Chuck Klosterman An' Erica
(Get it? It's like his Esquire column, "Chuck Klosterman's America.) Last night my favorite bookstore hosted Chuck Klosterman at a local bar to read from his recent book, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story (book purchase count within the past two weeks is now up to 7. I told you, just slap the lable on me and cart me off to biblioholics annonymous). He was funny and witty and quite insightful, and nothing I had imagined him to be. I mean, I'd known from his columns, articles and books that he was funny and witty and quite insightful, but I'd always imagined him as being a funny, witty, insightful, dark-haired, wisened-yet-hip 40-ish-year-old man. It's amazing what images our minds will conjure with no physical descriptors to predicate our imaginations.
Anyways. I asked him what he thought about people who had once championed a small band whom they then talk down once the band "makes it big". The whole, "Death Cab for Cutie's work was really good five years ago, but then the O.C. played their music and all the overemotional teeny-boppers who want to starve themselves to be like Mischa Barton started listening to Death Cab and now their music is only a shadow of what they were" mentality. He said that he used to hate those people, because it showed that it wasn't really the music that these people championed, but the experience of liking a band they could call their own. (Warning: the following statement is a paraphrase and probably an amalgamation of several quotable insights from the night and is influenced by the single Fat Tire I consumed during the evening.)
"But then I realized that's the whole point of music. It's not just the music or lyrics themselves, but the whole experience. We listen to a Wilco album, and we like to say we enjoy it because Jeff Tweedy is such a brilliant lyricist, but really we're fusing everything we've experienced with music and Wilco and just our entire lives with the moment we hear Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for the first time and all that combines to influence our experience of the album and causes us to identify with a song or album. It's like how in the 80s I loved metal rock and then Metallica came along and all of a sudden everyone loved Metallica, and you'd ask why they liked Metallica, and they'd say, 'Well, they wear jeans.' But what does wearing jeans have anything to do with the band's musical talents? Nothing really. It's the experience of Metallica that attracted people. And if people liked Metallica because of their jeans, who am I to say that's not valid? And if these people are looking to identify with a little-known band because it makes them feel like it's their 'own' band, and then the band makes it huge, that experience is taken away from them. And really, who am I to hate them because they feel robbed of their experice? I can say they're idiots because obviously the music itself doesn't mean shit to them, but the music isn't as important to people as the experience of the music. So yeah, that's what I think about that."
You have to imagine him saying all this in a slightly high-pitched male voice with a hint of a lisp while holding a plastic cup of water as he sort of dances/shifts his weight from left to right and moves his hands all around like my mom does when she talks on the phone. He was brilliant, really.
You know what else is brilliant? The book store owner announced that none other than Mr. Jonathan Safran Foer will be coming in the fall. AND David Sedaris. AND Barack Obama. Are you starting to see why I love this place?