Ron’s #10: Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

My friend John recommended this book to me and I ordered it immediately. John is one of those guys who is smarter than most people, and he has an outstanding knowledge of literature, pop culture, and sports. I enjoy discussing opinions on 2 out of 3 of those topics, but I still don’t know what a running back does that differs him from a linebacker. After finishing this book, I understand why John enjoyed it—Klosterman is a doppelganger for John, an expert on all three of these areas.

Eating the Dinosaur is a collection of 13 essays about modern life discussed in terms of popular culture. Klosterman is the uber-hipster with a writing style that is sharp, funny, and biting. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Oh, the Guilt” connects Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain’s and David Koresh’s messiah complexes.
  • “Tomorrow Rarely Knows” is one of the best discussions on time travel that I’ve read.
  • “ABBA 1, World 0” about the phenomenon of ABBA Music
  • “ ‘Ha ha,’ he said. ‘Ha ha.’ ” discusses what the laugh track on sitcoms says about its viewers and our culture.
  • “FAIL” gives insight into the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski that I never before considered.

The power of this book is not reading about topics that I enjoy (advertising, Lost, time travel), but also about those subjects in which I usually steer clear from in choosing my literary selections. He has two essays that are sports related, one about Ralph Sampson and one about football. It was the longest piece dedicated to football plays that I’ve ever read..and I enjoyed it. The next time I talk to John, I’m going to discuss the feasibility of the 4-3 and Wildcat plays, and how the forward pass changed the face of football for good.

In the Ted Kaczynski piece, Klosterman offers this conclusion of the effects of technology that coincide with the Unabomber’s views:

Technology is bad for civilization. We are living in a manner that is unnatural. We are latently enslaved by our own ingenuity, and we have unknowingly constructed a simulated world. The benefits of technology are easy to point out (medicine, transportation, the ability to send and receive text messages during Michael Jackson’s televised funeral), but they do not compensate for the overall loss of humanity that is its inevitable consequence. As a species, we have never been less human than we are right now. And that (evidently) is what I want.

This is a clever collection of essays that will be worth your time to read.

About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

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