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Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman (excerpt)

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman (excerpt)

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3.72

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Published by Simon and Schuster
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.
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.

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Publish date: Jun 22, 2004
Added to Scribd: Apr 09, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/29/2013

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bongo_x_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This is undeniably a very funny book at times, but also gets to be annoying after a while. Everyone's had the experience of talking to someone who is funny and clever and then slowly starts to wear on you, becomes obnoxious and doesn't know when to turn it down a notch. This is the book version.

Klosterman wants to have it both ways, mocking obnoxious hipsters, while acting like the worst example of one himself. He really lost me when he stated talking about "The Real World". I was baffled that this was a grown man writing this. There are also many examples of a pet peeve of mine; the "we all do it" excuse. This is where you talk about your pettiness, shallowness, bigotry, general obnoxious traits, and instead of apologizing or showing shame you just take the "we all do it" attitude and "isn't it cute that I talk about it?". No, we don't all do it, and no , it isn't cute.

A fairly entertaining book, but a lot like the Cocoa Puffs of the title. I get the feeling he might be an interesting writer when he grows up.

librarianwilk reviewed this
Rated 4/5
granted, klosterman gets some shit for being too deliberate, but this was a very fun read
evanroskos_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I don't hate Klosterman. but man am I already sick of him. Still, this is a nice collection of essays. I really love the one where he tours with the G'n'R cover band -- great reporting, filled with jokes for fans of the band. And yet he still shows the band members respect. Of course, his style gets tedious. he's like a young dennis miller -- reference after reference after reference. it's not bad, it's just annoying after awhile. Also, he makes the baseless arugment that coldplay and travis rip off radiohead. first of all, he's not the first to make this argument. and second of all, these bands don't sound alike at all. and they certainly don't sound like radiohead. And yet, annoying things like that don't necessarily ruin the essays. But whenever I see his name now i cringe. maybe it's the glasses.....
alanna1122 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I should have read this book 10 years ago. I think I would have liked it even more back then - but given its subject matter - it is pretty amazing that it is still enjoyable so many years later.I loved some of the chapters (real world chapter for one) I found the sports chapters boring because I don't follow sports in any sort of detailed way that would make his references anything more than gibberish. Mostly I laughed a little, nodded my head a little, groaned a little and was entertained enough to say if you are a person who went to college in in the 90's you will probably enjoy at least some of these essays.
browner56 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Like most smart people, Chuck Klosterman thinks very deeply about a lot of things. However, unlike, say, a smart theoretical physicist or a smart behavioral psychologist, the stuff Klosterman ponders and writes about is both random and of remarkably little consequence. Of course, essays exploring relatively insignificant topics can still be interesting and occasionally very funny. For the most part, the author manages to do just that in this volume.Take, for instance, the frequently cited chapter in which Klosterman explains why he thinks ‘Saved by the Bell’ became such an iconic television show for kids of a certain age, despite the fact that it was unrealistic, unimaginative, and not particularly good. Or, the author’s take on what may or may not be fascinating about having an acquaintance who turns out to be a serial killer. Or even his views of why Trisha Yearwood is more relevant than Bob Dylan and how the internet changed the dynamics of the porn industry.My only real complaint about ‘Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs’ is that much of the material feels a little dated by now, which is understandable given that most of the essays appear to have been written in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Still, an essay that contrasts the visions of reality presented in the movies ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Memento’ is hardly cutting-edge material today. Also, the depth to which Klosterman dives into some of his more arcane arguments made reading them a little monotonous at times. Nevertheless, the author has a unique perspective on modern culture and that makes this book worth considering.
tintinintibet_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Laugh out loud funny in the first few essays, followed by a slow retreat into mediocrity. There are moments when you think that is David Foster Wallace at his most accessible -- an intricate but compelling writing style that seems fresh and unforced. But there are also essays where Klosterman can't conjure up that glow and the writing then feels like William Vollmann at his voluminous worst.
katelattuca_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
This was my first reading of Klosterman, and I would compare the experience to watching someone masturbate. You just sort of wish you were enjoying it as much as they were.
jddunn_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
I wanted to like this, I really did, but in the end I just couldn’t. There were lots of funny little bits here and there, but the sum total was just too glib, too shallow, too purposefully contrarian, and above all, too universalist and unqualified. The main problem is that he’s trying to universalize what amounts to a very narrow-bore pop culture experience. I’m only a few years younger, but very few of the touchstones(the Real World, Billy Joel, Saved by the Bell, etc) that he mentions have had any appreciable effect on my life or that of my peers. I’ve heard of them all and been exposed to them enough to have a good familiarity, but I can’t hang any of the shared meaning on them that he does and attempts to extend to his whole readership.I was also bit irritated by his ongoing attempts to cast himself as lowbrow, working class, anti-elitist, etc. He may be genuinely uncomfortable being a part of a cultural elite(and some sincere confrontation with this discomfort could have been really interesting in this context), but he is, and he’s not fooling anyone with his protestations and poses to the contrary.Finally, he should just avoid writing about the internet or gaming or computers, because he just doesn’t have any expertise in those areas and catty condescension is not enough to make up for that fact.
keninipswich reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Written like a drunken English major. Lots of rock and roll references but with no substance.
a_crezo_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I've only read three chapters of this book, but I liked what I saw.

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