I read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klostermann last night. Recommend by E, and for whose benefit I’m writing this, I give it a thumbs up along with a verbal, “Meh.” As with my History of Rhetoric readings, I couldn’t help but get the sense of it telling me something I do know (albeit that his writing was a bit more humorous and maniac, both of which makes it leagues better in the entertainment department than those straight-laced oration transcripts). He tells us in so many words that Pam Anderson is the representation of our current culture, that advertising is bad but journalism is relatively okay, that the Left Behind series can be inane, and Radiohead is a mythic band worthy of shrines on street corners and in homes. [“Honey, have you relit the Radiohead lararium today?”]
I think he book-ended the essays well, starting with the strongest and ending with another strong one. I’ll admit to you right now, he talks about sports in two of the essays, during which my eyes glazed over and I just skipped them. I didn’t skip the part about how inane sports writing is, which noting the fabulous quotes that athletes (and some indie musicians…) do give, it didn’t really surprise me either. [I didn’t skip the Billy Joel tirade either…although, I’ll never get that time back and I really should have.]
Most interesting is that apparently Woody Allen has subconsciously sabotaged all of my relationships. I did not know this. Klostermann postulates (ooh, fancy grad level speak) that Allen made it alright for women to like “nebbish” (fun word) men and that sleeping with unattractive men okay. (Aha!)
He also goes on to remark on how he thinks it is a fallacy that relationships should have a cornerstone in the intelligent conversation domain. So in a way even intelligent conversations are essentially…vapid? I’m not sure if I can’t follow that to the end zone, even though whilst reading, I thought to myself that yes, damn this Woody Allen character. Shame on me for thinking that the exchange of ideas and the sincerity of words belies the true notion that intimacy can only be achieved through sweet, caring missionary sex.
I suppose that giving this a mostly positive review would be a bit misleading. You know what he’s going to say. If you’re worth your weight in salt you’ve talked about this at a coffee shop or after sex. Is Trent really gay? Is moral decay linked to causal sex? Does the in-depth conversation we’re having automatically make us a dating couple? Should I have sex with my best friend instead? Or, if you’re really truly brave and can withstand near riotous anger – is Radiohead is the most overrated band ever?
Giving Klostermann credit for saying what we thinking shouldn’t automatically give him an A. For effort perhaps, (for facilitating the publishing of other modern writers who have the balls to confront society?) but for content… perhaps only a C.