Chuck Klosterman

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Charles John "Chuck" Klosterman (born June 5, 1972) is an American author and essayist who has written books and essays focused on American popular culture. He has been a columnist for Esquire and and wrote "The Ethicist" column for The New York Times Magazine. Klosterman is the author of ten books, including two novels and the essay collection Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto. He was awarded the ASCAP Deems Taylor award for music criticism in 2002.[1]

Chuck Klosterman
Chuck Klosterman in Minneapolis, Minn. on Sept. 20, 2009
Born Charles John Klosterman
June 5, 1972 (age 45)
Breckenridge, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation Author, columnist
Nationality American
Genre Music
Pop culture
Spouse Melissa Maerz (2009–present)

Early life

Klosterman was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, the youngest of seven children of Florence and William Klosterman.[2] He is of German and Polish descent.[3] He grew up on a farm in nearby Wyndmere, North Dakota,[4] and was raised Roman Catholic. He graduated from Wyndmere High School in 1990 and from the University of North Dakota in 1994.


After college, Klosterman was a journalist in Fargo, North Dakota, and later an arts critic for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, before moving to New York City in 2002.[5]

Klosterman was a senior writer for Spin and wrote a column titled "My Back Pages" (formerly "Rant and Roll Over" and "### Words from Chuck Klosterman").[6] He has written for GQ, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, The Guardian, and The Washington Post.[7]

Klosterman participated in an e-mail exchange on ESPN's Page 2 with writer Bill Simmons in August 2004.[8] In September 2005, Simmons interviewed him in his "Curious Guy" segment.[9] Though initially recognized for his rock writing, Klosterman has written extensively about sports and began contributing articles to Page 2 on November 8, 2005.[10] The ESPN site featured his week-long blog from Super Bowl XL in early 2006,[11] and a weekend-long blog covering his experience at the 2007 Final Four.[12]

In 2008, Klosterman spent the summer as the Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig's Institute for American Studies in Leipzig, Germany.[13]

In 2009, Klosterman married journalist Melissa Maerz.[14]

In 2011, Klosterman joined Grantland, a now defunct sports and pop culture web site, which was conceived and led by former ESPN employee and founder of the web site The Ringer, Bill Simmons. Klosterman was a consulting editor.[15]

He also appeared in the first three episodes of the Adult Swim web feature Carl's Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week, discussing the year's football games as an animated version of himself and trying (unsuccessfully) to plug his book as Carl cuts him off each time. He vanished after the third episode, with Carl giving the explanation of "He had to go do a book tour and also he didn't like how I kept calling him 'pencilneck'".

In 2012, Klosterman appeared in the documentary film Shut Up and Play the Hits, as the interviewer for an extended interview with the film's subject, LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy that is featured throughout the film.

In 2015, Klosterman appeared on episodes 6 and 7 of the 1st season of IFC show, Documentary Now! as a music critic for the fictional band "The Blue Jean Committee."

His ninth book, titled But What If We're Wrong: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, was published June 7, 2016. It visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear in the future to those who will perceive it as the distant past.[16]


Klosterman is the author of ten books and a set of cards.


  • Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta (2001), a humorous memoir/history on the phenomenon of glam metal
  • Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story (2005), a road narrative focused on the relationship between rock music, mortality, and romantic love
  • I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) (2013)[17]
  • But What If We're Wrong: Thinking about the Present as if it were the Past (2016)[18]
  • HYPERtheticals: 50 Questions for Insane Conversations (2010), a set of 50 cards featuring hypothetical questions[19]

Essay collections

  • Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (2003), a best-selling collection of original pop culture essays
  • Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (2006), a collection of articles, previously published columns, and a semi-autobiographical novella
  • Eating the Dinosaur (2009), a collection of previously unpublished essays
  • Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century (2017), a collection of previously published essays and features



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Maerz-Klosterman | INFORUM | Fargo, ND". Inforum. August 9, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  3. ^ "Tony DuShane | Chuck Klosterman – An Awesomely Long Interview". The Nervous Breakdown. November 12, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  4. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (April 27, 2003). "Everyone Knows This Is Somewhere". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  5. ^ Chuck Klosterman, "Rubber City Meets the Crossroad," The Village Voice, 15 October 2002.
  6. ^ Cityfile, "Chuck Klosterman," Gawker, 3 February 2008. Archived June 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Cityfile, "Chuck Klosterman," Gawker, 3 February 2008. Archived June 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Klosterman, Chuck and Simmons, Bill (August 17, 2004). "Face-Off: A late wake-up call". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  9. ^ Simmons, Bill (September 27, 2005). "Curious Guy: Chuck Klosterman". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  10. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (November 8, 2005). "Just keep my sports the same". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  11. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (January 30, 2006). "Dying a Super Death". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  12. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (March 30, 2007). "Taking aim at the Final Four". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  13. ^ American Studies Leipzig, "New Picador Professor Chuck Klosterman," 28 May, 2008.
  14. ^ Dresser, Ashley (September 30, 2009). "Klosterman and Maerz: two hipsters say "I do" | – Serving the University of Minnesota Community Since 1900". Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  15. ^ "All-Star Roster of Writers and Editors to Join New ESPN Web Site". Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  16. ^ Jones, Nate Chuck Klosterman Is Writing a Book About the Possibility of Us Being Wrong About, Well, Everything Vulture. January 20, 2016
  17. ^ "I Wear the Black Hat | Book by Chuck Klosterman – Simon & Schuster". Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  18. ^ Frase, Brigitte Review: 'But What if We're Wrong?' by Chuck Klosterman Minneapolis Star Tribune. June 24, 2016
  19. ^ "HYPERtheticals by Chuck Klosterman". Random House. June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  20. ^ "The Visible Man".

External links

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