Shelves: contemporary , hipster , personal-favorite , dark , subversive , smart-nerdy , character-heavy , weird , horror Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally. These are the unfortunates of any given era, because the tropes of that era are so well-known by then, the last artists of that movement can only achieve fame through cartoonish exaggerations of them; and although many of them push through to become the groundbreakers of the next era, that group of creatives in general tends to get blamed for driving that era into the ground for good, and for necessitating the cultural shift to the new era in the first place. And so for a long time did I think Klosterman was going to fall into this latter camp, of essentially gimmicky hacks who were never able to transcend the gimmicks that gave them successes right at the end of the Postmodernist period, much like all those trendily popular "Genteel" writers of the early 20th century, huge in their own time but now nearly forgotten because of the ascendancy of Early Modernism in those same years; and especially after the bitter failure of his full-length fiction debut, Downtown Owl, which had been hyped as his opportunity to break out of the endless clever-but-empty essays about heavy metal and breakfast cereal and celebrity interviews that his entire nonfiction career had so far been based on, but which turned out to be more like a page Chuck Klosterman article but even more quirky and precious than his journalism work, if such a thing is possible. And so part of the book is written as a series of direct monologues from this literal mad scientist, polished things that feel the most Klostermanian and I assume were the first parts the author wrote; but then perhaps realizing that he needed something more to hold it all together, part of this is written from the standpoint of the psychologist who our unnamed narrator Y.
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Pop culture, however, is not the fundamental drive-shaft of the Klosterman engine. It may be the rims, the grill, the spoiler, the hydraulics, and sometimes even the steering wheel. But pop culture itself does not propel the Klostermobile, even when it fuels it. I mean instead a literal lack of intrinsic beliefs: nothing taken for granted, a breakdown of prejudice, the removal of assumptions.
Pop culture just happens to be one of those areas where we make lots of presumptions and share more experiences than maybe anywhere else. These are either a abstractions made for the purpose of illuminating a bigger picture, or b hiccups where the Klostermobile stalls out. But I digress. Klosterman blends predictability, asininity, and enough smatterings of The Beatles, the Internet, and sports to render his voyees as vivid, lifelike dullards.
The author includes the clunky details of an invisibility suit; he manages to geek-out on the logistics of invisibility-spying just enough to put this book on the cusp of psychological sci-fi. And you will ultimately find a disappointing lack of resolution at the point where art and entertainment diverge.
His normal state of being is the way you feel during dynamic moments of bewilderment. But he makes his point. Here, The Visible Man attempts to reckon with the issue ethically. But Klosterman seems to have developed his futuristic invisibility spy-suit to make a subtle counter-point on behalf of modernity. Suffering aside, technology can—theoretically—bring people into the real world.
Ryan P. Carey, D.
The Visible Man