Review

Eating the Dinosaur

by Chuck Klosterman

On the back of EATING THE DINOSAUR, a question is posed: "Should
I read this book?" The answer really does sum up what you will find
between these covers: "Probably. Do you see a clear relationship
between the Branch Davidian massacre and the recording of Nirvana's
In Utero? Does Barack Obama make you want to drink Pepsi?
Does ABBA remind you of AC/DC? If so, you probably don't need to
read this book. You probably wrote this book." And since I know and
you know that you didn't, you might just need to read this
book.

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and his fascination with a particular
group of women, Garth Brooks and his doppelganger, “Mad
Men,” football, Ralph Nader --- anything that makes up some
semblance of pop culture within the scope of the last decade is
viable fodder for Chuck Klosterman's famously erudite take on what
makes our commercial world go around. It includes politics, the
arts, sports and advertising --- nothing is out of his reach. Like
the Gorillaz's song “Clint Eastwood,” "the future is
coming on," and Klosterman lays out his clean, shiny instruments,
ready to dissect whatever comes his way.

There's a good chance that you won't read all the essays in one
sitting --- like a great magazine article, you will want to savor
one at a time, delving into it several times to soak up all the
multivarious responses Klosterman has to simple questions such as
the ones posed above. Using Aristotelian logic to understand a new
Pepsi campaign is fascinating stuff in his hands. Like a Lego
master, he takes each little issue apart and really looks at it,
ending up with a snarky but intelligent creation, standing on its
own as a little bit of pop culture enthusiasm to which we can all
refer in 10 years' time when we're trying to remember why something
made such a big imprint on all of us (like “Mad
Men”).

Personally, I most like Klosterman because he gives weight and
credence to things that I like to think about but that may not seem
like the types of things adults should spend their precious time
considering. But advertising campaigns, TV shows and alternative
rock albums are so much a part of my daily life, my personal quilt
of culture, that I appreciate greatly the import that Klosterman
provides. He makes me feel not quite as ridiculous as I can, as the
world collapses around me and I spend time reading the Twitter feed
of Betty Draper, a character I feel like I know but who doesn't
really exist.

Am I an idiot? No, just a plugged-in member of the general pop
culture, just like the Unabomber and The Foo Fighters and the new
coach of the Notre Dame football team. Klosterman may be EATING THE
DINOSAUR, but really we're just savoring the fossils of our own
time; like Pepsi, it's fun AND delicious.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 21, 2011

Eating the Dinosaur
by Chuck Klosterman

  • Publication Date: July 6, 2010
  • Genres: Essays
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 1416544216
  • ISBN-13: 9781416544210