Review: Chuck Klosterman – Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture ManifestoSex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was so going to five-star this book. The first few essays were laugh-out-loud observation. I was with Klosterman all the way when he talked about love and the nonsense of it all. When he came up with a long ramble about the Sims, (the prehistoric computer game), and the relation of the characters created to real life, I forgot I we were down on love and romance and decided I wanted to have Chuck Klosterman’s babies.

The third essay dealt with the social commentary to be derived from an MTV programme I’d never seen, The Real World, and I began to drift. It wasn’t that I was unfamiliar with the show. I’ve never played the Sims either, and Klosterman is easily good enough as a writer to fill in the cultural gaps. It’s just the ideas in the piece didn’t hack it for me, and the humour seemed to have taken a back seat to supposedly tongue-in-cheek societal observation delivered with a tad too much sincerity. But hey, one duff essay, so what? Klosterman was still a genius, and I was still willing to have his babies provided he let me have the odd affair when he wasn’t on form.

Only it never came back.

I don’t know if it was Klosterman who drifted out of the zone or me, but with his commentary on Billy Joel as a social phenomenon, or sport, or even pornography, he’d lost me… or I’d lost him. And I don’t mean a little. Neither of us was anywhere to be found as I ploughed my way through a dozen pieces that left me cold but with a nagging feeling I ought to be laughing at something I could no longer find, or resonating with some off-the-cuff observation, or remembering the odd quote for later use should I ever happen to find myself at a party. So the book dropped to a four-star, thence to a three, not because it got worse – it didn’t – but because it never got better. By the end I’d lost hope that whatever I’d found in those first two essays I’d find again, and my eyes did their thing with my brain trying not to think about shopping lists.

I guess the only way I could find out what happened back there would be if I were to pick it up and read it all again but sorry, no. That ain’t gonna happen.

Sorry, Chuck. I was with you there. So deeply and passionately with you, heart and soul.

But it just wasn’t to be.

2 thoughts on “Review: Chuck Klosterman – Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

    • I would be most curious to know what you think. I’m still wondering whether it was me who abandoned the field, or Klosterman. It was a strangely sudden change in my response to him.

      It may be you get on somewhat better with him for familiarity with some of the cultural references, but I don’t feel that’s the problem.

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