authors | February 05, 2013

Chuck Klosterman: "Pop Culture's The Soundtrack To The World"

Chuck Klosterman drew a standing-room-only crowd to the first reading of his new book earlier this week. Pretty impressive considering the book hasn't even been released! As part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series at Butler University, he shared sections of the forthcoming I Wear the Black Hat—an insightful and wickedly funny account of the culture of villainy in society. After the reading, he stayed to field questions from the full house of eager listeners.

A pervasive theme of the night revolved around Klosterman's decision to focus on pop culture analysis rather than heftier subject matter. For someone with encyclopedic knowledge of so many different issues, the crowd was curious as to why he chooses to mainly talk about the influence of the media and culture on our lives. In response, Klosterman explained that pop culture is a more influential power than many give it credit for. "People use culture to explain their lives to themselves,” he says, “pop culture is the soundtrack to the world."

In a feature article on Hazlitt, Klosterman gave readers a peek into his own collection of pop culture artifacts—a massive assortment of books that have influenced him in some way or another. In the interview, he questions whether the selection he displays, and the placement of that selection of books, is an important definition of who he is as a person. This crystallizes what he discusses in his talks as he often explores the way that many of us define ourselves by the media we choose to consume. Pop culture is a vital part of our lives, and Klosterman's unique mix of smarts and wit shows us why it deserves more in-depth analysis.