I’m just now reading Chuck’s collection sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs despite the fact he was the music writer for my local paper until 2002, when he moved to NYC, joined Spin, Esquire and host of other nationally recognized publications.
I read Chuck’s articles during his tenure in Akron, Ohio but I don’t recall harboring any fascination or strong opinion about the man. This is partially a symptom of not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone (because the doofus they replaced him with hasn’t a CLUE), but mostly it’s about being an Ohioan.
Rumors, stereotypes and outright lies abound, but one thing is true – we here in the Buckeye state have an incredible self-esteem problem. In the kindest of terms, we have very little in the way of pretension and regard most everyone as we regard ourselves – average folks living average lives, just trying to do the best we can. In this respect, Klosterman was one of us (I mean, look at him!), and therefore, I never considered he’d go on to author four books and preside over some of the most profitable publications on the local magazine rack.
This opinion was never about his ability per se, because there are oodles of talented people living in the Midwest, but more about the larger country’s attitude toward those of us in the heartland. It all becomes about the east and west coasts, despite their minority-held lifestyles and values, so how the hell does some geek from North Dakota by way of Akron, Ohio become a cult figure to many Gen X-ers (and even Gen Y-ers, if there is such a thing)? Yet he has, despite all probabilities.
Am I a member of the Church of Klosterman? Not really. But I find the phenomenon of him interesting in the same way Grissom on CSI cherishes his bugs. Those that adore him, those that abhor him, they all harbor equal intensity but in opposite directions. And I wonder about a guy who can provoke such emotions. What does it say about our society when that much acrimony is spent on a dude known for waxing poetic about heavy metal, “Saved by the Bell”, Lloyd Dobler and the Dixie Chicks?
It’s no wonder the world is in trouble.