Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

ISBN: 0743236017
ISBN 13: 9780743236010
By: Chuck Klosterman

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About this book

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.

Reader's Thoughts


If I met Chuck Klosterman, I would probably end up attempting to pick a fistfight with him. I say "attempting" because I don't know whether he hits girls. And I say "probably" because, for all I know, he may be far less infuriating in person than he is in print.A lot of space in this book is aimed at mocking the pretensions of people who, I admit, sound an awful lot like me: decently-educated, irony-clad, pop-culture obsessed twentysomethings who deride popular country music and remember Jessie Spano's dramatic struggle with caffeine addiction.Maybe I'm a little touchy about being mocked. Especially since Klosterman goes to great lengths to include plenty of self-mockery. I guess what I find grating in his form of judgment is the way his conceits are flouted as endearing quirks, while those he does not possess are somehow extrapolated into indications of deep character flaws -- assuming anyone so shallow could be anything "deep." I'm sorry if my intense dislike of Toby Keith makes me an unforgivable cultural elitist, but I think his jingoistic, truck-commercial-friendly output is unlistenable crap. But back to getting into a fistfight with Chuck Klosterman. The thing is, I really enjoyed reading this book, despite intensely disagreeing with much of it. And perhaps because of it: I think I would be willing to trade in my imaginary fistfight for a solid argument over a few beers. It says something that this book made me evaluate my views, and, as a bonus, was so well-written that I not only actually read the chapters about sports, I enjoyed them. It scared me a little.


This book started out great...nice and insightful...As it progressed, however, I've found myself removing stars from the rating. He tries too hard to tie everything up in a neat little bow...every essay has to end with a witty little wrap-up sentence, dripping with a false poignancy, essentially wrapping it up with his original statement. It started feeling as formulaic as pop music. It was when I got to Toby vs Moby that I found myself closing the book, and throwing it across the room. He stretches pretty far throughout his essays to make a point that isn't always there, but this one...When he had the audacity to tell me that the Dixie Chicks are more talented and relevant to music than the whole of the grunge era, when he proclaimed that pop country trumps alt country I began wondering where his head was, exactly. Then I flipped the book over and realized he's a writer for SPIN magazine, and it all made sense. He's so quick to discount so many people's taste as some sort of a hipster fashion accessory; if you listen to Hank Senior, you're a poser, if you listen to alt country, you're a poser earning $56k+ a year with no true understanding of the working class. I'm sure I'll finish the book eventually, but I'm wary of it all, now.I was willing to take his hatred of the Lakers with a grain of salt, but when he tries to tell me that the Dixie Chicks are the Van Halen of the next generation...Jesus.


It's not that I didn't like this book... Okay, that's exactly what it is. But the real issue I had with Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is this: I've either had every conversation in this book (which I enjoyed more than these essay versions of them) or I've walked away from the conversation because it didn't interest me in the slightest. I can name at least ten people I know who could have written this book (give or take an article or two), and probably could have written it better (including the person whose choice this book is for my book club). I didn't dislike it all, though. It was amusing in parts. It's just that I didn't find it to be wonderfully clever even though it was clearly trying very hard to be. I could talk a lot about why I didn't like this book for little reasons, but on the whole, I think my distaste for it was rooted in the fact that I couldn't simply read it at my leisure, picking it up and putting it down to read a single article and then switch to something else, because we're reading this for book club and thus my reading has a deadline. Had I been able to just skip an article (such as the mind-numbing article on basketball) or stop reading one (like when he made repetitive references to Sigur Ros and Devo as though they were symbols of uniqueness, only to make them ordinary by constantly referencing them) so I could move on to something else or read an essay every few days, then I probably would have a kinder outlook on this book. But here's the kicker as to why I can't simply dismiss this book. Do you know the game "Table Topics"? Or have you read the If...? books? They work on the same premise... posing a "what if" kind of question that you're supposed to then discuss with people. This may seem lame, because it implies that you can't have a natural conversation with your friends without the assistance of cards, but I found them amusing in college... and probably still would, given a particularly creative bunch of friends and a few bottles of wine. "If you could only listen to one album again for the rest of your life, what would it be?" "If you had to kill an innocent person to end world hunger, could you?" "If you were exiled from your current country, what new country would you pick as your new home?" "Which famous dead person would you most want to have a dinner conversation with?" "If you could either sleep with one famous person and never tell anyone or give the impression of a deep and loving relationship to the world but never actually sleep with them... which scenario would you pick?" (I actually think he did pose this question somewhere in the book...)Anyway... there's one "essay" in this book that's my favorite part, not just because it's funny, but because it seems like it unwittingly captures the whole essence of the other articles -- or at least distills what good this book can accomplish. It's a small section of twenty three questions that the author would pose to a person and their answers would determine whether or not this could be his soulmate. Think of Table Topic and If...? questions (like those above) and multiply them by ten on a specific and weird scale... then you'd get the kind of questions that he asks. For example, here's a fairly ordinary but still interesting one:Every person you have ever slept with is invited to a banquet where you are the guest of honor. No one will be in attendance except you, the collection of your former lovers, and the catering service. After the meal, you are asked to give a fifteen-minute speech to the assembly. What do you talk about?And here's a weird one that I quite enjoy:Defying all expectation, a group of Scottish marine biologists capture a live Loch Ness Monster. In an almost unbelievable coincidence, a bear hunter in the Pacific Northwest shoots a Sasquatch in the thigh, thereby allowing zoologists to take the furry monster into captivity. These events happen on the same afternoon. That evening, the president announces he may have thyroid cancer and will undergo a biopsy later that week. You are the front page editor of The New York Times: What do you play as the biggest story? And one more for kicks:Someone builds and optical portal that allows you to see a vision of your own life in the future (it’s essentially a crystal ball that shows a randomly selected image of what your life will be like in twenty years). You can only see into this portal for thirty seconds. When you finally peer into the crystal, you see yourself in a living room, two decades older than you are today. You are watching a Canadian football game, and you are extremely happy. You are wearing a CFL jersey. Your chair is surrounded by books and magazines that promote the Canadian Football League, and there are CFL pennants covering your walls. You are alone in the room, but you are gleefully muttering about historical moments in Canadian football history. It becomes clear that—for some unknown reason—you have become obsessed with Canadian football. And this future is static and absolute; no matter what you do, this future will happen. The optical portal is never wrong. This destiny cannot be changed. The next day, you are flipping through television channels and randomly come across a pre-season CFL game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Knowing your inevitable future, do you now watch it? Okay, last one, for real:Let us assume you met a rudimentary magician. Let us assume he can do five simple tricks--he can pull a rabbit out of his hat, he can make a coin disappear, he can turn the ace of spades into the Joker card, and two others in a similar vein. These are his only tricks and he can't learn any more; he can only do these five. HOWEVER, it turns out he's doing these five tricks with real magic. It's not an illusion; he can actually conjure the bunny out of the ether and he can move the coin through space. He's legitimately magical, but extremely limited in scope and influence. Would this person be more impressive than Albert Einstein? These make me think that Chuck Klosterman missed his true calling as a "Table Topics for Gen X" writer. ALL of his essays seem to serve one purpose for me: they're mildly interesting, but they make me think of more interesting things that I then actually want to discuss with other people. Weirdest thing of all, but I actually think this might be a good book for discussion at book club... not for discussing the merits of the book, but because Klosterman's random topics (the true meaning of Saved by the Bell, the weird interest he has in people who have met serial killers and lived, etc.) will hopefully inspire other things we want to talk about in the Table Topics sense of things.My mother tried to make the point that perhaps Klosterman was really intending to inspire conversation with these topics. At first, I found it hard to believe that Klosterman, who writes about saved by the Bell and cartoon cereal characters, is really trying to inspire discussion... but that's totally it. I might find his writing to be somewhat lacking, but he really is creating a jumping-off-point for people who might find these topics to be of interest. So Klosterman, despite all of the complaints I have, I give you three stars.Oh, and if you don't pick the Loch Ness Monster, then I don't understand what you could possibly be thinking.


Klosterman's essays make funny and relevant points about pop culture and an aging Gen Xer's reflections on how it impacts our lives. The unique thing is that even though he writes about a lot of things that have become cliches to comment on (Star Wars, The Real World, relationships, etc.), he avoids coming across as yet another version of Kevin Smith by noting that they are cliches, and humorously explores why a segment of America became obsessed with them in the first place.

Jaclyn Jean

Less a serious analytical deconstruction of pop culture than a melange of disjointed references by a writer who seems to care more about showing you his rock-fan/self-styled hipster credentials than offering thoughtful insight or cultural critique. Unfortunately, to be brutally honest, there's nothing hip about him; there's no fertile ground covered or obscure discoveries to be made here. Why the hell am I reading about Moby? The thing about commercial radio is that it's full of music not worth writing about. And no, I don't want to read about Saved By the Bell either. I watched it every day after school, and that's where our relationship ends. I realize he thinks he's elevating the banal to the sublime, but even a more capable writer would have difficulty with the choice of generational touchstones here. Some things really are banal, and his half-assed armchair philosopher surface-scratching is almost painful to witness, like listening to a dropout barfly extoll the intellectual virtues of playing KENO. Even as a simple personal history it falls flat, without a good turn of phrase or thought-provoking bit of self-analysis to stand on. It reads like a High School sophomore trying to do his best literary impression of Jonathan Lethem. I'd rather have re-read The Disappointment Artist three times than have read this book at all. Someone should have loaned Klosterman a copy of Please Kill Me a long time ago; maybe if he'd really had his mind blown he'd have more to say.


I've been reading a lot of books of essays lately -- Emily Gould, Sloane Crosley, Chuck Klosterman, David Foster Wallace. Except for Wallace, they just make me want to punch people. Grammatical errors aside -- and there are so many in this book that I called a friend in publishing from the airport in which I was reading it and asked "Who the hell proofreads these things?" -- it's vaguely profane, vaguely profound nothingness, sort of fortune-cookie David Foster Wallace. And I realized: David Foster Wallace is trying to explain things, things so complicated and heart locked that there's almost no way to say them. That's why the endless footnotes, the runaround sentences. It's not that he doesn't want to be clear, it's that it's difficult to be clear and he's trying to explain the best way he knows how. The rest of these guys are just trying to be clever and quotable. I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I hadn't been reading "Consider the Lobster" just before it. Real honesty in essays is rare, and once you get used to it everything else looks tarnished.The other thing is this: Klosterman works the same side of the street as Nick Hornby, but -- and this is astounding, since he's writing essays and not fictional characters, no matter how obviously they're based on himself -- he doesn't have the same gift of voice that Hornby does. Actually, it's not astounding at all: the fact that he's not entirely putting himself out there, that he's got a protective veneer of "fiction" makes it easier for Hornby to be honest, I think. Klosterman is airing himself to the world, and even though he pulls no punches on being sort of an unattractive jerky guy in the way you suspect many people are jerks underneath, his insights into himself seem lazily constructed. Is there seriously no way to save a review you're halfway finished with? There must be.


If you must, you may call it jealousy, but there is no getting around the fact that if someone had read my essays during college, and then paid me to keep writing those essays, then I could (would) have been Chuck Klosterman. [1] But seriously: I feel like I could have written all of these essays (possibly better) if only someone had come along and said: Hey, you've got the right kind of sarcastic wit and you know how to stitch together a bunch of quasi-esoteric references... can you bang together a couple of 5,000 word essays on pop culture subjects? Only problem is that I'd probably have peaked at like 25. [2]Anyway: this is Chuck Klosterman. Basically, he is the older brother that I never had--the older brother of whom I am extremely jealous. He gets all the girls. (Even if he can't keep them.) He smokes all the best weed. (Even if he can't handle it.) He goes to all the best concerts. (Even if he doesn't enjoy them.) He's seen every episode of every show, went to every game of every team, heard every record by every band, read every book by every author, taken every class by every prof, and remembered every detail about all of them. [3] Thus is he the smartest kid in the room--even if he still goes around claiming to be an idiot. And despite all that, I can see right through all of his bullshit shenanigans.And trust me: there are some bullshit shenanigans going on here.Klosterman is lazy. Seriously: how can you (in good conscience) open an essay ("Every Dog Must Have His Every Day, Every Drunk Must Have His Drink") with a not-at-all-oblique reference to September 11th and then not tie that back in to the overall theme? When we get to the end of "Every Dog Must...", all he got was Billy Joel-Billy Joel-Billy Joel and the eternal struggle between Cool and Great. But he opens with "nineteen unsmiling people from the Middle East" and then he just leaves it hanging there, never to crash back into the rest of the narrative. Lazy, sloppy work. [4]But for as lazy as Klosterman is, he's sharp. He "gets it". And how do I know that he "gets it"? Because he is harping on "that celebrity thing"--the same way that William Gibson talks about celebrity in Idoru ; the same way that Bruce Sterling talks about celebrity in Holy Fire ; and (to a lesser extend) the way that Neal Stephenson talks about celebrity (and/or pop culture's collision with itself?) in Snow Crash . Yes; Chuck understands it. The bizarre world of the successful (?) cover band in "Appetite for Replication". The meta-conflicts of the simulated life of simulated people in the simulated world of "The Sims" in "Billy Sim". The exegesis of Pamela Anderson-vs-Marilyn Monroe-as-the-best possible-sex symbol-for-her-time in "Ten Seconds to Love". The circular conundrum imposed by MTV's "The Real World" and the full explication of that subject in "What Happens When People Stop Being Polite". And that's all in the first 85 pages. Yes indeed; he may be lazy and sloppy, but this is Chuck Klosterman at his best. [5]Anyway: Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: just as easy to love as it is to hate.---[1] Only seven years later?[2] So... replace "jealousy" with "schadenfreude"?[3] Despite smoking all the best weed.[4] And/but that's OK? because he writes like some sort of proto-blogger? or like a college student at a fancy liberal arts school that never bothered to graduate? And/but maybe that's a whole big essay in and of itself? About the proto-blogger style? about the liberal artsy interest? about the elevation of pop culture and equalizing it with all of your fancy-pants schooling subject matter?[5] ALSO: Chuck is really at his best when he's writing about sports. Because it's funny when nerds write about sports.


Klosterman was recommended to me by a friend, and while I'll admit he has some funny bits, he really is that guy at the party who is exceedingly nerdy (in a hipster sort of way) and who thinks he's clearly better than everyone else. And no one -- no one -- should devote the amount of time and attention to pop culture that he does. And this is coming from a girl who gets a regular dose of Perez Hilton every week. I'm his target audience, and yet he still turned me off. He critiques pop culture at such a level of extreme minutia that only four people on the planet know what he's talking about. Furthermore, he makes a point of saying that certain shows, bands, etc. appeal only to people who were born between certain years (he was born in 1972, and thinks most of today's pop culture only applies to those born between 1970 and 1975). For example, he writes that only people born between the aforementioned years ever watched "Saved By the Bell," which aired when he was in college. I won't get into the fact that Klosterman was watching episodes of SBTB in COLLEGE (mind you, this was a show on Saturday mornings initially, geared towards the 10-15 year-old crowd). In fact, I think SBTB was watched by many more viewers in younger generations than his, but it serves to illustrate the point that Klosterman seems to feel that everything in pop culture only applies to his narrow generational window.He writes as if he thinks he so much better than all of these people he makes fun of, and yet he spends his career hyper-evaluating pop culture. Pot, Kettle, anyone?


Any book that begins with an amusing foray into the ways in which Lloyd Dobler has effectively destroyed the author's chance for real love (and perhaps the fake kind too) is a book that I immediately want to like. However, Klosterman essentially reels you in with his lighthearted, self-effacing opener only to assault you with a series of overgeneralized, matter-of-fact (yet largely unsupported) assertions about human behavior in the essays that follow.While several of his essays offer moments of insight and wit, what makes the majority of his analyses of pop-culture and social behavior difficult to digest is the obnoxious (and at times, pseudo-intellectual) tone with which they are delivered. You sort of get the feeling that his ability to skillfully deconstruct pop-culture has led him to believe that he is an expert in all things American. What's worse is that he seems to want you to believe it too. That said, if you can look beyond the grating tone of these essays and accept Klosterman's musings as nothing more than one man's opinions--and relatively inconsequential ones at that, then you might be able to enjoy some of the entertaining and bizarrely funny anecdotes that are offered throughout his self-described "manifesto."


No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now, and I would never try to deny it. But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a woman, either. Should I be writing such thoughts? Perhaps not. Perhaps it's a bad idea. I can definitely foresee a scenario where that first paragraph could come back to haunt me, especially if I somehow became marginally famous. If I become marginally famous, I will undoubtedly be interviewed by someone in the media, and the interviewer will inevitably ask, "Fifteen years ago, you wrote that no woman could ever satisfy you. Now that you've been married for almost five years, are those words still true?" And I will have to say, Oh, God no. Those were the words of an entirely different person -- a person whom I can't even relate to anymore. Honestly, I can't image an existence without _____. She satisfies me in ways that I never even considered. She saved my life, really. Now, I will be lying. I won't really feel that way. But I'll certainly say those words, and I'll deliver them with the utmost sincerity, even though those sentiments will not be there. So then the interviewer will undoubtedly quote lines from this particular paragraph, thereby reminding me that I swore I would publicly deny my true feelings, and I'll chuckle and say, "Come on, Mr. Rose. That was a literary device. You know I never really believed that." But here's the thing: I do believe that. It's the truth now, and it will be in the future. And while I'm not exactly happy about that truth, it doesn't make me sad, either. I know it's not my fault. It's no one's fault, really. Or maybe it's everyone's fault. It should be everyone's fault, because it's everyone's problem. Well, okay...not everyone . Not boring people, and not the profoundly retarded. But whenever I meet dynamic, nonretarded Americans, I notice that they all seem to share a single unifying characteristic: the inability to experience the kind of mind-blowing, transcendent romantic relationship they perceive to be a normal part of living. And someone needs to take the fall for this. So instead of blaming no one for this (which is kind of cowardly) or blaming everyone (which is kind of meaningless), I'm going to blame John Cusack. ...I remember taking a course in college called "Communication and Society," and my professor was obsessed by the belief that fairy tales like "Hansel and Gretel" and "Little Red Riding Hood" were evil. She said they were part of a latent social code that hoped to suppress women and minorities. At the time, I was mildly outraged that my tuition money was supporting this kind of crap; years later, I have come to recall those pseudo-savvy lectures as what I loved about college. But I still think they were probably wasteful, and here's why: Even if those theories are true, they're barely significant. "The Three Little Pigs" is not the story that is fucking people up. Stories like Say Anything are fucking people up. We don't need to worry about people unconsciously "absorbing" archaic secret messages when they're six years old; we need to worry about all the entertaining messages people are consciously accepting when they're twenty-six. They're the ones that get us, because they're the ones we try to turn into life. I mean, Christ: I wish I could believe that bozo in Coldplay when he tells me that stars are yellow. I miss that girl. I wish I was Lloyd Dobler. I don't want anybody to step on a piece of broken glass. I want fake love. But that's all I want, and that's why I can't have it. wow. i read this in a blog and immediately went out and bought the book. i loved it all as much as i loved this.


this is exactly the kind of book so-called hipsters cling to, namedrop, and reference when they gather together dressed in their bright eyes t-shirts, black-rimmed glasses, jeans, and chuck taylors. you know the type, the 'i'm-cooler-than-you-are-because-my-tastes-are-better-than-yours.' you know who i'm talking about? good. continue.what initially drove me to read this book was his opening 'essay' in which chuck klosterman refers to coldplay as a facsimile of travis who was a facsimile of early-period radiohead or some other band i don't remember. i loathe coldplay, so that made me laugh. i was hoping for more of the same. boy was i in for some disappointment.instead of some clever or comedic insight, we get pretty some pretty vapid 'analysis' of 'saved by the bell,' pornography, and well, i really don't remember what else (that's the impact this book had on me). klosterman just tries way too hard to extrapolate meaning and signficance out of the banal of subjects. sorry, chuck, but 'saved by the bell' was just a geeky, silly tv show for kids, nothing else. don't read too much into it. really. don't. sure, i get it that hipster-wannabees like to discuss the cultural relevance of pop-culture phenonmenons, but why [aside from stroking the old ego]? does it really matter? i guess it does for some people, but i'll never understand why. i have to admit that sometimes klosterman does write the occassional zinger [but he's not nearly as funny as he thinks he is]; but most of the time he comes off sounding like a poor man's douglas coupland, he who wrote the two definitive 'gen-x' novels, 'generation-x,' and 'microserfs.' one page of either of coupland's books shames any of klosterman's 'essays.' also, i don't know who served as his editor, but most of the essays, while occassionally interesting, where shambolic, rambling, poorly organized, and frustratingly unrealized. klosterman would be well-served to get himself an editor capable of keeping him on track and keeping him focused. in the end this book a sometimes pleasant diversion from the rigors of everyday life, but it is little else. it's not hip, it's not clever. instead, justlike it's titular reference point, 'sex, drugs, and cocoapuffs,' is a sugar-coated book with little substance or nutritional value.

Diana Jou

Anything that calls itself a "low culture manifesto" is really one of two things; 1) an emotional teenager trying to write his/her first novel 2) a middle age man trying to remember the carefree days of his youth.The chapters are organized like a "cd mix tape" complete with arbitrary lengths of time. They even included a picture of a cd and jewel case to ingrain it in your brain. I read chapter one, "This is Emo 0:01" and that was too much already.


a nice little collection of essays covering everything from the Sims, why the Lakers / Celtics conflict can apply to everything in life, the Real World, and Saved by the Bell. Chuck has a pretty sharp little wit; i definitely snickered through most of the book (which made for some awkward looks on the metro). i think my only critique would be the novelty of his writing style started to wear off by the end of the book, but overall, a good read. definitely a fan of the section on why John Cusack's acting career is bad for love, and Chuck's 23 hypothetical questions.

Dan Schwent

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto is a collection of essays by Chuck Klosterman. It's also one of the rare books I'm not really sure how to review or even rate.Chuck's essays cover such diverse topics as how the movies and TV are giving people unrealistic expectations about life and love, serial killers, the relationship between Reality Bites and The Empire Strikes Back, and that weird half season of Saved by the Bell that had that leather jacket wearing girl instead of Kelly and Jessie.All of the essays within are peppered with Klosterman's insights and observations. Some of them are hilarious, like all women being in love with John Cusack and how the Lakers vs. The Celtics was really different social strata of Americans. Others feel a little too self-important to me and therefore aren't as enjoyable, kind of like watching an interview with Quentin Tarantino and enjoying his movies slightly less the next time you watch them.The back cover of my edition mentions Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, and I can understand the comparisons, but I've read a few books by comedians over the years and that's what this book reminds me of the most. Throw in a few "What is the deal with..."'s and you've got Seinlanguage.That's about all I have to say. I liked it but if I was at the same party as Klosterman, I'd probably avoid him and hang out near the food and booze. I'll guess I'll give it a 3, the traditional safety rating.

Jen Padgett Bohle

Recommended for: English majors who like to play deconstruction, hipsters who used to make mix tapes,anyone who knows of Lloyd Dobbler, guys who are really into music and didn't get laid until college, the girls who love them Forgive me for what I'm about to do. I'm really not a complete curmudgeon, and I feel nefarious for the review I'm about to give, mostly because everyone I know likes this book, but I simply can't promote all of these essays as refreshingly creative and brilliantly written pop culture analyses. (disregard this review with respect to Tracks [the essays are tracks for the metaphorical mix CD Klosterman has created] 2, 5 , 12, and 15) Klosterman is that witty and perspicacious guy in the Misfits Tee we all know from college who began dating around his sophomore year when women realized he was smart and amusing (and Klosterman himself attributes this to the Woody Allen/MiaFarroworDianeKeaton paradigm). But in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs he seems as if he still has to prove how hip, smart, and deserving of ladies (and attention)he really is. There's a telling point when Klosterman is discussing country and alt country music (see "Toby Over Moby") and chastises hipsters for their elitism and fickleness, but simultaneously, Klosterman name drops obscure little bands, and makes sure to let readers know what hallowed and respected hipster singers inhabit his CD shelf ( he has 17 Dylan and Phair albums, to be exact).Actually, there's no shortage of evidence about how hip, cool, and sensitive Kklosterman is. This collection is his ode to his coolness, and it feels amateurish. These are the essays we've all virtually written after rounds of drinks at the local dive bar. These are the musings of anyone who has ever had any knack or talent for deconstruction (or charming, somewhat intellectual bullshit) after overdosing on Mountain Dew and the equally empty calories of Teen dream television (Klosterman chooses Saved By The Bell and MTV'S first Real World here). Klosterman's writing is problematic because many of these essays feel like they were written for a junior composition class (although I have to admit, Klosterman would certainly be a favored student). I can practically feel the teacher's notes on the pages: "Chuck, need to end with a WOW! statement" --- all the ending sentences are the mass produced Eng 300 variety: concise, annoyingly clever, and they sort of pertain to something mentioned in the essay. The good news: These essays will resonate with you, overeducated hipster reader. If you grew up in the 80s and early 90s, then you will get these, and they will likely be the encapsulation of everything you and your drunkard Chuck Taylor wearing, irony branded, PBR drinking buddies discussed on the long walk home from the party. I admit, Chuck Klosterman amused me, but mostly because he wrote down all the thoughts my friends and I used to discuss.

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