I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined), by Chuck Klosterman

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I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined), by Chuck Klosterman

Post  Bookworm on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:18 am

No one argues today that O J Simpson, Ted Bundy, Jerry Sandusky, Joseph Stalin, Mao ZeDong, and the father of all villains, Adolf Hitler, are the most heinous of ne'er do wells. But Bill Clinton, Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell, Charles Bronson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain? Rogues, perhaps, but hardly villains. It remains a mystery as to what made Lew Alcindor a villain other than his height and his stupid appearance in the movie Airplane.
Author Klosterman appears obsessed with famous folks we both love and hate, claiming in many instances that all villains, as exemplified by Cosell and Ali, knew exactly what they were doing in order to create fame. The secret to success rests in a persona that seems not to give a damn what folks think. Surely the most famous of all high jackers, D B Cooper, exuded confidence and won the support of a stewardess who in those days were hired because of their looks and shapely legs.
Among the fairer gender, Sharon Stone, Taylor Swift, Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, and Sarah Palin make the list of villainous women. Sarah Palin? Oh Sarah, we hardly knew ye, for the press destroyed you before you left Alaska largely because you did not fit their image of a true woman who acts with perpetual vitriol and revenge akin to that of their heroine, Hillary, who for some reason fails to make Klosterman's honor roll. Perhaps the author could not find anything good about this truly villainous woman. Monica left a stained dress to ensure her fame while Stone, of course, forgot to wear underwear.
The section about the fate of Joe Paterno comes closest to nailing the pathetic flaw that destroyed Joe and propelled him into the abyss of villainy. If read just for the insight into Bronson's character Paul Kersey, this slim expose is worth the read. Snidely Whiplash is almost as entertaining as the cartoon.
Klosterman is overly wordy with personalities he is unsure of, but succinct and pithy with ones who are true hero/villains.
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