Hilarious ‘IV’ channels my friend Stodnose
August 24, 2007
This will definitely come across as a plug for a book. But first, a plug for a friend.The book is Chuck Klosterman’s “IV,” but given the snippet of story I’m about to tell, my friend should remain mostly anonymous; I’ll just identify him by part of his e-mail address, which he derived from the way someone once mangled his name: Stodnose.Recounting this story might make me sound callous, especially on this end of the Roaring Fork Valley, but the first person I needed to talk to after Hunter Thompson checked out was Stodnose.”Well, you’ve almost got to consider this like a job opening,” I said.
I was a copy editor at the Glenwood Springs paper, where I’d semi-routinely receive phone calls asking whether I had a coffee break coming up. “I’m on the other side of Glenwood Canyon,” Stodnose would say. “See you in 11 minutes.” Which he would, usually pulling into the parking lot in a low-slung chunk of German surgical steel or American heavy metal, whereupon we’d usually try to break the unofficial land speed record to Carbondale.If it seems like I’m digressing, Stodnose drinks like he drives, and he writes like he’s just jammed the ’07 Corvette into sixth gear. Which is to say balls-out.Chuck Klosterman doesn’t write balls-out, exactly, and I’m not sure he’s more qualified to assume Hunter’s mantle than, say, Stodnose. However, if I considered him to be the logical heir to the throne, I wouldn’t be the first.
The inside jacket of “IV” is literally a litany of statements to the effect of “Chuck Klosterman is the (INSERT FAMOUS PERSON) of the (INSERT SCHOOL OF THOUGHT).” The snippet from People magazine actually reads, “Klosterman is the new Hunter S. Thompson. Only it’s as if Hunter were obsessed with KISS instead of Nixon.”If that’s not exactly a perfect analysis, it’s close. I’ve read most of the Hunter Thompson canon, but I’m no arbiter of what constitutes gonzo. Still, I’d guess Klosterman would qualify for the nerdier end. Which doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for “IV.”So here it is: The book kept me laughing out loud for two days, snorting in the airport at Burlington, Vt., audibly howling on the flight from Philly to Denver. And it’s not just funny, it’s thoughtful: KISS plus Kierkegaard.I thoroughly enjoyed one of Klosterman’s earlier collections of pop-culture criticism and opinion, “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs,” especially its bang-on skewering of the newspaper industry, but the tone started wearing on me after a while. Not so with “IV.” Despite finding one fairly serious error (Steve Nash played college ball at Santa Clara, not UCSB), it kept me laughing and thinking. And it’s out in paperback.In the meantime, after you finish “IV,” remember Stodnose and check out the automotive section of many of western Colorado’s local newspapers.