Paul Nuthall's Reviews > The Call Of The Weird: Travels In American Subcultures

The Call Of The Weird by Louis Theroux
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's review
Nov 14, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, travel-writing
Read from November 14 to 25, 2011 — I own a copy

I've enjoyed Theroux's documentaries since 'Weird Weekends' first appeared on BBC2, so I had some idea of what to expect before I started reading. Here Theroux embarks on a six-month roadtrip across the United States, tracking down and providing updates on some of the more interesting subjects from his shows: there's Thor Templar, leader of the Earth Protectorate and killer of aliens; JJ Michaels, porn performer; Mello T, gangsta rapper; Hayley, prostitute; Oscody, Heaven's Gate survivor; Mike Cain, survivalist; Lamb & Lynx, teenage poster children of a White Supremacist group; Marhsall Sylver, a "success coach"; and the late Ike Turner, enjoying the twilight of his career. They all conform to Theroux's ideas of varying forms of "weirdness", whether sexual or narcissistic, religious or racial, and hold a mirror up to Theroux's - and society's - own beliefs of what's weird and what's normal.

By turns funny and disturbing, it never sinks into voyeurism - a pitfall of Theroux's form of journalism that he has always managed to avoid. A great companion piece to the TV series, a fine travelogue and interesting look at some obscure subcultures. Recommended.
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