SEX, DRUGS, AND COCOA PUFFS: A Low Culture Manifesto

Chuck Klosterman, Author
Chuck Klosterman, Author . Scribner $23 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7432-3600-3
Reviewed on: 05/19/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-7432-5824-1
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-0-7432-3601-0
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-0-571-23220-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-5488-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-6430-4
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There's a lot more cold cereal than sex or drugs in Klosterman's nostalgic, patchy collection of pop cultural essays, which, despite sparks of brilliance, fails to cohere. Having graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1994, Klosterman (Fargo Rock City) seems never to have left that time or place behind. He is an ironically self-aware, trivia-theorizing, unreconstructed slacker: "I'm a 'Gen Xer,' okay? And I buy shit marketed to 'Gen Xers.' And I use air quotes when I talk.... Get over it." The essay topics speak for themselves: the Sims, The Real World, Say Anything, Pamela Anderson, Billy Joel, the Lakers/Celtics rivalry, etc. The closest Klosterman gets to the 21st century is Internet porn and the Dixie Chicks. This is a shame, because he's is a skilled prose stylist with a witty, twisted brain, a photo-perfect memory for entertainment trivia and has real chops as a memoirist. The book's best moments arrive when he eschews argumentation for personal history. In "George Will vs. Nick Hornby," a tired screed against soccer suddenly comes to life when Klosterman tells the story of how he was fired from his high school summer job as a Little League baseball coach. The mothers wanted their sons to have equal playing time; Klosterman wanted "a run-manufacturing offensive philosophy modeled after Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals." In a chapter on relationships, Klosterman semi-jokes that he only has "three and a half dates worth of material." Remove all the dated pop culture analyses, and Klosterman's book has enough material for about half a really great memoir. Agent, Daniel Greenberg. (Aug. 26)

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