After many years of joking about the project and gradually taking the idea more seriously, this morning I finished a full draft of Creepiness, the final volume of my study of negative character traits in popular culture. Although I still need to make a formal proposal, I have the go-ahead from Zero Books. With any luck, it should be out late this year or early next year.
One discovery I made as I worked through the idea for this book is that all along, my trilogy has been a kind of internal critique of straight white male popular culture. In this volume, that theme is more explicit, as I claim that the crisis of white masculinity provides a privileged window into the creepiness that underlies — and constantly threatens to undermine — every social order.
At the Birkbeck conference, Zizek told me that I need to decide whether I’m a theologian who does cultural criticism on the side or a cultural critic with a background in theology. By number of books, Creepiness will tip the balance toward the latter, though by page count, the former is still winning out. If all goes well, this should clear the decks for me to complete an even longer-promised project, which I’m tentatively entitling The Prince of This World: Toward a Political Theology of the Devil — or at the very least, I will be able to contractually obligate myself to complete that project before the conclusion of Mad Men makes a book on the show too tempting to resist….