I have to say this was one of the most surprisingly in depth books I have read in a while. To be rather honest, this wasn’t really a book that was on my list to read but as soon as I saw the title I knew there had to be something interesting there. Now, I am not saying I was judging the book by its cover but when it came recommended to me by a trusted fellow reader, I was sold!
First off, this book is a reading for people who do not read. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing but the voice of the author could be anyone who has knowledge of American pop-culture with a little bit of pizazz. Not to sound highbrow or anything but the first few chapters, although extremely entertaining, felt as though they were empty.
It becomes clear that Klosterman is familiar with all things Pop-culture as he spits out his thoughts about: reality television, computer games, Star Wars, MTV, Pamela Anderson and porn. He does so in the least academically correct way possible, not that the title setup any kind of academic expectation but still, there are moments that you are caught off guard by the language use in the book.
The content of the book has a lot of relatable points for example, Klosterman’s experience with the SIMS life games. The SIMS life games are a computer game series I use to be obsessed with when I was younger (12-13) and when I say obsessed… I am not kidding. I remember there was about a good month and a half, after I had initially purchased the game that I wasn’t even sleeping at night. I was so completely sleep deprived and obsessed with wanting to have the perfect house, the perfect family and the perfect furniture. The worst part of it all was that the game was just like in real life, there weren’t any levels or any real end to the game either! The game for whatever reason sparked an immense desire to fulfill some kind of weird need to collect cyber perfection. It wasn’t until the Sims cheats came-out online that I was able to slowly get off the game because of course, once you have all the simillions (the currency in Sims) you want in the Sims world, you see how pointless it all is.
And yet it wasn’t until Klosterman touched on this very point and this very game that I understood what he was doing with the entire book. The book is disguised to appear as an analysis of pop-culture but what it actually does is explore in-depth philosophical questions about life in a way that an average Joe can understand. By utilizing low-culture standpoints and pop-culture references, Klosterman does something brilliant! He gets the reader to THINK!
“The work of turning philosophical topics into pop-cultural comic provocation is an art. Take an old-fashioned ethical dilemma: do you accept pain to loved ones or sacrifice yourself? This question gets framed with a hypothetical criminal who “will break both of your soulmate’s collarbones” unless you swallow “a pill that will make every song you hear – for the rest of your life – sound as if it’s being performed by Alice in Chains”. The utilitarian challenge of pain to one, for the greater good of the many? It’s turned into the choice of kicking a Clydesdale to death for the release of Amnesty International prisoners of conscience worldwide.” – Mark Greif
Once I got what Klosterman was doing with the book, I was impressed. I think he has done an outstanding job putting this book together and it sure was more interesting than any other philosophy book I’ve ever read! I would absolutely recommend that you all read it but be warned there are a lot of pop-culture references and patience is required through some chapters as Kushman likes to comically rant a lot.
That’s it for my book of the week! Let me know in the comments below if you have read this book and what your thoughts were 🙂