Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reading Rainbow: Chuck Klosterman IV

Continuing on until I have nothing left to read, I just finished Chuck Klosterman IV. Largely consisting of articles written elsewhere, the breadth of subject matter covered is far broader than in Fargo Rock City or Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (I've not yet read Killing Yourself to Live), but the depths plumbed in each of the others was greater. Essentially IV is Klosterman abridged. There's no problem with that, but as a collection of pop criticism it doesn't quite reach the level that the other two reach.

The first 150 pages or so consist of features he wrote on bands (mostly for Spin), and of particular note personally were the pieces on Radiohead and Jeff Tweedy. I was relieved to read that both seemed pretty damn cool outside of the music. There was also a great chapter about a ClearChannel sponsored Arena Rock cruise, featuring Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Journey, which sounds like it must have been ridiculous.

 Unfortunately, there was none of this guy...

The more I think about it, the more there was some really great shit in the book. His Esquire essays on random topics never ceased to entertain and usually served as means by which he could lay out criticism on seemingly everyone. His tragically flawed experiment to sit down and watch VH1 Classic for 24 straight hours is insanely funny. My main wish is just that there was something as tirelessly fleshed out as his analysis of the cultural significance of "Saved by the Bell" complete with The Tori Conundrum, which is asinine and shows that I'm a slave to my own expectations. I guess the bar was set pretty high there, though, and expectations can be a major distraction to what should otherwise be an very pleasurable experience, which Chuck Klosterman IV most definitely was.

1 comment:

KRD said...

After you conquer Klosterman, I suggest checking out Steve Almond. And Bill Buford, if you have never read Among the Thugs. (Heat is also amazing, but start with A the T.)

Seriously. I could just keep feeding you suggestions, and then, if you read them, I won't feel so lame about you having read the Klosterman novel before I even got myself a copy.

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