Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture
By David Schmid
too many academics, David Schmid employs deconstruction
to yield understanding. In this attempt to explain society's
fascination with serial killers, the SUNY English professor
starts with Jack the Ripper and drags us headlong into
post-9/11 America where "Serial Killers Are Us."
not wrong, but he's never all that insightful. He
overanalyzes Silence of the Lambs and Natural Born Killers;
he over-explains the FBI's elevation of "serial
killer" to the archetypal status of "communist"
and "gangster"; and he veers way off topic
with a chapter about homosexuality -- a thoroughly non-illuminative
pandering to the university crowd.
he instead interviewed those who buy John Wayne Gacy paintings,
or had he researched the mid-90s zine craze where (for
right or wrong) these postmodern Shivas were first venerated,
this could have been a landmark work of cultural analysis.
Instead, he offers a collection of lectures appropriate
for sophomore modern-lit students.