Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs*
*A Low Culture Manifesto
Lately I've been mentioning to people that I'm reading Chuck Klosterman's books. Everyone seems to have read this book, if not his others. I was wondering why I missed out on this slice of pop culture. I think I know now. By the time it came out in paperback, every weekend I was driving to Detroit and sleeping on the couches of friends and going to shows; at the time I was the only person living in East Lansing in their mid-twenties who was not married or not enamoured with sports bars. It would be amazing if I ever lived in the same city as my friends. While I bought a lot of books I didn't read too many of them. I think it's good I didn't read Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs because I might not have read the other two Klosterman books I read before this. I might have, but I might not have. He's great at discussing the minute details that form the core existence of people my age (most of us watched Saved by the Bell, have some conscious of Sims, listened to bands like R.E.M. and Billy Joel and the Dixie Chicks, saw Reality Bites, etc.) but as he's written more, he's gotten better at it. The track on cereal is first rate and full of acute observations (that's right- all those creatures wanted to steal cereal- what is up with that?) The front pages includes a CD and the stories song titles and play times. Klosterman draws a distinction between a mix tape and a mix cd, placing the mix tape in a higher category. This book is an enjoyable mix cd, the other two are mix tapes.
-(life)- "...nothing stays the same and that nothing is inherently connected, and that the only driving force in anyone's life is entropy. The second is that everything pretty much stays the same (more or less) and that everything is completely connected, even it we don't realize it..."
-"...I am alone. And that everyone is alone. I guess I am not a morning person."
-"an evening book"
-"The goal of being alive is to figure out what it means to be alive, and there is a myriad of ways to deduce that answer" (low culture vs. Kant or Wittgenstein)
1- "No woman will ever satisfy me....But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a woman, either."
3- (movies) "We will both measure our relationship against the prospect of fake love."
-assessment of Coldplay
4- "...perfect illustration of why almost everyone I know is either overtly or covertly unhappy."
-"They think everything will work out perfectly in the end..."
-"The main problem with mass media is that it makes it impossible to fall in love with any acumen of normalcy."
6- footnote- Jordan Catalano from MSCL not being able to read
9- (When Harry Met Sally) "it gave a lot of desperate people hope."
-"Nora Ephron accidentally ruined a lot of lives."
13- (SIMS) "There is no way to win, except to keep yourself from becoming depressed."
15- "Seinfeld was about nothing, but its underlying message was that nothingness still has a weight and a mass and a conflict."
16- quotes Talking Heads lyrics
-"video technology cages imagination"
19- "I never enjoy the process of buying anything, but I get the impression that most Americans love it. What the Sims suggests is that buying things makes people happy because it takes their mind off being alive."
36- definition of postmodern
41- (Big Brother not having music) "...without a soundtrack, human interaction is meaningless."
44- (Billy Joel, important songs, loneliness) "And it's not 'clever lonely' (like Morrissey) or 'interesting lonely' (like Radiohead); it's "lonely lonely," like the way it feels when you're being hugged by someone and it somehow makes you sadder."
-"Black Sabbath is the most underrated band in rock history."
45- "Cheap Trick was good at being cool for everybody."
65- Black Sabbath
70- Rivers Cuomo- "the Cubism didactic-hobo-core three-piece"
102- "This is why men need to become obsessed with things: It's an extroverted way to pursue solipsism. We are able to study something that defines who we are; therefore, we are able to study ourselves. Do you know people who insist they like 'all kinds of music'? That actually means they like no kinds of music."
104- (cars- the IROC and Chevy Cavalier make their first appearance- because of my car it seems I fall into the Celtics fan category but it does have 2 doors, not 4)
119- Sylvester Graham!!!! [former resident of the building that houses Sylvester's in Northampton]
120- "Saturday morning commercials for all the best cereals are teaching kids how to figure out what's cool."
121- "They're the first step in the indoctrination of future hipsters: cereal commercials teach us that anything desirable is supposed to be exclusionary."
-"premise that a given cereal is so delicious that a fictional creature would want to steal it."
124- "The desire to be cool is- ultimately- the desire to be rescued. It's the desire to be pulled from the unwashed masses of society."
125- 3 questions [#1- No, #2 No, #3A]
127- mix tapes vs. mix cds
128- Saved by the Bell- "people born between 1970 and 1977 [you're wrong here- 1978 factors in too]
130- "I watched it because it was on TV, which is generally the driving force behind why most people watch any program."
-"universities always spawn little cultures of terrible TV appreciation..." [yes!]
133- "Important things are inevitably cliche."
138- Angela, My So Called Life- "But Angela was so much an individual that she wasn't like anyone but herself; she didn't reflect any archetype. She was real enough to be interesting, but too real to be important." [but this is why she was so great]
140- "Life is chock full of lies, but the biggest lie is math."
147- Reality Bites- Gen Xers- cynical optimists [I owned this soundtrack on tape]
-"This is why Ryder has to pick Hawke."
-"She pursued a path that was difficult and depressing and she did so because it showed the slightest potential for transcendence."
156- (films) "What is Reality?"
161- forgetting stuff- "The strength of your memory dictates the size of your reality."
167- "...The most wretched people in the world are those who tell you they like every kind of music 'except country.'"
167- but not "old country"
173- "Tastee Freezes are iconic structures in the rural Midwest, because they say something about your hometown; they irrefutably prove your community does not have enough of a population to sustain a Dairy Queen." [Williamston did have a Dairy Queen when I lived there]
175- "lyrics do matter"
176-177- Bob Dylan and Liz Phair cds
178- Johnny Cash- coffee
183- Esprit t-shirts
185- Gacy and mail
194- (list of people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing] "...that virtually everyone's life is only remembered for one thing."
-"I think this is what motivates people to have children...."
211- acquaintance" "'There's one thing worse than talking to a person who knows about nothing,'" he said, 'an that's talking to someone who knows about nothing except music.'"
219- "dying is always original"
229- "As far as I can tell, the nicest thing you can say about children is that they haven't done anything terrible yet."
230- Kierkegaardian leap