by carl wilson

Hungry Like The Chuck

wolf.jpg

I don't particularly like Chuck Klosterman's work, aside from his first hair-metal memoir Fargo Rock City and occasional highlights like his John Cusack and Britney Spears pieces. He's funny, but he has no particular point of view aside from his red-state beefing/red-beef stating ("coastal rock critics are too critical and want to be cool!") which, despite being true in some ways, gets tired, like, instantly... and ultimately is anti-criticism - anti-intellectual in an unengaging way.

But I almost gave him props this week for being the one to finally spin a full column out of the bizarre "wolf" band-name trend (AIDS Wolf, The Wolf Note, Wolf Parade, Superwolf, Peanut Butter Wolf, Wolf Eyes, Guitar Wolf, We Are Wolves, Wolf Colonel, Woelv, Wolfmother, etc etc - even though Klosterman missed many of them and resorted to Animal Collective instead - well, gee, why not mention Le Tigre, too?). I've considered writing about it pretty often the past few months but always thought, well, either I can't make anything out of it, or I've already made something out of it, or it's an alternative, bigger point about nature-idealization (antihumanism) in youth culture and music right now, which makes it not so suitable as the quicky, no-research, I-have-better-things-to-do summertime topic I was looking for.

But then I read the damn thing and it turns out he has nothing to say about it. Nothing. It's not even funny. All it says is, "People seem to think '---- wolf' is a cool band name because they think 'wolf' is cool. Huh." It's possibly the emptiest Klosterman piece I've ever read. If he keeps up this accelerated rate of decline he'll be a worse hack than (name your favourite hack - well, hell, it's Robert Novak's week isn't it?) within a year. And meanwhile he's spoiled the topic for the rest of us, right? Wait, no, screw that, I'll take the Klosterman challenge. Now I'm determined to do a wolf-band column sometime between now and, say, Halloween. Dammit.

Meanwhile, you want laughs, I encourage you to go to tonight's Weird Al Yankovic tribute instead, tonight at the Bagel in Toronto. Seriously. Or... my gosh, is this where this all was leading? ... check the Zoilus gig guide for other options.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Friday, August 05 at 02:19 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (9)

 

COMMENTS

a current fixation at CFRU these days: Raised By Wolves. garagey-goodness and Canadian too.

Posted by spitzer on August 9, 2005 10:24 AM

 

 

That should be: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/w/wilderness/wilderness.shtml

Posted by john on August 8, 2005 06:14 PM

 

 

Schreiber mentions the wolf thing briefly here.

Posted by john on August 8, 2005 06:13 PM

 

 

Goodness - I've been meaning to scratch the surface of this phenomenon, myself, for months! Pity that Klosterman beat us to it - topic-be-tarnished!

Posted by Trevor on August 6, 2005 01:54 PM

 

 

Good point about the pun in Beatles, and its anti-machismo.

Can we pause for a moment and reflect on what a silly name "the Beatles" is? Their coolness made it retrospectively cool.

Good for the Fabs for going for the silly.

Posted by John S. on August 5, 2005 04:22 PM

 

 

>> "nature-idealization (antihumanism) in youth culture"

Sports teams, too: Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my, indeed. For more obvious reasons, I suppose ("Lion proud! Tiger fierce! Bear strong!"), though I've always wondered about the bird motif in baseball: Blue Jays, Orioles, Cardinals, etc.

No puns a la "Beatles" in team names, of course. Puns ain't macho.

Posted by DW on August 5, 2005 03:38 PM

 

 

"nature-idealization (antihumanism) in youth culture" - this is very very interesting. hmm.

I still love Klosterman's piece on "advancement" -- http://www.thesongcorporation.com/klosterman-advancement2.htm

Posted by Sean on August 5, 2005 03:18 PM

 

 

Man! Gonna be posting on Klosterman in the next week or so, so don't want to tip my hand, but . . .

"Fargo Rock City" has nice stuff but left a bad taste in my mouth. Most memorable insight: before they saw the pictures, K. and his friends thought Nirvana was a hot new pop-metal band. That was intriguing.

Animalism in rock: Penguins, Flamingoes, Orioles, Crickets, Beatles (that silly pun, one of the silliest names ever), Byrds, Monkees (TV Beatles knock-off), Mosquitoes (Beatles-parody band who landed on Gilligan's Island -- now *they* were funny), Stone Poneys -- I'm sure there are many others. I think Renata Adler wrote about this in the New Yorker, back before Rolling Stone mag was a twinkle in Jann Wenner's eye.

Don't forget sports -- Lions & Tigers & Bears, oh my!

Posted by John S. on August 5, 2005 03:12 PM

 

 

Yeah, Klosterman is utterly intolerable, right up there with Hornby. Rock criticism as the smug repetition of one's own prejudices.

I read Sex Drugs & Cocoa Puffs with steam pouring out of my ears -- what humour there was was cheap and forgettable, and there was nary a genuine insight in the whole book. And there's something pathetic about a 30-year-old man who so relentlessly mythologizes his own alcohol consumption, in the same way a teenager would.

Haven't looked at Fargo Rock City, though some say that's the one to check out. Worth a look?

Posted by DW on August 5, 2005 03:03 PM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson