What I’ve Been Reading – Eating the Dinosaur

I read Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs with apprehension because it deserved apprehension. It’s a book of over-thought pop culture arguments, the ones you might expect having with a roomful of probably drunk college friends, and that reason alone gives one pause – are these arguments worth diving into over an entire book?

What I’ve Read:

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

But even more than that, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs was a guidebook for the geeky-but-not-quite legions of ironic thought: in essence, a rallying cry for those who found pleasure in debating the validity of Saved by the Bell’s influence simply because it was ironic to ever have considered Saved by the Bell influential at all.

Eating DinosaurUpon first read, I gave it two stars. A day later, I realized that I actually liked the book, and upgraded it to four.

I went into the book expecting to be annoyed by it. I was. And yet, I wasn’t. Because, let’s face it – those geeky-but-not-quite legions of ironic thought?

They’re my people. I’m probably one of them. *shudder*

Eating the Dinosaur, however, is different. It still follows the same patterns as Klosterman’s first essay collection, but it’s done in a way that’s both researched and filled with wisdom. These are no longer the essays of a college pop culture argument, but an almost Gladwell-ian look at the parts of pop culture that shape us.

Except that, unlike Malcolm Gladwell shaky attempts at the transitive property, Klosterman makes valid observations proven by common sense: The funniest shows are those without laugh tracks because we’re allowed to laugh for ourselves; voyeurism is natural and not at all creepy; football innovates specifically because it’s the most creative sport in the world.

It boils down to this: where Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs was a drunken romp through irrelevancy, Eating the Dinosaur is a buzzed discussion during after-work drinks.

Klosterman seems more grown up, is what I’m trying to get at. Thankfully. Because he’s better served that way.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 18th, 2010