I’ve come to realize that while I think this is a fantastic book, I do not agree with Klosterman on a substantial amount of his beliefs. The thing that I enjoy is that he seems to firmly believe in them (or he’s entirely full of shit and is selling us something). So while what he says is not the truth (e.g. when he insists that people born after a certain year didn’t grow up watching Saved by the Bell when pretty much everyone I know did), it is compelling because he has a certain charisma that makes reading his words, to use an overused Kaplan training phrase, delight-ful. Here’s another quote/rant:
“This being the case, it’s clear that Luke Skywalker was the original Gen Xer. For one thing, he was incessantly whiny. For another, he was exhaustively educated -via Yoda- about things that had little practical value (i.e.*1*, how to stand on one’s head while lifting a rock telekinetically). Essentially, Luke went to the University of Dagobah with a major in Buddhist philosophy and a minor in physical education. There’s not a lot of career opportunities for that kind of schooling; that’s probably why he dropped out in the middle of the semester. Meanwhile, Luke’s only romantic aspirations are directed toward a woman who (literally) looks at him like a brother. His dad is on his case to join the family business. Most significantly, all the problems in his life can be directly blamed on the generation that came before him, and specifically on his father’s views about what to believe (i.e.*1*, respect authority, dress conservatively, annihilate innocent planets, etc.).
-Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, pg. 152
*1* This is another example of what I mean. I’m pretty sure that he means “e.g.” in both of these situations. But instead of thinking about factual accuracy, he’s more focused on his crazy idea that would probably be very amusing at a roof party at 2 am while drunk.4 years ago
“Whenever I hear intellectuals talk about sexual icons of the present day, the name mentioned most is Madonna. That seems like a good answer, and it’s the kind of answer Madonna has worked very hard to perpetuate. Earning that title was her only career goal. But Madonna’s not even close to representing contemporary sexuality in any important fashion. She tries way too hard, and it never seems honest. It’s very telling that the two best songs in Madonna’s catalog-“Like a Virgin” and “Like a Prayer”- are titled after similes. Her whole career is a collection of similes: Madonna is like a sexual idol, but that’s just the plot for her self-styled promotional blitz. When she overtly attempted to embody Marilyn Monroe in the video for “Material Girl,” Madonna got the dance steps perfect but completely missed the message: That song suggests that sex is about money, and that sex is about power, and that sex is about getting what you want. Well, fine. That’s how it is with Madonna. But with the original Monroe, sex was about sex. It was completely without guile or intellect. Being a sexual icon is sort of like being the frontman for an Orange County punk band: As soon as you can explain why you’re necessary, you’re over.”
-Chuck Klosterman, Sex Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, pg. 834 years ago