From New York Times best-selling author, "one of America's top cultural critics" (Entertainment Weekly), and "The Ethicist" for The New York Times Magazine, comes a new book of all original pieces on villains and villainy.
Chuck Klosterman has walked into the darkness. As a boy, he related to the cultural figures who represented goodness - but as an adult, he found himself unconsciously aligning with their enemies. This was not because he necessarily liked what they were doing; it was because they were doing it on purpose (and they were doing it better). They wanted to be evil. And what, exactly, was that supposed to mean? When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying (and why are we so obsessed with saying it)?
In I Wear the Black Hat, Klosterman questions the very nature of how modern people understand the concept of villainy. What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don't we see Batman the same way we see Bernhard Goetz? Who's more worthy of our vitriol - Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O.J. Simpson's second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still obsessed with some kid he knew for one week in 1985?
Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and limitless imagination, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the anti-hero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). I Wear the Black Hat is the rare example of serious criticism that's instantly accessible and really, really funny. Klosterman is the only writer doing whatever it is he's doing.
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My Favorite Writer Falls a Little Short...
For years now, Chuck Klosterman has been my favorite author because of his quick wit, sub-pop cultural knowledge, conversational style, and his unique way of looking at the rest of the world. His books "IV" and "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" are some of the titles I am most proud to have on my bookshelf.
Although this book IS incredibly insightful at times, and it DOES read just as easily as any of Klosterman's other work, it falls just a LITTLE short of what I had hoped. I believe this is because, (up until this book), he had never penned himself in to a corner as far as the exact TOPIC of what he was "supposed" to write about. Although I'm sure his goal was to have everything tie together neatly in the end, the book comes across as a collection of essays that are related only by the slightest thread.
Still, a very enjoyable listen but I'm sure that Chuck wishes he hadn't given himself self-imposed restrictions on his subject matter.
- Niels J. Rasmussen
Thoughtful but not as good as some of his others
While the premise was interesting it seemed at times like he was all over the place and it was a bit confusing. Many of his ideas are interesting but he doesn't really provide much concrete evidence of them. I think the book really brings up good ideas but his support for his opinion on the ideas sometimes just isn't there. This also is the first book of his I have read where some of his personal biases seem to have clouded his reasoning and not made me buy in.