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I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Chuck Klosterman is like your smart friend you wanna take shots with and  then discuss pop culture & philosophy.  In his latest he takes on the idea of "evil," and villains.  His work is always anecdotal with tons of pop culture references.  No one is safe in this collection, not even Muhammad Ali or Bruce Springsteen. 

— From Miranda's Picks


From New York Times bestselling author, "one of America's top cultural critics" (Entertainment Weekly), and "The Ethicist" for The New York Times Magazine, comes a new book of all original pieces on villains and villainy.

Chuck Klosterman has walked into the darkness. As a boy, he related to the cultural figures who represented goodness--but as an adult, he found himself unconsciously aligning with their enemies. This was not because he necessarily liked what they were doing; it was because they were doing it on purpose (and they were doing it better). They wanted to be evil. And what, exactly, was that supposed to mean? When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying (and why are we so obsessed with saying it)? How does the culture of deliberate malevolence operate?

In I Wear the Black Hat, Klosterman questions the modern understanding of villainy. What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don't we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol--Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O. J. Simpson's second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?

Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that's instantly accessible and really, really funny. Klosterman continues to be the only writer doing whatever it is he's doing.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781439184493
ISBN-10: 1439184496
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Publication Date: July 9th, 2013
Pages: 214
Language: English