type of person he'd look down on.
In trying to deconstruct pop culture, Klosterman sometimes comes across as believing himself an expert about everything American. He also has no qualms about insulting outright the very audience reading his book. Even though he jokes in the beginning that he writes these things late at night in a state of near-delirium, you still get the impression he thinks he is, as he might put it, the "uber-mensch".
Some of the essays are so specialized that I had absolutely no interest in reading them, and skipped right over them as I realized the entire essay was absorbed in deconstructing, say, basketball heroes. So I can't really say I enjoyed the entire book - some of it was unintelligible to me; hence, 3 stars (IMHO).
True, Klosterman has been saturated with pop culture through his research and work with major magazines, but most of his off-the-cuff opinions are just that -- opinions and rantings rather than hard facts supported by any type of references, so keep in mind that you're reading personal essays, rather than research articles.
Perhaps I was tainted, since I had just finished reading half of Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men," and the entire of Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," so one more book illustrating the hopeless stupidity of the human race may have caused me unfair irritation.
Strong essays for the most part, well written, but I lost interest and read them very patchily throughout the last half of the book because the tone grated on my nerves.
Just a few examples:
- In one of the essays Klosterman argues that soccer will never make it big in America. On this point we agree. His argument based on his failure as a little league baseball coach. Apparently, Klosterman tried to be one of those hyper-intense coaches who tried to work out his own personal daddy issues by trying to turn a team of 9 year olds into a finely tuned baseball machine. Because this didn't work out, and Klosterman might have a problem with women, soccer will never make it big in America. Um, okay.
- Klosterman's discussion of math and probability would embarass a stoned 16 year old with it's facile reasoning.
- Like other writers of his generation, of which I am part, Klosterman has somehow confused an obsession with, and Rainman like recall of, certain pop culture elements (cereal, Saved by the Bell, The Real World)with actual knowledge and understanding. Perhaps one day he will read a book or see a movie created before the 1960s.