David Bowie, on bended knee, praying the Lord’s Prayer at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness, Easter Monday, April 20, 1992, at Wembley Stadium in London, before a crowd of 72,000 and a live TV audience in 76 countries. “I felt as if I had been transported by the situation,” Bowie remembers, in Marc Spitz’s biography, Bowie. Queen guitarist Brian May later observed, “I remember thinking it would have been nice if he’d warned me about that.”
“The Transfiguration of the Fanboy,” the eighth and final installation of my “critical novella”—by which I mean: an amalgam of first-person essay, nonfiction narrative, critical theory, and theological argument—about a ’70s Jesus Freak who switches saviors (from J.C. to Ziggy) in the 1970s, is live, at Religion Dispatches.
Read it HERE.
As I said on Facebook, if you’ve been following this epic essay, I’d love to hear your constructive—or deconstructive—critiques and comments in the discussion thread. With Religion Dispatches’ blessing (for which I’m very much grateful), I tried something truly radical here, genre-splicing personal essay, biblical exegesis, social history, cultural critique, and something like the “theoretical fictions” Steven Shaviro essayed in his collection Doom Patrols.
I attempted to use my own pilgrim’s progress as a prism to refract a moment in American religious history and pop culture, and to make sense of the distance between now and then, between the “conservative counterculture” (and relatively apolitical posture) of ’70s charismatic Xtianity and today’s religious right.
As important, I tried to think about the sympathetic vibrations between faith and fandom, and to ask why the liberatory heteroflexibility of ’70s notions of masculinity has been rolled back, replaced by a more straitjacketed sense of manhood.
All of which is to say: if you’ve reading this thing, now’s the time to shout “Amen!” Or scream blasphemy. Or whatever. Rattle my head with a sharply argued perception, and you just might make it into the book, if there is one. (File that under Hope Springs Eternal.)