Books on this subject almost always display a maddening combination of condescension and inaccuracy...and Jameson avoids it so completely that he defuses even the anxiety of waiting for it; you follow him into a discussion of TV superheroes or Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns eagerly wanting to know what he thinks rather than nervously waiting for him to make some basic mistake. Jameson's portrait of that broader social context is uniformly fascinating ... It's unclear to me how far I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing will convert any holdout members of that embattled remnant of the mainstream—but oh, how it will delight the faithful!
Jameson makes a passionate argument for the depth of these no-longer-fringe entertainments, pointing out the realism within the fantasy and how sf, fantasy, and superhero tales tackle issues personal and political ... A thoroughly engaging and enjoyable look at the evolution of geek culture over the past four decades.
A self-described geek, Jameson aligns himself with enlightened critics who view the 1970s as a crucial turning point in American cinema ... However ... Star Wars, he contends, is actually a stepbrother of the realist genre ... On this front, Jameson is persuasive ... He owns up to a childhood of being picked on and the sanctuary he found in the 'Geek Dorm' at college. His personal story adds a lighter touch to the book’s wonkiness, and it’s hard not to share his enthusiasm as he describes how his favorite characters colonized a world that once ridiculed them. Unfortunately, when Jameson turns to the evolution of comic-book superheroes...the book begins to stall—just as it does later when it details the numerous reference guides, games and other auxiliaries through which fantasy worlds grow ever-deeper roots. With so much fetishizing, Jameson’s work soon embodies the very dilemma he raises about a nerdy culture gone mainstream: how to appeal to both 'entrenched' fans and non-geeks alike?
Mr. Jameson writes as a fan of geek culture and has a bone to pick with what he calls 'prestige critics,' arguing that they, and the public as a whole, 'don’t take geek culture seriously enough, being too quick to dismiss its artworks as stupid and frivolous.' If anything, though, films of the sort he praises are given too much critical attention ... But Mr. Jameson has a more troubling blindspot. He might be happy about geekdom’s recently found popularity, but he doesn’t seem to realize that these films crowd out creative competition ... the great conflict that Mr. Jameson can’t grapple with: that to make better geek movies, Hollywood needs to make fewer of them.
A book that might prove useful to fellow gen-Xers who find themselves outside geek culture or those who have resisted the force of fantasy all these years but who now wish to learn what all the phantom menace is about.