I just finished reading Chuck Klosterman’s latest book, Eating the Dinosaur and i didn’t like it. Before i get into why i didn’t like it, i do want to say that i thought his essays
about Kurt Cobain (Oh, the Guilt) and Garth Brooks (The Passion of Garth) to be really interesting. Also, the Time Machine and Abba essays were okay. I then had somewhat of a problem with the rest. I have 4 main reasons.
The first and main reason i didn’t like the book is this: Chuck writes about what he’s interested in. His past books were about Rock N Roll, Reality TV, Billy Joel, Dixie Chicks and other things. They had an interesting take on items i liked and were very familiar with. These essays expanded my thinking on these topics. For example, i had never realized that the Dixie Chicks were that similar to 80’s Van Halen, nor had i thought about how Billy Joels was a unique kind of cool different than almost all other rock stars (on a coolness range from white to black, he’s an orange). Also, past essays celebrated both the subjects and the concepts. The current essays are about philosophical views on the world. He asks questions and makes statements about society such as,
- Why we like or hate people who fail
- Why we interact with popular advertising in the manner we do
- Why Chuck hates laugh tracks in TV shows and america’s approach to humor
- Why NFL Football is great
- Why watching people (voyeurism) is exciting: (because there’s a possibility for anything to happen)
These are the topics of this book and they are just nowhere close to as interesting as his previous topics. His book of interviews, IV, had a great interview with Val Kilmer. Nothing here touches that.
Reason number 2 for not liking this book is that there are lots of quotes in the book. For some reason my Kindle never shows who says these quotes. That makes them WAY less interesting and just frustrating. Don’t read this book on a kindle.
My third reason is that I didn’t like the prose. I think i know why this is. I’ve tracked down Kloserman on podcasts and now seen him speak twice. I know what he sounds like in person. So much so that i now hear his voice talking when i read his text. Do you know when you notice someone is saying the word “like” too much and all of the sudden you find yourself pay attention to them actually say the work “like” over and over instead of whatever it is they are trying to say? Well, this happens with me and Chuck. He uses the words “idiom’ and italicizes his word “must” and i can hear his emphasis. It bothers me. Maybe i’ve just read too much of his stuff.
Finally, the last essay in the book is about his dislike of technology and I completely disagree with his opinion regarding the Internet. He has a part in the book where he criticizes anyone who publicly praises the internet because he argues they only like it because it now makes them relevant. He says,”the only people who insist the internet is wonderful are those who need it to give the life meaning.” I can’t begin to say how wrong that stance is.
At the end, Klosterman comes off as a guy who is just bitter that the world is changing. He reminds me of people who refuse to watch television, won’t own cell phones and only listen to music on vinyl. Grow up.