In his new essay collection, author and cultural commentator Klosterman (Chuck Klosterman IV) parallels Kurt Cobain with David Koresh, Weezer with Warner Herzog and Ralph Nader, and posits a future in which Unabomber Ted Kaczynski's manifesto is viewed as ""the most prescient work of the 1990s."" In short, there is something to excite and/or enrage any reader engaged with popular culture in the last 20 years. One of few cultural essayists to enjoy a wide readership, Klosterman's Lester Bangs-lite approach is frequently engaging, if scattershot; too often, he engages in fleeting pop-culture references that evoke the laziest kind of critical cred-grubbing (a typical throwaway jab at indie band TV on the Radio leaves readers with no idea what criticism, if any, Klosterman is leveling). Klosterman even neglects to engage some of his subjects on their artistic merits, such as Nirvana's final album, In Utero: after making much of the disc's pre-release hype, he all but refuses to discuss his reaction as a listener. Even with the inclusion of an article on football (which he admits will turn off ""40 percent"" of his readers), Klosterman never ventures outside of his comfort zone; though he thrives on challenging his readers, he fails to challenge himself.
Reviewed on: 10/19/2009 Release date: 10/01/2009 Genre: Nonfiction