It's like this guy crawled into my head, took notes, and wrote a book about it.
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto is a collection of essays by Chuck Klosterman, a writer for Spin magazine and an up-and-coming Public Radio storyteller (I stumbled across this book by way of an episode of This American Life). Klosterman examines things of importance to (or at least, things noticed by) the MTV Generation with an extremely cynical (but loving) eye as well as focusing on some more contemporary targets.
Right off the bat we're given an opportunity to see what kind of a strange ride this collection of essays is going to be: the cover shows little multicolored pills floating in a cereal bowl filled with (what else?) milk. The book's table of contents is set up to look like a track listing from a mix tape, running times and all.
Klosterman's topics seems mostly stuck in the late nineties but I really don't have a problem with that; there's something to be said for a few years perspective. He takes stabs at The Real World, Billy Joel and Pamela Anderson, while drifting a bit closer to the present with the Dixie Chicks and The Sims. He even writes about sports.
That was where I realized I'd stumbled across something special. I don't follow sports. I don't play sports. The closest I get to sports is the muted television in my local bar that I can't quite ignore. The last baseball player I can name with any degree of certainty is Don Mattingly, a man who, to my complete and utter shock, was just recently introduced to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Generic-man notes that Mattingly isn't, in actuality, a member of said hall of fame. I believe this further proves my point.
Klosterman made me read about sports. And you know what? I liked it. I mean, I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but I think I understood the basic point. Not a bad trick, that.
From a personal perspective, the freakiest thing about this book is how familiar his literary voice is to me. He's a little bitter, a little cynical and with a wicked sense of humor. He swears rhythmically and repetitively, makes absurd logical leaps and defends things no sane man should (like, for instance, Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series, books that Anne LaMott once called hard-core right-wing paranoid anti-Semitic homophobic misogynistic propaganda - not to put too fine a point on it.)
I identify with this guy. That's probably a large chuck of what I find appealing about this collection, but there's more to it than that. Klosterman has the kind of narrative voice that keeps you reading, a voice so lyrical it softens up his opinions which, as I've said, are a bit twisted. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is an extremely quick and enjoyable read and is probably one of the better ways to spend an afternoon.
Just so you get the idea, I'll leave you with a quote:
Coldplay manufactures fake love as frenetically as the Ford fucking Motor Company manufactures Mustangs, and that's all this woman heard. "For you I bleed myself dry," sang their blockhead vocalist, brilliantly informing us that stars in the sky are, in fact, yellow. How am I going to compete with that shit? That sleepy-eyed bozo isn't even making sense. He's just pouring fabricated emotions over four gloomy guitar chords and it ends up sounding like love. And what does that mean? It means she flies to fucking Portland to hear two hours of amateurish U.K. hyper-slop, and I sleep alone in a $270 hotel in Manhattan, and I hope Coldplay gets fucking dropped by fucking EMI and ends up like the
Stone fucking Roses, who were actually a better fucking band, all things considered.
quoted from an excerpt in the Denver Post, found in Google's cache of www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%25257E27%25257E1560095,00.html+%22sex,+drugs+and+cocoa+puffs%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8