Hunting the wild Klosterman

By CAMILLE DODERO  |  October 5, 2006

This is the most creatively mean thing I’ve ever read about anybody, and it ends up in any conversation I have about Klosterman and his polarizing oeuvre. Written by Mark Ames and published in the New York Press in 2003, the piece establishes two things: a) how much people hate him, with an intensity that I would argue is a direct result of their jealousy, and b) his undeniable significance.

But now he’s canceled on me. I talk with my editor and we decide that I should still attend the second reading of the day. I suggest asking Klosterman during the question-and-answer period what he’d do if he had a profile due in a week of an author who’d ditched him at the last minute because he was tired. But then I’d run the risk of sounding like a scorned lover. Instead, I decide to ask him about assholes he’s interviewed.

I do not know if this is relevant.

‘Three dollars of entertainment’
A little after six at the Brattle Theatre, Klosterman walks onstage, drops his jean jacket on the floor, and apologizes to the sold-out crowd for having to pay a three-dollar cover. “I’m trying to think of things that’re like, ‘What’s three dollars of entertainment? What do I have to be as good as?’ Local indie-rock band who wants to be the Libertines? Or a lot of candy?”

He notes that this is the first reading he’s done in a room with a balcony and says it reminds him of a Doors concert. “I’m kind of in a weird mindset,” he admits. “It’s 5:45 and I get a phone message from my editor who’s just received an advance copy of the New York Times book review,” he says. “They fuckin’ hate this book!”

The Associated Press recently quoted Klosterman with exclamation points, which I read as him sounding upset. Actually, exclamation points best describe his level of animation, not some sort of emotional extreme. In truth, I almost fell off my chair when he opened his mouth earlier at BU: his rascally, nasally voice is vaguely reminiscent of Beavis; his cadence, that of Mitch Hedberg.

By the way? His head looks nothing like an ass.

Cambridge is more skeptical of Klosterman than Boston was. Instead of asking if he feels famous, Harvard Square already assumes he is, and then wants to know if he is full of shit.

Q: It seems like a lot of profiles, you spend time figuring out if they’re bullshitting you or not. Since you’re famous now and you do readings at theaters with balconies, do you feel worried about bullshitting us?
CK: That’s a great question. Absolutely. No one’s ever asked me that. . . . Oh yeah it worries me . . . Someone will ask me a question and I’ll give the same exact answer that I gave in fuckin’ Columbus. Because it is the same question and it was true then. . . . When I do interviews right now, it’d be weird for me to do an interview with a really small band. Because it is possible — unlikely, but possible — that the band would know who I was. And that would be strange. It’s strange. What you’re always trying to do as a journalist is put yourself in the shoes of the average person who’s reading this and [doesn’t] have access to, ah, the Eurythmics and [isn’t able to] sit with Annie Lennox. But this guy is going to sit with Annie Lennox and tell me what it’s like to sit with Annie Lennox.

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