In his new book of essays, Eating the Dinosaur, pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman posits that “as a species we have never been less human than we are right now.” Part of the reason why this has happened, he says, is that our growing consumption of media, movies, and entertainment has made it so that “we can’t really differentiate between real and unreal images.” He concludes that we thus, “no longer have freedom to think whatever we want.” For instance, the words, “basketball game,” instantly trigger a mental image of the NBA before (rather than?) a memory of a real experience. The Klosterman twist is that while “reading about Animal Collective on the Internet has replaced being alive,” he’s generally okay with this cultural and social development. I should add that he admits that the Unabomber’s Manifesto and its author had several really good and scarily prescient points.
In his second interview with /Film, many of Eating the Dinosaur‘s ideas are discussed within the context of modern television series like Mad Men and 30 Rock. We also discuss the significance of the odd documentary-style used on The Office and now Modern Family, and why he believes pop-culture writing/blogging on the internet unfortunately has become “an institutional voice” that rivals academia. Is this where I type, “Hopefully the next trailer is better?” For our first interview round with Chuck Klosterman, click here. For Klosterman’s updates on film adaptations of his books Fargo Rock City and Killing Yourself to Live, click here.
Hunter Stephenson: What’s your biggest problem with 30 Rock?
Chuck Klosterman: [pause] Does it seem like I have one?
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Any pop culture writer today worth a scan online has a unique opinion on Chuck Klosterman. The renown American author and journalist made a name for himself in the aughts with witty, hyper-informed contributions as a former senior writer and columnist at SPIN. In 2003, he released a bestselling book of essays about “low culture” under the title, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, that dissected, exploded, and—in the case of Saved By the Bell—meta-ized topics ranging from internet porn to why there’s only “one important question a culturally significant film can still ask: What is reality?” To readers with an eye on the future, Klosterman signaled not only the arrival of an adored critic amongst hipsters, TV junkies, and geeks; he was the aware embodiment of the modern intellectual turned as voracious consumer of entertainment. And ever since many a beer has been consumed by writers arguing over or coveting this appointment.
Post-Cocoa Puffs, Klosterman’s bibliography has grown to include several works of non-fiction as well as last year’s Downtown Owl, a well-received debut novel benefiting from word-of-mouth, not unlike how Puffs did (but with Tweets on top). His latest book, Eating the Dinosaur, is a characteristic essay collection that can be burned through in a night but also raises several troubling philosophical questions. In the first part of Klosterman’s interview with /Film, he elaborates on the role feted director Errol Morris played in a few of Dinosaur’s themes. We also discuss his opinion of movie junkets, the accelerated culture of movie blogs, and the film most comparable to Guns N’ Roses‘ Chinese Democracy. For the second round of the interview, click here.
Hunter Stephenson: Hi Chuck. So, are you in California to speak about the book?
Chuck Klosterman: I’m doing The Jim Rome Show on ESPN, and it’s in Huntington Beach, California. And I gotta say, it’s creepy as fuck out here man.
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Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing author and renown pop culture critic, Chuck Klosterman, for /Film on subjects ranging from whether or not Avatar will be the cinematic equivalent of Chinese Democracy to the abstract theory that our society is unconsciously working for Don Draper. I’ll be posting the results shortly, but for the time being, here is what Klosterman had to say regarding the film adaptations in development of his books Killing Yourself to Live and Fargo Rock City, the latter of which we reported on back in October. Interview excerpt after the jump…
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