Tuesday, March 27, 2007


"Elitists go to operas they don't understand because it makes them feel separate from the rest of society; blue-collar drunks watch pro wrestling for the exact same reason."
Chuck Klosterman--Fargo Rock City

I've been on a Chuck Klosterman kick recently, having read in the last few weeks both Chuck Klosterman IV and Fargo Rock City, and in the last months Killing Yourself to Live. This reading has elicited many laughs and more nods of agreement than I can count. Klosterman is a witty, involving, creative writer whose take on popular music can sustain my interest even when I know nothing about the music he's discussing - a rare feat. But the biggest "aha" moment for me, the quote that elicited the biggest nod of agreement, was the above. I love the notion that those who would disdain popular culture for high art they really have no passion for (or even real understanding of) are no better (or worse) than those who embrace empty culture precisely because of its emptiness. Klosterman can embrace art that many consider unworthy with the best of them (Fargo is after all about 80s heavy metal), so the quote shouldn't be taken as a shot at any common-appeal pop culture. But it should be taken a a shot against the willful embrace of either the high or the low in defiance of the middle. The bottom line is that I know people who fall into both camps, and Klosterman's accusation that their real goal is to set themselves as apart from the rest - either by deliberately declaring their tastes to be "higher" or "lower" than the rest of society's is head-on.

Read more Klosterman. It'll do 'ya good.

Until Whenever

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