Chuck Klosterman tends to wax meta. Throughout his career of analyzing music, sports and pop culture, the hyper-self-aware essayist can’t help but insert his very specific experience into topics such as how much David Koresh had in common with Kurt Cobain and the logistics of time travel.
For instance, in the opening chapter of his latest compilation of essays, Eating the Dinosaur, now out in paperback, Klosterman dissects the process of conducting interviews —something he’s been on both sides of — admitting he openly lies during some interviews, and drawing the conclusion that they’re relatively pointless.
It makes for a perfectly awkward moment when it comes time for Klosterman to be interviewed to promote this book. He already knows he may have shot himself in the foot this time.
“Well, I have to say it has effectively stopped people from trying to interview me,” he jokes. “In general, I get written about less now than I did a few years ago. But maybe the essay has something to do with it, I don’t know.”
But back to David Koresh and Kurt Cobain: Klosterman’s approach to his essays, which tend to draw parallels between seemingly incongruous elements and people in pop culture, are like a game of “which one of these things doesn’t belong?” in reverse.
“I don’t really know what I think about something until I write about it,” he explains. “I think, ‘Why do I like these two things? Because it feels like I like them in the same way.’ Writing is the process of deducing that.”
In the long run, however, Klosterman is dubious about his own writing’s importance.
“The main thing, if they have any value over time — and they probably don’t — it would be kind of like present tense history, so that if somebody goes back later and reads these books, while the ideas might not necessarily seem insightful or important, they’ll be able to see what people were interested in at the time.”