The next book added to our reading list is pop rock and culture writer Chuck Klosterman. We will be reading “Eating the Dinosaur.”
Review from Amazon:
Klosterman does not go for the easy joke here; although he is consistently and absurdly amusing. Neither is Eating the Dinosaur a mere collection of pop culture references; although Mad Men, Nirvana, ABBA, The Fog of War and other mentions abound. What raises this book to a 5 star rating is the author’s ability to weave humor and pop culture into genuinely insightful analyses of issues both important and sublime.
He starts with a very funny and equally revealing essay about why people answer questions during interviews. Just as the reader recognizes that this is not nearly as obvious a matter as it seems on first blush, Klosterman enters into a discussion of the nature of truth and of selfhood. Errol Morris contributes this gem: “I think we’re always trying to create a consistent narrative for ourselves. I think truth always takes a backseat to narrative.” (This would explain why each of my satellite radio news channels tells me about events in seemingly different worlds.)
Klosterman is less serious but just as interesting in exploring the challenges inherent in time travel. Even it were possible, he argues, the only reason to do so would be to eat a dinosaur.
His dissection of advertising through the medium of Mad Men and Pepsi is subtle and persuasive. He tries to convince us that we understand we are being conned by the ad. However, we reward the message that does the best job of setting the hook because we want to be a part of the process.
His best piece finishes the book and rather courageously tries to resurrect the Unabomber’s arguments in Industrial Society for the Future without creating any sympathy for Ted Kaczynski. Klosterman shows how 130,000 years of psychological evolution, in which men observed actual images, have been replaced in one century by mediated experience. The media that the author has made a living writing about has created a new and false reality. “We are latently enslaved by our own ingenuity, and we have unknowingly constructed a simulated world, ” concludes the author. “As a species, we have never been less human than we are right now.”
Our next several reads are:
June: Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
July: Quest for Justice, Richard Jaffe
The other suggestions from Carlee included:
- 50 Shades of Gray (yes she did)
- Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianch