Posts Tagged ‘Bernhard Goetz’

I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman (image via amazon.com)

By Chuck Klosterman
July 22
Finished: November 22

Huzzah! I finished all twenty-seven books in less than year! They now set upon a window shelf in my room, stacked about halfway to the ceiling because I literally have nowhere to put them. I took a month off to write all these recaps and re-energize for next year’s challenge.

My last book, I Wear the Black Hat, took a little while to read: it’s another collection of cultural critique essays that sometimes can be overwhelming to read straight through. I actually found out this brand new Chuck Klosterman offering because it was included as a preview in The Visible Man. The preview chapter focused on Batman and a real life NYC vigilante and how society viewed the two similar narratives through completely different lenses: the fictional Batman defeats foes who threaten the fictional Gotham and is a (complicated) hero; 80s subway shooter Bernhard Goetz, originally viewed as a hero that fought back against crime, quickly became a villain in the public perception. Disclosure: Klosterman almost lost me when he said something to the extent of “Pretend Batman is real…and he goes around New York City shooting people. C’mon, did you not see The Dark Knight Rises?).  

Each essay examines and different aspect of pop culture, ranging from sports teams and figures to musicians, actors, and politicians, and posing the question can anyone ever be truly good or truly bad?  Overall, this was not as engaging as other Klosterman works (like my favorite,  Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs) and, due to my age (hello, babies of the 80s!) some of the references were hard to follow or just not interesting, but as a Klosterman fan, I’m pretty sure I would have been disappointed in myself if I gave up on Black Hat–it’s a book that got me thinking, not only about myself and my perceived face but of how I perceived other as well. Do I see them as a villain because they are actually evil? Or do I see them as such because society tells me they are evil?



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