Friday, October 23, 2009

Reviewing Eating the Dinosaur

Eating the Dinosaur
Published: Oct. 20, 2009

Chuck Klosterman, depending on your opinion, is either a brilliant and hilarious cultural critic or a self-indulgent and trivial asshole. His latest book, Eating the Dinosaur, will only seek to magnify the opinion you hold of him.

I happen to be one of those people that thinks Klosterman is the former. But this is probably because after reading Fargo Rock City, I’ve come to believe he and I had roughly identical childhood experiences. And if Klosterman and I are so similar, I could never admit that he’s an asshole. It’s true that he tended to gloss over the sexism of metal when writing, City, his fanboy manifesto on the genre, but I’m willing to forgive it since Mötley Crüe played a similarly important role in my teenage years.

Dinosaur incidentally doesn’t actually contain anything about dinosaurs and is Klosterman at the peak of what he does best: writing rambling yet pointedly funny essays on pop culture and news events. The topics in Dinosaur range from Mad Men to NBA giant1 Ralph Sampson to ABBA to the siege at Waco, Texas to Garth Brooks to the Unabomber to a meta analysis of the concept of the interview. There definitely isn’t a plot, a unifying theme, or even a question that Klosterman sets himself up to answer. But he does carry the reader on a rather entertaining and thought-provoking journey through some of the key components of culture today. Some are enlightening, others are silly, but they are all entertaining.

In short, reading this book is roughly what I believe sitting with Klosterman for several hours at the bar would be like. Klosterman, if you’re reading this, I’ll buy the next round.

8 out of 10 bets that Klosterman drinks Budwiser non-ironically

1. In this case, the word "giant" should be applied to Sampson in the literal sense. His NBA performance was ultimately disappointing thanks to his injuries, but the man was 7-foot-4.

Part of Campus Progress' weekly Under Review roundup.

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