On April 19, 1993, nearly 80 people were killed in a standoff between the federal government and the Branch Davidians religious sect after the group’s compound burned down. At the center of it all: David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians and a self-proclaimed prophet. Koresh was facing allegations of child abuse and illegal arms stockpiling and barricaded himself in the compound when agents came with a warrant for his arrest. Thus began a 51-day standoff known as the Waco siege that still draws polarizing reactions from Americans today.
With former heartthrob Taylor Kitsch taking on the role of Koresh, those polarizing reactions are sure to continue through Paramount Network’s Waco miniseries, which just unveiled its first trailer for the six-part show.
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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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