Chuck Klosterman Interview

A Conversation with Chuck Klosterman, author of Eating the Dinosaur

You use the concept of eating dinosaur in an aside that illustrates the absurdity of our desire to travel through time, but the concept, by virtue of being used in the book’s title, seems to have been assigned more significant meaning. Who is “eating the dinosaur”? You? The media? Society as a whole? Is this good or bad?

A: The short answer is that I just liked the way that phrase sounded. The long answer is that I am particularly interested in all the versions of media that are regularly defined as "dinosaurs" -- the newspaper industry, the music industry, network television, unmediated sports, etc.

How has your perception of authenticity changed over time?

A: When I was young, I never thought about it. In my late 20s, I came to the conclusion that authenticity (at least as it's applied to art) did not matter and was not important. I now feel like it still does not matter, but it's probably the ONLY thing that's actually important.

How, if it all, has your career as a journalist changed the nature of personal conversations you have?

A: I can no longer tell the difference between interviewing someone and talking to them. But that was probably always the case.

As a pure consumer of entertainment, and not from the standpoint of a music critic, do you enjoy listening to ABBA? Is it possible to even answer this question within this boundary?

A: This is an easy question to answer. I love listening to ABBA.

What advertising campaign have you attempted to feel immune to, but found yourself wanting the product nonetheless?

A: Every infomercial I've ever seen. I feel like no genre of advertising is more effective than the infomercial.

Did you employ the numbered outline structure in Eating the Dinosaur to facilitate the read, or make it more complex?

A: Probably the former, although the main idea was to reflect the structure of how modern humans think about problems. I would never consciously try to make a book more complex than it naturally was. That seems crazy to me.

Can you tell us who is featured in each Q&A within the book? At what point during the writing of this book did you decide to include the Q&A’s and how did you select each of them?

A: None of those are real. I decline to answer the second part of the question. Although I will concede that it's a good question.

You recently wrote your first novel, Downtown Owl. How different was that process from writing nonfiction? Which narrative form engages you more deeply with reality?

A: It took more time. It was harder. It was less engaged with reality. I guess I've kind of stopped thinking about that book, actually. Maybe I'll think about it again when I write another novel.

You write that being a journalist is a “tremendous way to earn a living.” If you could have any profession other than your own, what would it be?

A: Private investigator or crisis management consultant. Or are you including dream jobs, like playing in the NBA or being Tony Iommi or something? Could I be a cult leader? Does that count?

You admit to having openly lied in interviews. How do we know that you’ve told the truth in these responses?

A: How would you know? How would I know?