Hunting the wild Klosterman

By CAMILLE DODERO  |  October 5, 2006

But obviously it’s not going to [go] that way — I’m sure Annie Lennox doesn’t know who I am — [but] . . . if she did, it’d be strange.
And I have no idea why I used the Eurythmics. That’s really weird for me to pick.

Q: This is kind of a loaded question.
CK: All right, load me up.

Q: I alternately love and hate your writing. But I wonder, you sort of touched on this when you first came in, how often are you bullshitting? Do you believe everything you write?
CK: I think it’s a little curious that you would go to a reading if you hated [the author]. Very strange. Here’s the deal . . . what people get confused about sometimes, and which is part of the reason I think people have strong positive or negative ideas [about] my writing, is that I’m writing about ideas and in order to get to the idea, I sometimes use elements of satire, elements of parody, elements of detachment. I propose something that may or may not be true and argue the merits or lack thereof, regardless of [whether] it’s true. Give me one example of something in your mind that you’re wondering if I really feel that way.

Q: The Billy Joel piece in  Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.
CK: Oh yeah, 100 percent I believe . . .

Other people in the audience adore him either way.

Q: Unlike the other guy, I would just like to say that I like 100 percent of everything you write —
CK: You’re a fucking crazy man.

Q: — and I love you.
CK: I love you too . . .

I raise my hand from the front row.

Me: Who have you either met or interviewed whose work you admired and they turned out to be total dicks? How did that change your perceptions of them and/or their art?
CK: Michael Stipe, I’ve gotta admit, was kind of a jerk. He’s incredibly arrogant. But it doesn’t change my opinion of his work . . . My relationship with R.E.M. is more intellectual than emotive. So the fact that Michael Stipe is a jerk, that’s interesting to me. But that doesn’t make me think, aw, man “Catapult” sucks . . .

The final question.

Q: Want to get some Chicken McNuggets after this?
CK: No.

You tell me
Thank god Klosterman didn’t say yes or I’d be begging to eat breaded bird lumps with him and a stranger at McDonald’s. Instead, I’m loitering around the book-signing table while a SLAM magazine sportswriter runs through a litany of who-are-the-best-players-in-the-NBA inquiries and Klosterman signs hardcovers. Now the author is shaking hands gratefully. He goes to shake mine, and notices that my expression says hello rather than goodbye. I awkwardly introduce myself and ask if he might, after all, be willing to go for just one drink.

He eyes me sympathetically. He pauses. “Okay, okay.”

I tell him I’ll take him around the corner to Charlie’s Kitchen and then get him back to his hotel (Nine Zero on Tremont Street); turns out a Boston Globe reporter already took him to Charlie’s today (damn), but he liked it, so that’s cool.

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