Monday, November 20, 2006
"How are we doing?" // Grounded Chuck
have some reason to believe that links to mp3s posted below may be busted, inoperative, etc. if anyone has attempted to access the files and gotten a "File not found" or some similar shiz, could you please let me know? the email is up at the top there...
found this Onion interview with Chuck Klosterman pretty interesting. i'm sure i'm like many you in that i've basically written this dude off without having barely read anything by him. (i've done this for any number of--stupid?--reasons, the foremost of which is that i have a kneejerk reaction of nausea toward anyone who exploits their sort of postironic enjoyment of metal as cultural currency, which this dude seems to do big time.) the interesting thing is that he actually talks about that phenomenon in the piece. i really liked the following two tidbits:
a) "The people who review my books, generally, are kind of youngish culture writers who aspire to write books, or write opinion pieces about what they think of Neil Young, or why they quit watching ER or whatever. And because of that, I think there's a lot of people who write about my books with the premise of, 'Why this guy? Why not me?'"
I think that's absolutely spot-on, i.e., that when you write about anything pop-cultural or "entertainment-oriented" or fun, many people will assume that since everyone spends a lot of time *thinking* about those sorts of things, it must be extremely easy to write about them and that everyone who does so is a completely run-of-the-mill talent. granted, again, i've barely read Klosterman and couldn't tell you if i think he is that or not--though, again, i will cop to having probably subconsciously dismissed him on grounds of frivolity at some point. i just think it's wise of him to point out this trend in how his work is interpreted.
b) "I can tell when I've met a bad journalist when they say, 'I've met Madonna,' or 'I know Marilyn Manson.' Because I haven't met anyone I've ever interviewed. I've sat down in the position of an interviewer, and they've sat down in the position of an artist trying to promote a product. We have no relationship. I'm able to ask them questions I'd never be allowed to ask them if we were casual friends. It's a completely constructed kind of situation. I just try to ask questions that I'd be legitimately interested in if I were reading this article. What's the only thing in this day and age that people in the media can offer the average person? Access, essentially. We can say, 'This is how it feels to be in the room with Taye Diggs.'"
this is just an excellent summation of the weird singularity of the journalist/subject relationship. i haven't interviewed too many really famous people, but i know what he's talking about. for example, i did a phone interview with God--oops, i mean Donald Fagen, once, and i felt like i had sort of a rapport going with him and was eliciting some special stuff and then i picked up the Times a few days later and saw that he had basically given the exact same answers to their interviewer. kind of shattered that illusion. anyway, i love the clear-eyedness of what Klosterman says above. maybe not enough that i'll ever actually read one of his books, but hey... ;)