Age: 38 years old
Last song played on iPod: Bootleg 1976 Van Halen demo tape
Last movie seen: “Catfish” and “Goodfellas”
Favorite sandwich: Chicken cutlet with American cheese, bacon and honey mustard on a roll
Author Chuck Klosterman will speak at SCAD-Atlanta, Thursday in Building C at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Ivy Hall Writers Series.
Klosterman, author of “Sex, Drugs and Coca Puffs,” and columnist for “Esquire” is known for his pop culture commentary—whether it’s Coldplay, hipsters or the Boston Celtics. He said he doesn’t know what he will talk about in his lecture until the day of because “I don’t plan until I’m on the way down.”
But he did talk about his work, students today and, of course, pop culture. By now in his career, he’s used to being a go-to guy for commentary.
“It kind of feels normal now,” he said. “I guess I’ve forgotten how weird it is. At the same time it’s just declarative; it’s the best way to describe it.”
Klosterman started his career in journalism, a foundation he said that still gives his writing clarity today.
“Anytime you write for a newspaper,” he said. “You write like a newspaper person forever.”
Sports is also included in Klosterman’s news career and he considers sports a part of pop culture.
“I write about sports the same way I write about rock music,” he said.
There’s a mystique about Klosterman’s writing process. In an interview with the AV Club, Klosterman said he writes quickly, but typically thinks about the writing for six hours prior to writing.
What’s going on in his head for those six hours?
“I guess it’s just sort of talking to myself,” he said. “I just sort of imagine talking in my mind what I’m thinking about. It sort of all becomes a ball of yarn of information. Writing is just stringing out the ball of yarn.”
Klosterman referred to himself in the same interview as an “optimistic cynic,” which he said many people his age and younger do.
“I kind of have a sense that the world is bad,” he said, “but everything’s going to work out for me. People look at the world and think that human nature is bad, that the problems outweigh the goodness. But that doesn’t apply to yourself. ‘No one is getting a job but I will. Everyone’s relationship is bad, but mine’s good.’”
Regarding advice for graduating students, especially students pursuing the writing industry, Klosterman suggested a fluent technological background and the ability to network.
“If you asked me five, certainly 10 years ago, I feel like I would have lots of advice. The technological side has changed so quickly. I don’t know how it works. You really have to be fluent in technology. You have to constantly keep up with the newest aspect of how publishing works. You don’t need to know how it works but know what it is.”
More generally, Klosterman said students need to “realize relationships and networking is a bigger thing than it used to be.”
Networking is definitely bigger for Klosterman. He has more than 45,000 followers on his Twitter account and that “seems completely crazy” to him.
“It’s weird to have an actual count of how many people are reading throwaway sentences I type,” he said. “But in another sense, I see how many followers other people have, and it doesn’t seem so weird. There’s no merit of what people are saying to how many followers they have. Is Ashton Kutcher saying more interesting things than Errol Morris by a factor of 10,000? Probably not.”
But Twitter, for Klosterman, is also “strange and uncomfortable.”
When asked, “What’s the most annoying trend you’ve noticed in the millennial generation?” Klosterman said the distance between artists and their audience.
“It’s gotten too far,” he said. “It’s become an expectation. I’m shocked on Twitter if someone sends me a message and they get extremely upset if I don’t respond.”
“People in the commentator culture feel like they’re actually more involved with the product than they are. And they seem to think that other people should think that as well,” said Klosterman.
A concept Klosterman does not feel involved with is the typeface of his books.
Klosterman’s books feature a distinct, if not iconic, typeface, which he said is “a tweaked version of Helvetica.” For a man who has an opinion of and pulse on all things pop culture, he had to pause and consider the question, “Do you feel this typeface perfectly represents you?”
“The font was really memorable to people,” he said. “I guess because it’s so straightforward. 25 years ago, no one knew what the word font meant. But now, because of computers, and the way word processing is design, people have attached meaning to fonts.”
For Klosterman, there’s not much meaning or attachment to his book font.
“The first time I saw it,” he said. “It looked kind of weird. I wanted to get all the words closer together.”
Klosterman said Times New Roman is the best kind of font for writing.
“To me, it looks like the smartest kind of font,” he said.
Thursday’s lecture is free and open to the public and a book signing will follow the lecture with a book purchase.
Though Klosterman is not coming to the Savannah campus, he has been to Savannah. He said Savannah has “a positive drinking policy.”Contact Deanne Revel.