Chuck Klosterman

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Chuck Klosterman
Klosterman in 2009
Klosterman in 2009
BornCharles John Klosterman
(1972-06-05) June 5, 1972 (age 51)
Breckenridge, Minnesota, U.S.
  • Author
  • journalist
EducationUniversity of North Dakota
  • Popular culture
  • sports
Melissa Maerz
(m. 2009)

Charles John Klosterman (/ˈklstɜːrmən/;[1] born June 5, 1972) is an American author and essayist whose work focuses 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 twelve 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.[2]

Early life[edit]

Klosterman was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, the youngest of seven children of Florence and William Klosterman.[3] He is of German and Polish descent.[4] He grew up on a farm in nearby Wyndmere, North Dakota,[5] and was raised Roman Catholic. He graduated from Wyndmere High School in 1990 and from the University of North Dakota in 1994.[citation needed]


After college, Klosterman was a journalist in Fargo, North Dakota, and later a reporter and arts critic for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, before moving to New York City in 2002.[6] From 2002 to 2006, Klosterman was a senior writer and columnist for Spin. He has written for GQ, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, The Guardian, and The Washington Post.[7] His magazine work has been anthologized in Da Capo Press's Best Music Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Though initially recognized for his rock writing, Klosterman has written extensively about sports and began contributing articles to ESPN's Page 2 on November 8, 2005.[8]

In 2008, Klosterman spent the summer as the Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the Leipzig University's Institute for American Studies in Germany.[9]

Klosterman was an original member of Grantland, a now-defunct sports and pop culture web site owned by ESPN and founded by Bill Simmons. Klosterman was a consulting editor.[10] In 2020, he co-hosted a podcast titled "Music Exists" with Chris Ryan as part of The Ringer podcast network.

He also appeared as an animated version of himself in several episodes of the Adult Swim web feature Carl's Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week, to discuss the week's football games and to sometimes try to promote his latest book (Carl cuts him off each time). In one episode, Carl recites a list of facts and Klosterman asks "Is this, perhaps, from Wikipedia?"[11]

In 2012, Klosterman appeared in the documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits about musical group LCD Soundsystem; Klosterman's extended interview with the group's frontman James Murphy "forms the...backbone of the film".[12]

His eighth book, titled I Wear the Black Hat, was published in 2013. It focuses on the paradox of villainy within a heavily mediated culture.

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

His best-selling ninth book, 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.[13]

In 2021, Klosterman appeared on the podcast Storybound, backed by an original Storybound remix with Portico Quartet.[14]

His 12th book, The Nineties, debuted at No. 2 on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list on February 27, 2022.[15]

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, Klosterman married journalist Melissa Maerz. They have two children.[16]


Klosterman is the author of 12 books and two sets of cards.


Essay collections[edit]


Card sets[edit]

  • HYPERtheticals: 50 Questions for Insane Conversations (2010), a set of 50 cards featuring hypothetical questions[21]
  • SUPERtheticals: 50 Questions for Strange Conversations (2020), another set of 50 cards featuring hypothetical questions[22]


  1. ^ Old School: Ep 305. Unorthodox. Tablet. February 10, 2022. Event occurs at 25:49. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  2. ^ "35th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award Recipients". Archived from the original on June 14, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  3. ^ Knudson, Pamela (August 10, 2018). "N.D. native, author Chuck Klosterman forges career — his way". Jamestown Sun. Archived from the original on August 11, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  4. ^ DuShane, Tony (November 12, 2011). "Chuck Klosterman – An Awesomely Long Interview". The Nervous Breakdown. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  5. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (April 27, 2003). "Everyone Knows This Is Somewhere". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (October 15, 2002). "Rubber City Meets the Crossroad". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  7. ^ "Chuck Klosterman". Gawker. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (November 8, 2005). "Just keep my sports the same". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  9. ^ "New Picador Professor Chuck Klosterman". Universität Leipzig: Institute for American Studies. 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  10. ^ "All-Star Roster of Writers and Editors to Join New ESPN Web Site". Grantland. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  11. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (guest) (September 1, 2013). Carl's Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week. Carl's Pissed. Event occurs at 1:03. Archived from the original on March 2, 2023. Retrieved July 10, 2023. Alt URL
  12. ^ Buckwalter, Ian (July 17, 2012). "At His Zenith, An Unlikely Rock Star Bows Out". NPR. National Public Radio. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  13. ^ Jones, Nate Chuck Klosterman Is Writing a Book About the Possibility of Us Being Wrong About, Well, Everything Vulture. January 20, 2016
  14. ^ "Announcing Season 4 of the Storybound Podcast". Storybound. Literary Hub. June 4, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  15. ^ Best Sellers - Books - Feb. 27, 2022 - The New York Times
  16. ^ Dresser, Ashley (September 30, 2009). "Klosterman and Maerz: two hipsters say "I do"". Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  17. ^ I Wear the Black Hat | Book by Chuck Klosterman – Simon & Schuster. 2013. ISBN 9781439184509. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  18. ^ Holt, Jim (June 29, 2016). "The Good, the True, the Beautiful and Chuck Klosterman". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 2, 2016.
  19. ^ "The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman: 9780735217959 | Books".
  20. ^ Sheehan, Jason (July 18, 2019). "34 Ways To Beat The System In 'Raised In Captivity'". Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  21. ^ "HYPERtheticals by Chuck Klosterman". Random House. June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  22. ^ "SUPERtheticals by Chuck Klosterman". Random House. October 13, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.

External links[edit]