A Life, a Theory, an Apology
In this provocative and engaging new book, Jonathan Alexander interweaves personal narrative and cultural analyses to explore what it means to be a creep. Calling this work a critical memoir, he draws on his own experiences growing up gay in the deep south, while also interrogating examples from literature and popular film and media, to approach the figure of the creep with some sympathy. Ranging widely over contemporary culture, especially the ever-creeping presence of nearly ubiquitous surveillance, Alexander confesses his own creepiness while also explaining to us what being creepy can show us in turn about our culture. He also resurrects some famous “creeps” from the past, such as J.R. Ackerley, to explore what makes a creep creepy, and how even the best of us succumb at times to being creeps. Ultimately, Alexander argues, a study of creepiness might offer us critical insight into the fundamental perversity of how we live. Creep: A Life, A Theory, an Apology is a timely meditation for our strange and creepy times.
"Setting out to write a memoir is already a creepy sort of impulse, but Creep, Jonathan Alexander’s exploration of his inner one, solves that impulse by confronting it — theoretically and wittily and with a rhetorician’s persuasive aplomb. Confronting it? Well, not exactly. He seduces the reader by seducing himself in this meta exercise in memoir writing. I’ve never “meta creep” I didn’t finally like in some way. I certainly liked this Creep and the man and writer who, confessing to be one, created this book."
~ Kevin Sessums, author of I Left It on the Mountain (Picador, 2015)