IV: A Decade Of Curious People And Dangerous Ideas

Author: Chuck Klosterman
Year: 2006
Pages: 416
Rating:88/100 -- some stories are home runs but others are meegs.
Amazon: IV

IV is a collection of essays by the author Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman writes about movies, music and pop culture and occasionally sports for such hip publications such as Esquire, SPIN, ESPN, The Guardian and The Washington Post. He writes a brief half-hearted intro to set the stage for each article and includes a few footnootes in each story.

A bunch of the articles/essays are centered on analyzing rock music. KISS, Led Zeppelin, U2, Morrissey, and Wilco are all article topics and pop up often within his writing. Real World characters, Survivors and random athletes are also props in Klosterman's writing. He writes with enough self-awareness to pull of his B-list name dropping. Heck, if I also know who that person is I guess they are relevant and I guess it works!

The first section of the book is a collection of profiles of celebrities including great interviews with Val Kilmer and Brittney Spears. The second section is more about trend spotting and pop culture phenomen. The last story is Klosterman first published take at fiction. He should stick with journalism.


I most enjoyed his article breaking down Barry Bonds relationship with the media and the fans and his psychoanalysis of the Olympics. In both articles, Klosterman was spot on in recognizing something that was obvious but that I haven't heard articulated before. It's great to read something that just clicks in your head and this happened often. Go figure, both articles are about Sports and in fact Klosterman has writtena bunch for ESPN.

IV is my first time reading Chuck Klosterman. I knew that he was a pop culture guy and always had Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs on my reading list. I was at my sister's apartment and saw this on the shelf so picked it up and read the first few stories. I liked it enough to borrow it from her and finished it off in about a week.

Klosterman is kind of like a more intelligent and insightful Sports Guy (and they are in fact buddies and have worked together on ESPN Page 2). He bows down to pop culture and laces it throughout every articles and thesis. But Klosterman gets to a deeper level where he simplifies the things about pop culture that previously had never made sense.

Here are a few paragraphs that I thought were gems.

"It strikes me that every wrongheaded sentiment in society ultimately derives from the culture of inherent, unconditional rightness. As I grow older, I find myself less prone to have an opinion about anything, and to distrust just about everyone who does. Whenever I meet someone whop openly identifies themselves as a Republican or a Democrat, my immediate thought is always, Well, this person might be interesting, but they'll never say anything about politics that's remotely usefull to me. I refuse to discuss abortion with anyone who is pro-life or pro-choice; I refuse to discuss affirmative action with an unemployed white guy or any unemployed black guy. All the world's stupidest people are either zealots or atheists. If you want to truly deduce how intelligent someone is, just ask this person how they feel about any issue that doesn't have an answer; the more certainty they express, the less sense they have."

"…I have slowly come to realize that most people think this way all the time. They don't merely want to hold their values; they want their values to win…If you feel betrayed by culture, it's not because you're right and the universe is fucked; it's only because you're not like most other people. But this should make you happy, because - in all likelihood - you hate those other people, anyway. You are being betrayed by a culture that has no relationship to who you are or how you live."

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