Chuck Klosterman is the author of numerous books and essays on pop culture. In his bestselling Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs; A Low Culture Manifesto, he had an interlude piece titled “23 Questions I Ask Everybody I Meet In Order To Decide If I Can Really Love Them”. I’ll be answering those questions in a series of posts. Feel free to chip in your thoughts or answers. See also: Part I and Part II.
7. Defying all expectation, a group of Scottish marine biologists capture a live Loch Ness Monster. In an almost unbelievable coincidence, a bear hunter in the Pacific Northwest shoots a Sasquatch in the thigh, thereby allowing zoologists to take the furry monster into captivity. These events happen on the same afternoon. That evening, the president announces he may have thyroid cancer and will undergo a biopsy later that week.
You are the front page editor of The New York Times: What do you play as the biggest story?
I think the Loch Ness Monster gets top billing, followed by Sasquatch. Nessie is more famous than Bigfoot, and the two stories are essentially the same. The President unfortunately gets lowest billing, but only because it is only speculative news, with more to come later in the week. The follow-up story, regardless of the diagnosis, gets tops billing that wouldn’t be relevant for follow-ups to either of the monster stories.
8. You meet the perfect person. Romantically, this person is ideal: You find them physically attractive, intellectually stimulating, consistently funny, and deeply compassionate. However, they have one quirk: This individual is obsessed with Jim Henson’s gothic puppet fantasy The Dark Crystal. Beyond watching it on DVD at least once a month, he/she peppers casual conversation with Dark Crystal references, uses Dark Crystal analogies to explain everyday events, and occasionally likes to talk intensely about the film’s “deeper philosophy.”
Would this be enough to stop you from marrying this individual?
I just read through the wiki summary of the movie, and it sounds bananas. Without having ever seen the movie, I say this weird obsession isn’t a deal breaker. It’s given that I find this young lady stimulating and intelligent. Hopefully, that means her Dark Crystal conversations are at the least entertaining, and possibly enlightening. Also, I’ve been known to have long conversations about the philosophy of story-telling, so I might actually be into this kind of stuff. Sigh. Sometimes I am such an unbearable nerd.
9. A novel titled Interior Mirror is released to mammoth commercial success (despite middling reviews). However, a curious social trend emerges: Though no one can prove a direct scientific link, it appears that almost 30 percent of the people who read this book immediately become homosexual. Many of these newfound homosexuals credit the book for helping them reach this conclusion about their orientation, despite the fact that Interior Mirror is ostensibly a crime novel with no homoerotic content (and was written by a straight man).
Would this phenomenon increase (or decrease) the likelihood of you reading this book?
I’d be curious to check it out, but I wouldn’t put aside whatever was already on my reading list. I would devour any articles or essays looking into the phenomenon, to see what it’s all about. I think Klosterman is getting at two related points here, security and openness. In his great TED Talk, UVA professor Jonathan Haidt examines the moral impulses of thousands of people, and draws out a few truths. First, people who self-identify as liberals tend to be more open to new experiences than are self-identified conservatives. Secondly, the question could get at how secure one feels in their sexuality or personal identity.