Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto is a work of pure genius. Evil genius. Fucking genius. Klosterman is clearly one of the smartest people on earth, but rather than cure cancer or work for world peace or do really hard math, he's devoted his brain power to giving far more thought than anyone should to Saved By The Bell. These aren't faux academic essays on pop culture; they're witty, snarky, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, and surprisingly insightful. There are pieces on The Sims, The Real World, Moby, "Love is a Battlefield," and how Lloyd Dobler ruined everything for straight men of my generation.
My favorite so far, though, is an essay on the correlation between The Empire Strikes Back and Reality Bites entitled "Sulking With Lisa Loeb on the Ice Planet Hoth." I hope Chuck doesn't object to me printing copyrighted material here, since I'm doing it to convince people to buy his book (even though I did just call him ugly)...
It's clear that Luke Skywalker was the original Gen Xer. For one thing, he was incessantly whiny. For another, he was exhaustively educated – via Yoda – about things that had little practical value (i.e., how to stand on one's head while lifting a rock telekinetically). Essentially, Luke went to the University of Dagobah with a major in Buddhist philosophy and a minor in physical education. There's not a lot of career opportunities with that kind of schooling; that's probably why he dropped out in the middle of the semester. Meanwhile, Luke's only romantic aspirations are directed toward a woman who (literally) looks at him like a brother. His dad is on his case to join the family business. Most significantly, all the problems in his life can be directly blamed on the generation that came before him, and specifically on his father's views about what to believe (i.e., respect authority, dress conservatively, annihilate innocent planets, etc.).
...Darth Vader tells Skywalker he has to make a decision: He can keep fighting a war he will probably lose, or he can compromise his ethics and succeed wildly. Many young adults face a similar decision after college, and those seen as "responsible" inevitably choose the latter path. However, an eight-year-old would never sell out.... And what's intriguing about Gen Xers is they never really wavered from that decision.
Nothing like making half a blog post out of someone else's stuff. But he's a better writer than I am and it's a busy week, so I may just quote him every day instead of writing real posts.
Seriously, go buy this book!