Prolific pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman knows as well as PopMatters that, well, pop matters. He discusses with PopMatters 20 Questions some of the things in this world that influence, sway, and affect. His new book, and first book of fiction, Downtown Owl, is published by Scribner this month.
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
I have a rare psychological disorder that makes me physically unable to cry in front of other people, even if I am at a funeral. However, anytime I am alone, I cry constantly. Because of this, the last movie that made me cry was probably the last movie that I watched by myself, which was Dial M for Murder.
Chuck Klosterman IV
A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas
Killing Yourself to Live
85% of a True Story
2. The fictional character most like you?
Either Daniel Plainview (from There Will be Blood) or Charlie Brown. Probably some combination of the two, actually.
3. The greatest album, ever?
This is impossible to answer. However, I was recently asked to compile my favorite album from every year I’ve been alive, so I’ll just list those records, instead:
1972: Vol. 4, Black Sabbath
1973: Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin
1974: Kiss, Kiss
1975: Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan
1976:Jailbreak, Thin Lizzy
1977: Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
1978: Van Halen, Van Halen
1979: At Budakon, Cheap Trick
1980: Glass Houses, Billy Joel
1981: Too Fast for Love, Motley Crue (original Leathur Records pressing)
1982: Business as Usual, Men at Work
1983: Pyromania, Def Leppard
1984: Purple Rain, Prince
1985: Scarecrow, John Mellencamp
1986: Invasion, Vinnie Vincent Invasion
1987: Appetite for Destruction, Guns N’ Roses
1988: GNR Lies, Guns N’ Roses
1989: Doolittle, The Pixies
1990: Fear of a Black Planet, Public Enemy
1991: Loveless, My Bloody Valentine
1992: Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos
1993: Exile in Guyville, Liz Phair
1994: Definitely Maybe, Oasis
1995: The Sound of Music by Pizzicato Five, Pizzicato Five
1996: First Band on the Moon, The Cardigans
1997: OK Computer, Radiohead
1998: Overcome by Happiness, The Pernice Brothers
1999: Devil Without a Cause, Kid Rock (Note: This was a pretty bad year for music.)
2000: De Stijl, White Stripes
2001: Mass Romantic, New Pornographers (Note: This album technically came out in December of 2000, but nobody cared until spring of 2001.)
2002: Southern Rock Opera, Drive-By Truckers
2003: It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket
2004: The College Dropout, Kanye West
2005: Separation Sunday, The Hold Steady
2006: Greatest Hits Live, Ace Frehley
2007: Sky Blue Sky, Wilco
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
I suppose I would have to say Star Wars, but it’s strange—as one grows older, the ideas in Star Wars seem more and more idiotic. When I watch it now, I only root for Yoda and Boba Fett.
5. Your ideal brain food?
Sitting quietly in a dark room.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
I’m proud that I actually finished writing Fargo Rock City, because I had no idea how to get it published or if anyone would ever know that it even existed. I must have been insane.
7. You want to be remembered for…?
The destruction of my enemies.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Roger Staubach, George Orwell, and James Madison.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey
10. Your hidden talents…?
I can juggle, I can memorize anything (except people’s names), and I almost never vomit.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
How would I know the advice was good if I actually followed it? Wouldn’t I only realize it was good if I ignored it and eventually paid the price? It’s not like anyone ever told me not to board an airplane that later crashed.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
For whatever the reason, my body fits best in Gap jeans. No idea why. I must have highly commercial bones.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
As far into the future as possible. No guts, no glory.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
None of the above. I don’t manage stress. I just freak out.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Hawaii, on the beach and away from cops.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
I would say, “Mr. Cheney, what was your motive for increasing the powers of the president?”
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Another essay collection.