Last night: Chuck Klosterman | Rock Candy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last night: Chuck Klosterman

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 10:32 AM

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College kids love Chuck Klosterman. Last night, several hundred filled a lecture hall on the campus of UCA to near capacity. It was, somewhat surprisingly, a crowd that far overshadowed turnouts at the school for hipster-canonical writers like Michael Chabon and Dave Eggers in recent years, but then again they haven't written analytically about Britney Spears' vagina or Warrant.

When he talks, Klosterman gesticulates wildly and sounds like Quentin Tarantino doing a '30s gangster cliche voice. Like Edward G. Robinson in "Little Caesar" ("Reviewing 'Chinese Democracy' is like reviewing a unicorn, scheeee?). Which was weird, both in itself and in the jarring way that hearing a writer talk gives authorial voice a real, distinct sound, something lacking in most writing.

He also chomped cough drops all night.
For the bulk of his lecture, he posed a series of hypothetical questions taken from one of his essay collections but originally drawn, he said, from questions he'd ask people in bars as a way of starting conversation. Sort of pop-candy-coated armchair philosophical quandaries, like...

Your soul mate will have his or her collarbones broken with a blunt instrument every three years unless you take a pill that will make every piece of music you hear for the remainder of your life sound like Alice in Chains. What do you do?

As funny and provocative and revealing as most of the questions were, they were almost entirely reliant on good, audible answers. And in a big lecture hall with poor acoustics and audience of eager-to-be clever college kids, those were kind of few and far between. Or maybe more salient, they were never as interesting as Klosterman's riffs.

Those who had the patience to sit through that two hour sociology experiment (Klosterman loved it, BTW), were rewarded with with the riffs in a Q&A that veered from discussions on the polarizing nature of Rush (K: A chief appeal of rock 'n' roll is the our band could be your life sense of it; virtuosity, especially at the level, is often off-putting) to the state of mass media (K: crumbling).

Sadly, the peak of the talk did not reach these heights:

We raised our hand to ask a question. So, how do nerdy guys get chicks? "Well," Chuck said, "it's like this. You used to be able to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless people. Now, it's between hipsters and retards. I mean, either that guy in the corner in orange safety pants holding a protest sign and wearing a top hat is mentally disabled or he is the coolest fucking guy you will ever know."

via Daily Intel

Anybody go to the master classes today?

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