You probably didn’t read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, and so by extension you probably didn’t have any interest to read Eating the Dinosaur.
Unlike most of the books I mention on here, Klosterman does not write books that would ever find a home in a seminary bookstore. However, I think they might just find a home on the thoughtful theologian’s bookshelf.
For theologians who consider culture to be a book worth reading alongside nature and Scripture, Klosterman, in my opinion, can’t be beat for the perspective he offers. There are Christians who are thinking and writing about culture in a thoughtful manner, but there aren’t any that can give you a genuine non-Christian perspective on pop culture that is as self-aware as Klosterman’s.
In the down time between writing thesis chapters, I had been re-reading my way through Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and even used one of the essays for research. That particular essay uses Vanilla Sky for a launching pad for Klosterman to explain why he thinks the question “What is reality?” is the only viable philosophical question filmmakers have to use. If not that question, Klosterman sees the underlying question “How do we know what we know?” to be the other option, and he sees Memento to be the quintessential film in this regard. He points out that these films rarely do well commercially, but I wonder how he feels about the success of Inception.
In reading through Eating the Dinosaur, there is an essay on the viability of time travel, and one of the cinematic examples he discusses in Twelve Monkeys. He humorously mentions in passing that if you’ve seen this film more than twice you are probably a Calvinist, which is both funny because he knows that Calvinists are known for a certain view of predestination, and ironic because Klosterman basically holds a similar view of time, and even puts forward an argument election to salvation being unconditional (if he believed in salvation). Along with that, Klosterman makes the argument for total depravity based on the behavior of children, a point which comes up in his review essay of the first Left Behind book, which I think everyone who got caught up (see the pun there?) in the release of those books ought to read.
So, here’s the deal. Getting into Klosterman is pretty easy, especially if you have a Kindle. If you don’t, just download the app for your iPhone, or if that’s a no go, just get it for your desktop. Then, you can read an individual essay or two (or one of the collections below) and if you like it, save yourself some money and get the books. I do have to at least warn you, if books had a rating, these would be somewhere between PG-13 and R (mostly the latter). If you’re a weaker brother, or if you’re just a younger brother, then these books aren’t for you. They may not be for you even if you’re neither of those designations. Not everyone will appreciate Klosterman’s writings.
But, if you’re like me, you will find them fascinating and insightful in spite of the vulgarity, and might just wish you could think that critically about culture from a Christian perspective. If you want to grab a collection on Klosterman sorted by topic, here’s what he’s got:
- Chuck Klosterman on Pop
- Chuck Klosterman on Sports
- Chuck Klosterman on Media and Culture
- Chuck Klosterman on Living and Society
- Chuck Klosterman on Film and Television
- Chuck Klosterman on Rock
And if you just want a good individual essay (beyond the one mentioned) to draw you in, consider these:
- If you ever watched Saved by the Bell
- If you’re a fan of the Lakers or Celtics
- If you geek out about Star Wars
- If you’re religious about football
- If you like every genre of music except country
Its summer, and its the weekend, so which one of these are you going to read?