Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs
A Low Culture Manifesto
by Chuck Klosterman

Well, this guy comes across as a real asshole sometimes, a college smarty pants edumacated revenge of the rock critic nerds asshole, but this is almost entirely forgiven by the fact that this material is so fucking hilarious. In this book, Chuck presents a series of essays on pop culture phenomena, (almost) each of which revolve around a central “low culture” thesis he’s trying to prove. Let’s break down Mr. Klosterman’s agenda here and evaluate the points he’s trying to make:

1. The media is constructing your ideas of what love is supposed to be.
Agree. The media is constructing all your ideas, morons.

2. “The Sims” game doesn’t seem to reflect real life?
No comment.

3. “The Real World” stopped being “real” after the first season because the participants knew what it was and started playing to the camera. Concurrently, in real life, people began to define themselves by the cookie cutter stereotypes the show presented. I.e. “The Gay,” “The Blonde Mormon,” etc.
No Comment I’ve never seen the real world.

4. Billy Joel is great.
Disagree. Billy Joel sucks and piano rock sucks.

5. Guns ‘n’ Roses cover band is cool.
Agree. At least this chapter is really cool, and very funny. Let’s take a deeper look at this one, shall we? I love what he says about riding in the van stoned:

Everyone is smoking pot, and it's the second strongest dope I've ever inhaled: I keep looking through the windshield, and the vehicle seems to be moving much faster than it should be. It feels like we're driving down an extremely steep incline, but the earth remains flat. I'm not the type who usually gets paranoid, but this is a bit disturbing.

I know exactly what he’s talking about!

6. Pamela Anderson is the perfect sexual icon for our times.
Agree, I suppose, but I don’t really care.

7. Soccer should not be lauded as the great international unifying sport “for everyone.”
Disagree. Fuck all sports.

8. The Lakers-Celtics rivalry is not just a metaphor for the American racial cold war, but for everything.
Good chapter, well researched, but again, fuck all sports.

9. The prevalence of amateur porn on the internet has not only made people comfortable with using the internet, it’s made them more comfortable with themselves.
Agree. I guess. I don’t watch amateur porn. I produce it. Except I don’t film it. Heh heh.

10. Cereal commercials teach us that anything desirable is supposed to be exclusionary.
Agree. Although I never would have made the breakfast cereal analogy, this is the low culture thesis which applies most directly to my life. It applies very directly to rock music and music scenes.

11. Saved by the bell wasn’t real, but neither was most of reality.
Never seen a full episode of Saved By The Bell. Don’t care.

12. Luke Skywalker = Generation X.

13. Reality can’t exist unless we know it’s there.
Uh, I don’t know what his point is supposed to be in this one. It seems like he was just trying to write about something for sake of typing. And talk about reading Entertainment Weekly in the bathroom.

14. New country music is good because it speaks to the experience of the modern working class American.
Disagree. That may be true, but that doesn’t make it good.

15. Serial killers are cool.

16. Everything you think you know about the media is wrong.
Why should I listen to you, Chuck? You're part of the media!

17. This chapter is about Chuck going to a music industry journalism conference at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. There isn't really anything to agree or disagree with.

18. Born again Christians are cool.
Disagree out of principal, but he makes a good point.

So you may think that I didn't like the book, considering how many of his main points I actually disagree with or don't care about. Just because I choose not to participate in too much so called "low culture" does not mean I am above participating in it's analysis. And it's a credit to Chuck's pulverizing wit and good humor that even though I hate sports, Christians, and mass culture phenomena, I still enjoyed this book very much, and took the time to review it in such an exhaustive manner. Perhaps now I will track down Fargo, Rock City.

OH WAIT! I forgot that little interlude part where he talks about how he hates "punk rock." First of all, people who call punk "punk rock" shouldn't be talking about it anyway, second of all, there are NO "shitty" Black Flag records, and third, fuck you. I'm throwing your book in the trash.

1 comment: