Thursday, September 07, 2006

I have learned of the most amazing book today. It is called Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman. It is somewhat like Everything Bad Is Good For You, (Steven Johnson), except where Johnson discredits the idea that popular culture is degrading our society, Klosterman identifies the more hidden, (and likely more accurate), ways that this degradation is happening.


If you click on that link you can read a good portion of the first essay which is entitled "fake love" and attributes youthful disillusionment of true love to the fact that our expectations for love is totally based on fiction. In particular, he picks apart what I have referred to for years as "The John Cusack Complex." He basically blames John Cusack for ruining every relationship he's ever had. I love it. My version of the theory is a bit tangential. He poses that women want a Lloyd Dobbler, (or comparable John Cusack character), and therefor no actual relationship will ever live up to their ideal. My thought was that even if a woman had a Lloyd Dobbler she wouldn't be happy because he's boring, self-depricating and kind of annoying, and in actuality women do not want men who are super sensitive and content. Of course I'm the obvious exception. Because I have a warped perspective of the world.


From what I read of it, this book will totally jive with fiction readers for a number of reasons. For one, it relies so heavily upon references to pop culture and the fiction therein contained that you have to be a bit of a media whore to understand all the references, (which, admittedly, I don't). Secondly the language is brilliant, witty and clean. It would even be a quick read were it not 300 pages long.


To put a bit of the human element into this, I went to Amazon to buy it because I simply *had* to have it immediately, and had decided to throw caution to the wind with my debit card, (which is in a precarious financial situation at the moment). Then I get there to find that I still had enough in gift certificates to cover the book and shipping. Clearly it was meant to be. I'll be sure to give a review after reading more than just a few pages =).


Addendum
Okay, so I just found this in a review for the book by Brian Houle who does reviews for about.com:


"Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs reminds me of a drunken night out with friends discussing the parallels between Three's Company and the bible or recounting childhood rules of kickball or other such topics that occupy the minds of the over-educated, under-challenged class. On the way home that night you feel like you and your friends are the smartest, hippest group on earth, then in the morning you realize it was just drunken, meaningless rambling. Still, you feel that it was fun while it happened."

Why do I not feel offended that I probably fall into the "over-educated, under-challenged class?" Brian, I like those discussions, and the most accessible and pertinent forms of philosophy are based on them. So if I can read a book that replicates the feeling of a cozy long night with the over-educated it sure beats reading what is produced by the ignorant, (no offense, Mr. Houle, I'm just saying).

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