Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

by Chuck Klosterman


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743236010
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 07/02/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 106,523
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Chuck Klosterman is the bestselling author of many books of nonfiction (including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, I Wear the Black Hat, Fargo Rock City and Chuck Klosterman X) and two novels (Downtown Owl and The Visible Man). He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Guardian, The Believer, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and ESPN. Klosterman served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine for three years, and was an original founder of the website Grantland with Bill Simmons.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

June 5, 1972

Place of Birth:

Wyndmere, North Dakota


Degree in Journalism, University of North Dakota, 1994

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1:This Is Emo0:01

No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now, and I would never try to deny it. But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a woman, either.

Should I be writing such thoughts? Perhaps not. Perhaps it's a bad idea. I can definitely foresee a scenario where that first paragraph could come back to haunt me, especially if I somehow became marginally famous. If I become marginally famous, I will undoubtedly be interviewed by someone in the media, and the interviewer will inevitably ask, "Fifteen years ago, you wrote that no woman could ever satisfy you. Now that you've been married for almost five years, are those words still true?" And I will have to say, "Oh, God no. Those were the words of an entirely different person -- a person whom I can't even relate to anymore. Honestly, I can't image an existence without _____. She satisfies me in ways that I never even considered. She saved my life, really."

Now, I will be lying. I won't really feel that way. But I'll certainly say those words, and I'll deliver them with the utmost sincerity, even though those sentiments will not be there. So then the interviewer will undoubtedly quote lines from this particular paragraph, thereby reminding me that I swore I would publicly deny my true feelings, and I'll chuckle and say, "Come on, Mr. Rose. That was a literary device. You know I never really believed that."

But here's the thing: I do believe that. It's the truth now, and it will be in the future. And while I'm not exactly happy about that truth, it doesn't make me sad, either. I know it's not my fault.

It's no one's fault, really. Or maybe it's everyone's fault. It should be everyone's fault, because it's everyone's problem. Well, okay...not everyone. Not boring people, and not the profoundly retarded. But whenever I meet dynamic, nonretarded Americans, I notice that they all seem to share a single unifying characteristic: the inability to experience the kind of mind-blowing, transcendent romantic relationship they perceive to be a normal part of living. And someone needs to take the fall for this. So instead of blaming no one for this (which is kind of cowardly) or blaming everyone (which is kind of meaningless), I'm going to blame John Cusack.

I once loved a girl who almost loved me, but not as much as she loved John Cusack. Under certain circumstances, this would have been fine; Cusack is relatively good-looking, he seems like a pretty cool guy (he likes the Clash and the Who, at least), and he undoubtedly has millions of bones in the bank. If Cusack and I were competing for the same woman, I could easily accept losing. However, I don't really feel like John and I were "competing" for the girl I'm referring to, inasmuch as her relationship to Cusack was confined to watching him as a two-dimensional projection, pretending to be characters who don't actually exist. Now, there was a time when I would have thought that detachment would have given me a huge advantage over Johnny C., inasmuch as my relationship with this woman included things like "talking on the phone" and "nuzzling under umbrellas" and "eating pancakes." However, I have come to realize that I perceived this competition completely backward; it was definitely an unfair battle, but not in my favor. It was unfair in Cusack's favor. I never had a chance.

It appears that countless women born between the years of 1965 and 1978 are in love with John Cusack. I cannot fathom how he isn't the number-one box-office star in America, because every straight girl I know would sell her soul to share a milkshake with that motherfucker. For upwardly mobile women in their...

Table of Contents


1 This Is Emo

(carnivore interlude)

2 Billy Sim

(reality interlude)

3 What Happens When People Stop Being Polite

(Pat Benatar interlude)

4 Every Dog Must Have His Every Day, Every Drunk Must Have His Drink

(Monkees = Monkees interlude)

5 Appetite for Replication

(an interlude to be named later)

6 Ten Seconds to Love

(metaphorical fruit interlude)

7 George Will vs. Nick Hornby

(Ralph Nader interlude)

8 33

(Fonzie recalibration interlude)

9 Porn

("kitty cat as terrorist" interlude)

10 The Lady or the Tiger

(hypothetical interlude)

11 Being Zack Morris

(50-50 interlude)

12 Sulking with Lisa Loeb on the Ice Planet Hoth

(anti-homeless interlude)

13 The Awe-Inspiring Beauty of Tom Cruise's Shattered, Troll-like Face

(punk interlude)

14 Toby over Moby

(Johnny Cash interlude)

15 This Is Zodiac Speaking

(Timothy McVeigh interlude)

16 All I Know Is What I Read in the Papers


17 I, Rock Chump

(waiting to die interlude)

18 How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Gary Shteyngart author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook The funniest thing I've read in an ice age...Chuck Klosterman is a Gulliver among the cult-crit Lilliputians. America should wrap her freckled arms around Klosterman's scrawny neck and press him to her bosom. He may be the last true patriot among us.

Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show Chuck Klosterman has the time and inclination to think through the issues that you didn't even know were issues. Laugh at him, or with him, or both...but you will laugh, dammit, you will laugh.

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Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 264 reviews.
NerdFighter_92 More than 1 year ago
Have you ever eaten Coco Puffs? I bet you didn't realize the sugary cereal you were ingesting was original conceived by the ideal to help prevent ailments or that there commercial maybe unintentionally teaching you how to be cool. If you did realize it is likely you are either: A. Chuck Klosterman B. Simultaneously a sociologist focusing on media and a breakfast historian or C. person that has already read the book Sex, Drugs and Coco Puffs. Chuck Klosterman Is a writer for Spin and Esquire magazine. He is most prominently known for his work about classic rock bands but also has an almost infinite amount of cultural knowledge that makes SD&CP a very enjoyable collection of essays. Because of the fact that it is essays and not s story SD&CP should be a very easy book to pick up and put down, but I actually found it was not. His insights make him seem genius and the different perspectives he offers are as addictive as Cinnamon Toast Crutch. Despite my plethora of cereal related references SD&CP is about far more then breakfast with themes that cover everything including The Real World, The Sims, Say Anything, and Vanilla Sky and few others that it is unlikely you could think of in your wildest dreams. Usually The stories lack focus on the thing itself and look at a broader theme represented by the item, and while these are all only Mr. Klosterman's opinions even if you disagree they are very entertaining. The most common criticism of his work is his writing style that at sometimes seems intentionally overly wordy. I had no problem with it at, but I could defiantly see the potential for it to become annoying. On the whole I found the book to be a very entertain and thought provoking, but would not recommended it to someone who wants a story but rather for someone who is interested in both reading random facts and learning to think differently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to stop reading this about 1/3 of the way through. The author comes across as very self-centered and obnoxious. A friend of mine recommended it because it was "hysterical and made you think". It made me think "how long until this is over". I had to call it quits and give up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just read the chapter all about that horrible show, the real world. Agonizing. I was hoping it would get better, but i was wrong. This guy just rambles on about crap. I will finish this book, but only because i paid for it. I would not recommend this to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Felt like a homework assignment to read this book. Non-stop pointless dribble. Some funny comments, but not enough to compensate for the rest. Waste of time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book would make me think differently about things and maybe laugh at pop culture, but it is just the ramblings of a man who was bullied in school. A former outcast made famous by being an annoying a**hole. I couldn't make myself finish it. Only read this if you have nothing better to do.
PrincessSabrina More than 1 year ago
I like Chuck Klosterman's writing. He takes pop culture and writes about it in such a way that it really makes you think and starts conversations with others. Often, I end up reading passages from the book to my family members and we have a discussion about the topics. I recommend this book for anyone that has an interest in pop culture and music.
Karl_Kindt_4 More than 1 year ago
There are two reasons to read this book and two reasons to not read this book. Firstly, the style of writing. The writing is wonderful. I enjoy the style. You really get the feeling that a highly intelligent Gen X journalist is sitting there in your living room in his jeans ant T-shirt and telling you his observations. If that style drives you crazy (in a bad way), you will know it from the sample and can save your money. If that styles drives you crazy (in a good way), you will know it from the sample and safely give B&N your money. Secondly, the wise observations of our modern world. His observations of the absurdity and ridiculousness of current culture is astute. Yes, he over-analyzes, but he does so in an entertaining way. If you think modern mainstream media and culture is awesome, then avoid this like a zombie plague. If you think modern mainstream media and culture are absurd, then this will be a very entertaining and enlightening read.
MikeHBrandes More than 1 year ago
Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto written by one of the more astute minds in pop culture Chuck Klosterman, now I won't bore you with my favorite quotes from the book, or a long winded description of who Chuck Klosterman is as a person, an author, or what his career has looked like. Rather I will point out the fact that I tremendously respect and almost envy (if that's an appropriate use of the word) his writing style. Klosterman has an uncanny ability to take seemingly obscure pop culture information, or phenomena and turn them into very thought provoking essays. Whether it was the discussion of how Pam Anderson is not our generation's Marilyn Monroe, Or how Saved by the Bell shaped and help to define popular culture for the generation that grew up watching it in syndication, or even how the MTV hit show The Real World destroyed the social norms of functioning relationships among twenty and thrity-somethings, Klosterman no doubt is far more brilliant in the way he writes about culture and art and tells stories. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't the BEST book ever written, that is obviously reserved for Perks of Being a Wallflower, that is not true, it's a lie. However, it does take a non traditional approach to looking at culture as a functioning system. How the stuff we consume as a culture regurgitates itself into shaping culture. This is akin to the idea of how a girl can read a magazine with an article about a supermodel (consumption) and then all of the sudden think she is fat, and worthless as a result (regurgitation).
Luckeechikee More than 1 year ago
So far this has been my favorite of all Klosterman's books. His views on life are comically wonderful. The only time I'm remotely bored by his stories are the in depth sports analysis. The short fillers between stories are hysterical. I'm giving this as a gift this Christmas to introduce his writing to a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of short essays in which Klosterman amalyzes how sports, tv, music, and food influence the way we think and act . At the same time, he incorporates humor and makes you think.
ryvre on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Some of the essays are awesome and brilliant, and others are... just not. I loved This Is Emo (how John Cusack ruined love), What Happens When People Stop Being Polite (which made me want to watch the Real World), and Being Zack Morris. I'm a sucker for pop culture analysis. Other essays had a whole host of problems. Some of them, like Ten Seconds to Love were creepily misogynistic, and others were just uninteresting.
aquagrunty on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Hilarious and interesting book. A good read. Interesting rants and social commentary written before the guy goes to bed, which results in some very thought provoking material.Its also somewhat like Gilmore Girls in a book, in the way that both make obscure pop-culture references that no one really understands, and still manages to maintain its audience.
Magus_Manders on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book came highly recommended as not only a keen social observation, but also as being remarkably funny. It is very clear that Klosterman is incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable as he has his say on everything from the deformed nature of perceived modern love to the effect of 'The Real World' to the obsession of serial killers. He certainly gives the impression that, over the last twenty years, he has listened to every piece of music worth listening to and quite a few which aren't, and knows enough about them to bring up their cultural significance in just about every pop criticism he approaches. At times, I find him to be pretentious and slightly alienating, two claims which I imagine he would not only agree with but endorse, but regardless of whether or not I agree with him on any given subject, I can not help but admit that he often has a good point. His style is biting, witty, and journalistic in the best sense, and manages to reveal a great number of cultural misconceptions and truisms often ignored by the public at large. Bottom line, this book is fun, smart, angry, and may shake you up just a little bit. What's not to love?
HvyMetalMG on LibraryThing 10 months ago
If your life is shaped by pop-culture than you will like this book. It was funny, but honestly, I can't remember anything particular about this story. I know the author looks to Three's Company and Saved By The Bell to guide his hipster lifestley. But seriously, feels like I could have read this content in The Village Voice or the New York Press.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A collection of essays on pop culture; a few were interesting, but overall, the book was a bore.
sadiebooks on LibraryThing 10 months ago
not that great really. thinks he is nick hornby. later writings are better i think,
sussabmax on LibraryThing 10 months ago
When I was in high school, I took a history class about the 20th Century. The century wasn¿t quite over yet, but the end wasn¿t far, and we had over 87 years worth of material to study. It was very interesting when we got to the 60¿s, because it wasn¿t far history to our teacher¿it was personal history. One of the recurring themes of the class was what we could learn from the popular culture of a particular era. For instance, during World War II, patriotic war movies were prevalent. Before any movie started there were newsreels showing how the war was going. Movies during the Vietnam War, however were totally different. They were totally escapist, with little to no war references. By that time, also, most people had TVs, so there were no newsreels before the shows. This is just another way of showing that the Vietnam War wasn¿t very popular, and it probably isn¿t a very profound example of what we can learn from pop culture, but it is what I can remember off the top of my head nearly 18 years after I took that class. Still, it illustrates the point: pop culture is a reflection of the values, interests and beliefs of the times in which it is produced. It is always easier to look at an era in the past and examine it objectively to see what the prevailing trends were at the time. It is a lot more difficult to look at present day pop culture and draw meaning from it. That is why I am really enjoyed Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman. First of all, I think it is possible that Chuck Klosterman knows everything there is to know about TV shows, movies, sporting events and other low brow pop culture offerings. I don¿t agree with all of his conclusions (science fiction is philosophy for stupid people? This is clearly based on movies, not books or short stories.), but he is remarkably intelligent and insightful about what our culture says about us. And he is wickedly funny. This is the kind of book I hesitate to read in public, because people look at you oddly when you burst out laughing at seemingly random times. As near as I can tell, Mr. Klosterman is about 2 years younger than I am, so we are coming from a very similar cultural outlook (although I don¿t think I have ever seen an episode of Saved By The Bell, but then, I am not much into TV). I am amazed that he says exactly what I think about so many things. Maybe I am more normal than I think I am. Or maybe I am just the same kind of weirdo Chuck Klosterman is. Whichever, I highly recommend the book. He has three others, and I am definitely adding them to my list of books to buy¿I know I will want to read them all again and again.
Humbert_Humbert on LibraryThing 10 months ago
For any person from the suburbs between 1980 to the present, this book is perfect. Ranging from the Sims to Saved by the Bell this book covers almost every pop culture reference necessary. These essays are definately worthy of those looking for laugh out loud observations.
twallace on LibraryThing 10 months ago
An undeniably clever and often laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays on culture: everything from "Saved By The Bell" to Billy Joel, "The Real World" to how John Cusack has ruined relationships for guys everywhere. Though Klosterman often takes rather ludicrous stances on some of his topics, it is 100% entertaining...whether you agree with him or not.
moonriver on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was really interesting! Some of the chapters I could've done without, but that's probably because I know nothing about basketball and don't care about country music. It was laugh out loud funny and made me see certain things differently. Not to say it changed my mind, but it offered a different perspective I hadn't thought of before.
o_nate on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Klosterman is like the drinking buddy who always waxes philosophical after a couple of beers. His ideas make you laugh and sound kind of plausible at the time, but after the buzz wears off, you kind of forget why they seemed interesting. His chummy, chuck-you-on-the-shoulder tone helps the medicine go down easy, but the medicine turns out to be a placebo, and the chummy tone gets smarmy after a while.
echo_echo on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Not as strong as "Killing Yourself to Live." This book borders on dribble, but the entertaining interludes make it a fun read. If you're a child of the 80s or 90s and abreast on current pop culture happenings, you'll pick up on un "quoted" phrases and references all throughout the book. I recommend this as a good, quick read.
stephmo on LibraryThing 10 months ago
For those with an affinity for GenX culture, this is an entertaining read. This is a group of musings on those things that were both watershed and pervasive if you were consuming youth culture in the 80s and 90s. It's not that we live and died by Saved by the Bell, it's that you can find someone your age that remembers Bayside and those kids because they were watching it "ironically" on the weekends. Then again, watching a live-action show on Saturday morning during the cartoon block while in college to see kids learn important life lessons probably negates the quotes, doesn't it? It's also not all about that show, but this is probably one of the essays that will weigh down a person that didn't live the show the most.Either way, it's a trip down memory lane for anyone that's lived it. For a good time, the Hypothetical Interlude can lead to a few good conversations with friends. Thus far, we're all against letting the gorilla play for the Raiders. Hilarity of the gorilla in uniform aside, we fear the accidental dismemberment of opposing players would be far too frequent to offset the enjoyment of primate in a helmet.
TakeItOrLeaveIt on LibraryThing 10 months ago
the book that made Klosterman a commendable music journalist. he goes out there in this one, and it truly is a great look at pop culture on the time from the real world to rock n'roll. who knows with this guy other than you'll love his style. I read this when I was 18, my freshman year in college. ie ages ago
booksandbosox on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Chuck Klosterman is a genius. I knew this before I even read this book but it was confirmed within the first few pages. This book of essays about pop culture and modern life is laugh out loud funny and incisive. I can't even pick a favorite essay because they were all so wonderful. Reading this definitely reminded me why I lean towards media studies.