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

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

Written by Chuck Klosterman

Narrated by Chuck Klosterman


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

Written by Chuck Klosterman

Narrated by Chuck Klosterman

ratings:
3.5/5 (53 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Released:
Jun 1, 2006
ISBN:
9780743564304
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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, Pamela Anderson and literary Jesus freaks. 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, and politics 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.'"
Released:
Jun 1, 2006
ISBN:
9780743564304
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Chuck Klosterman is the bestselling author of many books of nonfiction (including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, I Wear the Black Hat, Fargo Rock City and Chuck Klosterman X) and two novels (Downtown Owl and The Visible Man). He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Guardian, The Believer, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and ESPN. Klosterman served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine for three years, and was an original founder of the website Grantland with Bill Simmons.

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Reviews

What people think about Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

3.6
53 ratings / 49 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    A great collection of pop culture essays. My favorite had to be the one about the Sims, and how it's pathetic that we love playing such a boring game that is basically just fake versions of us living their own borings lives. We're trying to make them succeed in their careers and socialize with their neighbors while we're sitting in front of our computers. (Disclaimer: I used to be addicted to the Sims.) Basically, Klosterman is amazing and I kind of want to marry him. Or at least read all his other collections.
  • (5/5)
    Hilarious!
  • (4/5)
    Hilarious. Must-read for gen-xers.
  • (4/5)
    I clearly was late to the party reading this book, as most of the pop culture references date back to the 90s. Still, I found Klosterman hilarious (not consistently but if I laugh out loud more than once throughout a book I consider said book worth reading), and am definitely inclined to read more of him.
  • (3/5)
    Too many chapters in this book simply left me feeling irritated. I think this is because Chuck Klosterman writes in a style very close to my own internal voice. Couple that with the biting cynicism of the material, and it can't help but make me feel like I, too, am as dysfunctional as he.

    The parts where it hit though, really hit hard. But books shouldn't leave you feeling angry every time you stop for the night.
  • (4/5)
    Very interesting book. Some of Klosterman's essays were better than others, also slightly outdated, but all were insightful, funny, and he definitely has a point of view. I enjoyed the read and am looking forward to some of his other collective works. 7/10
  • (3/5)
    Overall, a good read. I'm not sure I comprehend his point re: Saved By The Bell, largely because I missed this 'phenomenon' somehow. Other essays I just kinda feel 'meh' about. But there are a few gems, e.g. "All I Know is What I Read in the Papers."

    Clearly, from some reviews here, some people really did not like this book. Fair enough; this is a bit of pop culture, aspiring to be (and I think somewhat successful at being) a bit more, but still basically passing commentary on the here and now. Or, what was here and now 5 to 10 years ago, at the time of my reading.

    What I don't get is the tone of some of the comments; apparently some folks came looking for Hume or Kant or Jesus and left pretty disappointed and/or pissed off that they found some random, snarky, Midwesterner instead.
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely LOVED it. There is a chapter dedicated to the obsession women have over John Cusack that rings VERY true. I had to hang my head in shame after reading that chapter because I realized I was one of those women. He nails almost every cultural flaw our society has and brings it to the front... I challenge someone to read this and not hang their head in shame over at least one of his arguments. He also brings some much needed humor to the topics and I found myself laughing out loud many times. I highly recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    This was the first Chuck Klosterman book I ever read, and it was fantastic! His stories are great and it led me to seek out more books by him. I ended up loaning this book out to so many people because I loved it so much!
  • (4/5)
    Even though I didn't agree with everything that Klosterman had to say is his series of essays (especially his take on soccer), I still enjoyed how he delivered his thoughts with humor and sarcasm. Two of my favorite things.In this book of essays, Klosterman covers everything from Saved by the Bell and the Celtics/Lakers rivalry. He has an exhaustive knowledge of popular culture and makes analyzing everything cool again. Who knew that rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally could so drastically change our psyche. Yet, when Chuck explains the affects of these movies in his sardonic way you have to ask yourself why you didn't think of that before.On top of all this, little vignette type pieces about his life are thrown in between the essays which are almost as entertaining as the essays themselves and always, somehow, tie-in to popular culture. And while this book is often found in the Sociology section of bookstores, it's extremely accessible and isn't filled with sociological jargon. Don't get me wrong, I love the jargon (sociology was my minor) but sometimes it's nice to read something lighter but insightful at the same time. This is a great read for pop culture study beginners and veterans alike.
  • (5/5)
    The best thing about Chuck Klosterman is that he's exactly what I would be like if I were a rock'n'roll journalist and had a penis. Barring that, he's the man of my dreams, though I suspect reading his books is about as close I'll get to his snarky cynicism. I'm willing to bet that most anyone born between 1965 and 1980 won't be able to put this book down... and if it doesn't make you laugh, then perhaps you're dead?
  • (4/5)
    I'll be the first to admit it. This is one of the more unlikely titles you'll see reviewed by this pastor. Klosterman is Coupland without a conscience—Žižek without political science. He wears the black hat proudly and although you might cringe at some of the things he confesses to, he comes off as strangely honest in his admitted depravity.I read Klosterman for two reasons:1. He is wickedly funny.2. His analysis of popular culture reveals the heart of our society.This was even true in the last essay in this collection, "How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found," which is an analysis of the Left Behind phenomenon. Here's how he unpacks (acerbically yet truthfully) the effect believing that you're right has on people's humility:"There is no sophisticated reason for believing in anything supernatural, so it really comes down to believing you're right. This is another example of how born agains are cool—you'd think they'd be humble, but they've got to be amazingly cocksure. And once you've crossed over, you don't even have to try to be nice; according to the born-again exemplar, your goodness will be a natural extension of your salvation. Caring about orphans and helping the homeless will come as naturally as having sex with coworkers and stealing office supplies. If you consciously do good works out of obligation, you'll never get into heaven; however, if you make God your proverbial copilot, doing good works will just become an unconscious part of your life" (238).Now, I know I could challenge the misconceptions in this paragraph (just as I could pull apart the theological naivety behind the Left Behind books). It's clear from his comments on sophistication that he's simply never read any sophisticated Christian. Put those thoughts aside, though and hear what he says. This is what the Left Behind phenomenon conveys of Christians to one of the smartest cultural critics around.It's not just religion Klosterman focuses on. In fact, religion is one of the smaller themes in his writing. He is at home discussing movies, music, sports, and all the other forms of entertainment we consume.Now do you see why this pastor reads Klosterman?
  • (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.

  • (4/5)
    For the parts that one has experienced, this author can have you literally laughing out loud. This book provides a refreshing laugh when looking at a lot of our lives through a different perspective. The title was definitely eye catching and for the most part, the text between the pages held up it's end of the bargain. The only parts I didn't enjoy were the ones where he spoke about things I had nit experienced too much.
  • (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.....
  • (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.
  • (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.
  • (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.
  • (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.
  • (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.
  • (2/5)
    Written like a drunken English major. Lots of rock and roll references but with no substance.
  • (4/5)
    I've only read three chapters of this book, but I liked what I saw.
  • (4/5)
    In Klosterman's own words, this book is "philosophy for shallow people." Full of insights on topics including the Lakers/Celtics rivalry and heavy metal tribute bands. Slightly dated (for example, there is one essay about the Sims) but overall an entertaining read for aficionados of pop culture.
  • (4/5)
    This series of essays attempts to discuss the vital truths of today's society using pop culture as its vehicle of reference. Via Saved by the Bell, The Sims, various iconic musicians, MTV's The Real World, the post apocalyptic book series Left Behind, movies such as Vanilla Sky and The Matrix, and many other pop culture he discusses life, the universe, and everything. Klosterman can tend toward the more pessimistic view of humanity, and there are multiple occasions where I disagreed with him outright. At other times, he opened me up to new ways of seeing the world and the movies/ TV/books/music I love. Thoughout it all this book is often amusing, and even occasionally hilarious, so I was able readily enjoyed the ride whether I was in agreement with him or not.
  • (5/5)
    An all-time favourite. This book is to Gen X & Y what Tom Wolfe's essays were to everyone living through the Me Decade.
  • (3/5)
    This book was ok, not much laughs.
  • (3/5)
    If you take a transcript of every late night, bong-hit driven, pop-culture conversation ever had in every dorm room across this great land, condense them, edit them, then place them lovingly in a book, you would then have a near facsimile of "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," by Chuck Klosterman. Is it interesting? Yes. But just like those dorm conversations, it will fade quickly. All that will remain with you is the illogic of half remembered hypotheses, which only made sense in context.
  • (4/5)
    For those with an affinity for GenX culture, this is an entertaining read. This is a group of musings on those things that were both watershed and pervasive if you were consuming youth culture in the 80s and 90s. It's not that we live and died by Saved by the Bell, it's that you can find someone your age that remembers Bayside and those kids because they were watching it "ironically" on the weekends. Then again, watching a live-action show on Saturday morning during the cartoon block while in college to see kids learn important life lessons probably negates the quotes, doesn't it? It's also not all about that show, but this is probably one of the essays that will weigh down a person that didn't live the show the most.Either way, it's a trip down memory lane for anyone that's lived it. For a good time, the Hypothetical Interlude can lead to a few good conversations with friends. Thus far, we're all against letting the gorilla play for the Raiders. Hilarity of the gorilla in uniform aside, we fear the accidental dismemberment of opposing players would be far too frequent to offset the enjoyment of primate in a helmet.
  • (3/5)
    Some of the essays are awesome and brilliant, and others are... just not. I loved This Is Emo (how John Cusack ruined love), What Happens When People Stop Being Polite (which made me want to watch the Real World), and Being Zack Morris. I'm a sucker for pop culture analysis. Other essays had a whole host of problems. Some of them, like Ten Seconds to Love were creepily misogynistic, and others were just uninteresting.
  • (5/5)
    the book that made Klosterman a commendable music journalist. he goes out there in this one, and it truly is a great look at pop culture on the time from the real world to rock n'roll. who knows with this guy other than you'll love his style. I read this when I was 18, my freshman year in college. ie ages ago