Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Wear the Black Hat

I just finished I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined), Chuck Klosterman's engaging collection of essays.

Examining what makes us think of some people as especially bad -- as "villains", Klosterman analyzes moments in recent cultural history in wonderfully clever ways. From Sandusky to Linda Tripp to OJ Simpson to Perez Hilton -- why do we see these people as particularly villainous? This is not a lesson in morality; it is more subtle than that, and much more interesting.

Because I am out of it pop-culture-wise these days, I was relieved that many of the incidents and people he discussed were prominent in the 90s. But, even if he was discussing sports figures of whom I know nothing, his writing was so enjoyable and his ideas were so presented so eloquently that familiarity with the point of reference was not always necessary. I Wear the Black Hat is both thought-provoking and entertaining. My favorite combo.

I was disappointed that he didn't address the movie Megamind, which chronicles the existential crisis of a super-villain deprived of his arch enemy. I would love to read Klosterman's review of that movie. As it is, I will definitely be reading more of him in the future.

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