Recommended Reading – Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

3

 

From the kid who brought you Fargo Rock City — the first book in history to garner the praise of Stephen King, David Byrne, Donna Gaines, Sebastian Bach, Jonathan Lethem, and Rivers Cuomo — comes Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs — the first book in history to examine breakfast cereal, reality television, tribute bands, Internet porn, serial killers, and the Dixie Chicks.

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 a seemingly effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter. 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 of the 1980s, 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 movies, sports, television, music, books, video games, and kittens…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.'”There’s quite a bit of intelligent analysis and thought-provoking insight packed into the pages of Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, which is a little surprising considering how darn stupid most of Klosterman’s subject matter actually is. Klosterman, one of the few members of the so-called “Generation X” to proudly embrace that label and the stereotypical image of disaffected slackers that often accompanies it, takes the reader on a witty and highly entertaining tour through portions of pop culture not usually subjected to analysis and presents his thoughts on Saved by the Bell, Billy Joel, amateur porn, MTV’s The Real World, and much more. It would be easy in dealing with such subject matter to simply pile on some undergraduate level deconstruction, make a few jokes, and have yourself a clever little book. But Klosterman goes deeper than that, often employing his own life spent as a member of the lowbrow target demographic to measure the cultural impact of his subjects. While the book never quite lives up to the use of the word “manifesto” in the title (it’s really more of a survey mixed with elements of memoir), there is much here to entertain and illuminate, particularly passages on the psychoses and motivations of breakfast cereal mascots, the difference between Celtic fans and Laker fans, and The Empire Strikes Back. Sections on a Guns n’ Roses tribute band, The Sims, and soccer feel more like magazine pieces included to fill space than part of a cohesive whole. But when you’re talking about a book based on a section of cultural history so reliant on a lack of attention span, even the incongruities feel somehow appropriate. –John MoeFrom the kid who brought you Fargo Rock City — the first book in history to garner the praise of Stephen King, David Byrne, Donna Gaines, Sebastian Bach, Jonathan Lethem, and Rivers Cuomo — comes Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs — the first book in history to examine breakfast cereal, reality television, tribute bands, Internet porn, serial killers, and the Dixie Chicks.
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 a seemingly effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter. 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 of the 1980s, 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 movies, sports, television, music, books, video games, and kittens…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.'”

[ccw-atrib-link]


Share.

3
Leave a Reply

3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Westley

Tasy Cereal….but with an aftertaste “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” is an essay collection that draws comparisons between popular culture and important social and interpersonal issues. It also happens to be extremely witty at times. Chuck Klosterman is a writer for Spin magazine, so he clearly knows pop culture and can write quality essays. The best of his work here truly encapsulates life. Who cannot relate to this quote? – “Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the…

BrainiacRK "BrainiacRK"

Not a good book This book is terrible. Klosterman starts out with a few pages eluding to the fact that he is so superficially witty that he has been able to fool several attractive women into sleeping with him despite the fact that he apparently isn’t attractive. Congrats, buddy. I suppose his goal here was to assure the reader that he is absolutely shallow enough to cash in on this book despite its weak material. I guess, at the very least, that’s a trait I can identify with.Anyway, each chapter…

The Spinozanator "Spinozanator"

Nihilistic Rites of Passage I have a 30 yo barely single professional son. He says this book is his Bible – so I read it. What better way to find out who or what this boy worships?Klosterman is an entertaining writer, serving up a unique critique of post-modern popular culture. Although each essay contains a major theme, over 400 individual entries are in the index – songs, movies, personalities from all entertainment venues, sitcoms, concepts, rock bands, periodicals, organizations, events – even a little…