I’m going to make a generalization: There are two types of people in the world, those who enjoy Chuck Klosterman and those who don’t know who he is. In my experience this is wholly truthful conclusion to come to, although I have no idea why?
I enjoy reading Klosterman’s books as do others, of this I am certain. But I have never, as of yet, had an encounter with a person who read is work and didn’t like it. This just seems like a natural lead in to a book review of Chuck Klosterman’s Eating the Dinosaur, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Like some of his other books, this is a collection of essays, 15 to be exact. Ranging in topics and full of humour, truth and wit. It starts out with “Something Instead of Nothing,” an essay about interviewing and truth. This particular essay creates a lot for me (and you should you have read it or choose to read it) to think about. In this 24-hour news cycle, interviews happen all the time. Turn on the TV, go in the internet, read a newspaper and you will find an interview. Is there truth?
In “Oh, the Guilt,” Klosterman paints a very unique and viable connection between Kurt Cobain and David Koresh. He points out 15 unavoidable dilemmas about time travel in “Tomorrow Rarely Knows,” and leads us down an interesting path on perception and memory in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Ralph Sampson.”
“The Best Response” is just a collection of responses from famous people in ridiculous circumstances. This chapter has no commentary, except that he prefaces the response within the context to what a person said or did. He doesn’t mention any names, but for the most part, if you haven’t lived under a rock for the last quarter century, you know who’s talking. I found this chapter particularly amusing, as I had never really been privy to the full response of some of those individuals.
“Football” is a classic essay for people who enjoy the, arguably new, American pastime, and for those who don’t know much about it. I, for one, found his insights very fresh and not something that the average fan would take that much time to consider. He does admit to watching a lot of football, both college and pro, and so do I, which is why I completely agree with him. Although, I never thought to think of the sport like that before.
“Through a Glass, Blindly” is about people watching. “The Passion of the Garth” is an amazing take on what happens when people reinvent themselves and “Going Nowhere and Getting There Never” is a great look into the meaning of the road trip. “ABBA 1, World 0” is an amazing look into what happens when an artist is content with their work. “It Will Shock You How Much It Never Happened” is about advertising and is so on point, one could easily come to the thought, and I did, that Mr. Klosterman could have a second career as a marketer, should he choose to do so.
In “‘Ha ha,’ he said. ‘Ha ha.'” he made me feel unique. The essay is about the laugh track in media, and to his point, I tend to laugh when something is funny, regardless of whether I hear others laugh or not. This I have come to realize makes me a little odd, as people seem to think I don’t get jokes, but in truth, sometimes they just aren’t funny, it has nothing to do with whether I got it or not.
“All The Kids are Right” is an captivating insight into the mainstream media of today, especially coming from Klosterman, an amazing entertainment journalist. “T Is for True” expands one’s understanding of what you’re really consuming, when you hear anything from anyone, especially artists or celebrities (politicians included).
“FAIL” the last essay in the book is an insight into technology and freedom. This essay also happens to contain one of my favorite lines in the book,
“most jobs are social and many are enriching and unnecessary.”
So, should you read this book? If you like Klosterman, you probably already have, if not what are you waiting for? If you don’t know who Klosterman is, then this could be a book for you. Having laid out all of the essays, it is entirely possible at least a few will peak your interest. If you do get the book, may I suggest the paperback, it has a very short conversation in the back with the author that is very well done.
Read the Secret File of technical information and quotes from Eating the Dinosaur.