Posts Tagged ‘Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs’

Aught Lang Syne: The Decade in Nonfiction, Part II

In case you missed Part I of our analysis of the decade’s best nonfiction, you can check it out here.

9/11, Pirates and Emperors, Hegemony or Survival, Failed States, et. al. – Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky has always been prolific in his political writings, but the aftermath of 9/11 saw an increase in the relevance of his criticisms of American foreign policy. As an unabashed radical and critic of American interventionism, Chomsky’s writings express points of view that are virtually unrepresented in the mainstream discourse. For those who agree and those who disagree, Chomsky represents important challenges to American foreign policy that need to be addressed, given the country’s ongoing role in violent global affairs.

–John S

Moneyball – Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis is arguably the best nonfiction writer of the Aughts, and Moneyball is one of the best nonfiction books of the Aughts. Lewis made Billy Beane and sabermetrics (i.e. baseball statistical analysis) into a superstar and super-method. No other book has had as much effect on the general management of a sport than Moneyball has had on baseball. OPS shifted from undervalued to properly or even overvalued (and, you know what’s next) and teams continued to hire Art Howe (well, that wasn’t a good thing). More than simply chronicling Beane’s (general) managerial philosophy, Lewis extracted meaningful themes from it such as capitalism’s push for efficiency as reflected in baseball and overcoming the deleterious effects of dogmatic insiders.

–Josh

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Eating the Dinosaur and Constructing Reality

eating the dinosaurI’m not really sure why Chuck Klosterman’s new book of essays is called Eating the Dinosaur. The name sounds cool, but it doesn’t really say anything about what the book is about. Unlike Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, which had essays on sex, drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, there are (unfortunately) no essays on dinosaurs or their consumption in Eating the Dinosaur; the name instead comes from an essay on time-travel, in which Klosterman declares that eating a dinosaur is the only ethical reason he can conceive of to travel back in time.

Why does this matter?

Well, it’s always hard to describe what Klosterman writes about. On the first page of my copy (which says “advance uncorrected proof” on the cover,* so who knows if it’ll be on yours) is a (probably) fabricated interview with an unnamed source who describes the book as having “quite a bit about violence and Garth Brooks and why Germans don’t laugh when they’re inside grocery stores. Ralph Nader and Ralph Sampson play significant roles. I think there are several pages about Rear Window and football and Mad Men and why Rivers Cuomo prefers having sex with Asian women.” These kinds of things seem somewhat frivolous and unconnected, particularly when they are presented this way.

*I’m a pretty big deal.

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