Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Eating the Dinosaur”

Alli’s #CBR4 Review #30: Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

I recently have been rewatching “The OC” (Don’t judge me!) and Seth Cohen was reading “Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” and that title alone seemed quite interesting but my library didn’t have it so I decided to read “Eating the Dinosaur” by Chuck Klosterman instead as it seemed intriguing as well. Even though it is not a buther’s guide to dinosaur meat, it is still a highly entertaining set of essays on a variety of topics that I highly enjoyed (except for the two about sports, but that is only because I hate sports).

Read the rest on my blog

TylerDFC #CBR4 Review#7 Eating the Dinosaur By Chuck Klosterman

The newest book of essays by Chuck Klosterman is worth a read if you are a fan but I don’t suggest it as an entry point for readers unfamiliar with Chuck’s writings. Klosterman first came to the scene with Fargo Rock City, a hilarious and insightful memoir about growing up in Fargo at the height of the 80’s power metal wave. Since then, each successive book has failed to reach that apex. Eating the Dinosaur has some interesting points, but ultimately I don’t think it accomplished what Klosterman set out to do.

The main theme of the book is perception. How we are perceived by others and how we perceive ourselves. Klosterman is always at his best when he is drilling deep into a pop culture connection that may not have been made before and the lead off essay, “Oh, the Guilt” is a prime example. In this, the longest piece in the book, Klosterman analyzes In Utero era Kurt Cobain & Nirvana and draws parallels to doomed Branch Davidian leader David Koresh. It is a smart and funny examination of the perils of fame and how two people as different as Koresh and Cobain may actually be more alike than expected. For anyone that is fascinated by pop culture phenomenon (and if you are reading Klosterman it is a requirement) this is a brilliant piece. His examination of In Utero, Nirvana’s controversial follow up to their break though smash Nevermind, is smartly researched and incisive. I’m a casual fan of Nirvana, I have all their albums yet I don’t think Cobain was a rock messiah, but Klosterman got to one of the things that always drove me nuts about post Nevermind Nirvana. Namely that Kurt still wanted to be seen as anti-establishment, and went to great pains to do so, even while he was a millionaire.

The majority of this review has been written about one 25 page essay in a book that has 15. This is because most of the others are not nearly as compelling. However, it may be that I just am not the target audience for all of them. One essay on 80’s basketball player Ralph Sampson went completely over my head, namely because I don’t watch (or like) pro basketball. Another sports essay on the rise of the Read Option in pro-football held my interest as Klosterman recounted the various changes to the game over the years.Klosterman is an extremely talented writer, but sometimes he seems to be writing to impress more than impart knowledge. The book is loaded with footnotes, and the occasional reference that may leave you scratching your head. That is unless you are familiar with Christian metal band Stryper as well as the works of Kierkegaard.

That is what is ultimately frustrating about Eating the Dinosaur. For every interesting insight, like the pervasive use of laugh tracks in early sitcoms and how they may have irrevocably altered our social interactions, there is one on road movies that is so light weight I’m not even sure what he was going for.

Still, there is enough good here that I recommend it if you have an interest in the same things that Klosterman finds interesting. If you are someone that has had conversations with your friends comparing and contrasting Appetite for Destruction & Use Your Illusion, or discussing the obstacles of time travel, or if you have ever read the Unabomber’s manifesto, you are in the Klosterman demographic. The essays are hit or miss but that likely depends entirely on the reader. The good is entertaining enough to outweigh the bad.

 

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