But What if We’re Wrong? Thinking about the Present As If It Were the Past

By Chuck Klosterman

Blue Rider Press

 

A sceptic might say, “You can lead a reader to a book but you can’t make him think.” To which Chuck Klosterman might reply, “Think again.” The cultural critic has made a quirky publishing career out of challenging sacred notions (I Wear the Black Hat; Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs) and gleefully advancing original views on reality television, music, pornography, democracy and a lot more besides. Here, he again proves there is no such thing as accepted wisdom by travelling centuries ahead and imagining today’s world as it might look to those viewing it as part of a remote past. He asks how sure we are about our grasp of time; how rock music will be remembered; if we really understand gravity, Sir Isaac; and whether we’ve finally stopped learning altogether. This isn’t the first Klosterman book to lean heavily on interviews – not that that’s a bad thing when the interviewees are of the standing of musician David Byrne, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and writer Junot Diaz. It’s a wild ride that perhaps would only be improved by Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were on an audio version.