Is it just me or does it seem like every time Bill Simmons talks to Chuck Klosterman he just gets destroyed?
Bill Simmons usually comes off as pretty smart, or at least witty, interesting and full of ideas. He seems to think more about things than anyone outside of Seinfeld and usually has opinions or suggestions for changes. That’s what makes him a lot different than other pundits out there, he almost always has solutions. They may not ever take place, or necessarily make sense, but he never really enters an argument without a change that he’d make if he were in charge.
But all of that falls apart when he talks to Chuck Klosterman. Chuck is an unusually bright guy if a little too intense about his thoughts about culture. He often thinks his way into and out of different scenarios and is an excellent contrarian and devil’s advocate. He’s great at reminding you that while you may think you know why you’re doing something or liking something, you’re probably forgetting something bigger (or smaller) that’s really going on. So when he talks to Bill Simmons, he just kills him.
The conversations that they’ve had publicly (ie, on Simmons’ podcast) are few but very telling. It’s like what happens in college when a blowhard tries to make a point in class and someone far more articulate who doesn’t talk much just mops the floor with the moron who is usually talking just to hear the sound of his own voice. Simmons asserts all of these opinions that his other guests either let slide or aren’t quick witted enough to respond to. Not Klosterman. Chuck challenges him on almost every point, and while he very often concedes a good point made by Simmons, he’ll slam the rest at junk.
Really, it’s a fantastic back-and-forth if you like seeing the inadequacies in someone being pointed out for all to see (or hear, in this case). I think Klosterman is brilliant (though way more into music than I prefer) but I would never ever want him on the podcast for this blog. Not that there’s any chance of that happening. But he’d kill me. All the points I’d want to make he’d question for psychological, ideological or other reasons like pure ineptitude and bullshit. That’s what he seems to have, a bullshit-radar that calls out people who are faking it. I wouldn’t say I’m faking it but sometimes people act like they know more than they really do. When Simmons does that, Klosterman jumps all over it.
I would link to their conversations on the BS Report but I try to avoid linking to ESPN at all costs. So go on there and find them if you’re interested in hearing them. Or better yet, read Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Klosterman’s excellent book on pop culture. For those of us under 30, there’s some stuff that goes over your head because of the age difference and the things he took in as a kid as compared to our generation. But still, check it out.