Sunday, January 24, 2010

Everyone Dies, Except for One

I gave Chuck Klosterman a second chance, after reading his overly pretentious and exhausting excuse for a "low culture manifesto" of the 90's, Sex, Drugs, And Cocoa Puffs. There were a few good points he made, but for the most part it's hard not to spite him, and not in the Holden Caulfield "you're such an asshole I love you" kind of way. I decided to give one of his novels a chance, and was pleasantly surprised.
In the town of Owl, North Dakota, where pop culture doesn't exist, teachers knock up students, and the Friday night highschool football game is all that matters, everyone only cares about what everyone else thinks of them, just like everywhere else. What no one may realize, however, is that no one thinks anything about anyone else, because they're trying too hard to cling to what they percieve as normalcy. As a reoccurring theme throughout the book, the town is thought of not as a dystopia, or a utopia, just a 'topia'. Not quite on the level of Vonnegut, but I'm sure Klosterman thinks so. heh. Should you read it? Yes.

Here's an excerpt from what the town "cool guy" was thinking:
"I am worshipped by the stupidest people in the world. I can't openly complain about this, but I'm totally aware of it. It's disturbing to be the center of another person's universe, especially if you've never interacted with that person in any meaningful way. Their misplaced adoration makes them seem foolish and immature, so you cannot reciprocate their respect. It instantaneously makes the relationship unbalanced. And this imbalance makes you feel guilty, so you start to unconsciously resent the idolization. Over time, you find yourself hating people for loving you too much, which seems like a terrible thing to do. So you worry about those feelings of hatred all the time, and you wonder if maybe you're a jackass. Because it's not their fault. They're just confused."

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