Bad Advice from Chuck Klosterman

"That's bad advice," Chuck Klosterman told me at a book reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble earlier today, after responding to a question I posed while he signed copies of his latest work, Eating the Dinosaur.

I had asked him if he had any advice for an aspiring journalist new to New York from Iowa. His response, paraphrased a bit since I didn't jot notes, was as follows:

"Not really. I did 10 years ago, but everything's changing so much now. I would have said long-form journalism, but now I don't know. Maybe be as bombastic as you possibly can. But that's bad advice."

"I've thought about that," I replied, "but you can't really go back from that, can you?"

"No, you can't. It's probably bad advice. Good luck!"

Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is one of my favorite books, so I thought my question was the most appropriate for the moment.

In hindsight, I should have asked him about DIY venues, because he spent a good deal of time talking about music, and because my good friend Nate Logsdon runs a venue in Ames. The guy ahead of me in line was Alex Skolnick, a guitarist in the heavy metal band Testament. They're opening for Slayer next month in New Jersey, and Skolnick was telling Klosterman he should go to the show. Klosterman's first words to me after this were "Midwest Dilemma," the name of a band he read off the shirt I'm wearing that's played Nate's Ames Progressive Space several times. It was the perfect invitation to continue the music conversation.

But at least the members of Midwest Dilemma can rest easy knowing Chuck Klosterman has now heard of them. If they ever read this. If it even matters.

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