Thursday, April 14, 2011

Worst Person of the Week: Bret Easton Ellis


Remember when all we talked about when we talked about Bret Easton Ellis was whether or not American Psycho was horribly misogynistic, or a feminist novel in disguise? Actually, I think only BEE really argued that. When feminists condemned it's  "degradation, evisceration, and brutalization of women" while Mary Harron directed the better-than-the-novel-but-still-difficult-to-watch movie adaptation? I love Harron, and Ellis has a lot to thank her for, and yet all he could muster up in an interview was basically that she did a better job with it than he would have expected from a woman director.Yeah, maybe it was a satire, but was the glamorization of all that violence really necessary? It got people talking, but I think at this point we're all pretty sure that the book fetishized something that should never, ever be fetishized. Those were far simpler times, weren't they?
Now, it seems BEE can't keep his mouth shut, and everything that comes out of it is specifically intended to keep him in his ever shrinking spotlight. His latest tweet is Ellis' attempt at #winning the Post-Empire game. Too bad he doesn't realize it's a game he made up and he's the only one actually playing. As with Charlie Sheen, there's something quite sad about his out of touch posturing, his desperate attempts to stay relevant in a post-post-empire world where people do actually give a damn about things. That's right, "Post-Empire" may have actually meant something at the height of 80s excess and consumerism, or for the apathetic hipsters of a post-9/11 Bush-era, but the second decade of the 21st century is about caring about people and about making our communities and the world around us a better fucking place to live. BEE would probably brush me off as being so totally "Empire" and therefore irrelevant and not worthy of his time, but if he stepped outside he'd see that there is a newfound earnestness out there that is like a breath of fresh air after the last 10 years of apathy! Ellis  may not actually believe any of the shit he says, in fact he probably doesn't believe in anything but himself. He's grasping on to the last little bit of fame he has left, and he reeks of desperation. 

1. The Recent Tweet

2. This Little Gem:
"There's something about the medium of film itself that I think requires the male gaze...We're watching, and we're aroused by looking, whereas I don't think women respond that way to films, just because of how they're built...I think, to a degree, all the women I named aren't particularly visual directors. You could argue that Lost in Translation is beautiful, but is that [cinematographer Lance Acord]? I don't know. Regardless of the business aspect of things, is there a reason that there isn't a female Hitchcock or a female Scorsese or a female Spielberg? I don't know. I think it's a medium that really is built for the male gaze and for a male sensibility. I mean, the best art is made under not an indifference to, but a neutrality [toward] the kind of emotionalism that I think can be a trap for women directors."

3. The Gimmick He Used To Try And Sell His Last Book:

via Shakesville and also read this at Jezebel

4. The stupid Fucking Tripe He Wrote on Charlie Sheen Last Month:
"Look, I’m not denying he has drug and alcohol problems, and perhaps even struggles with mental illness, but so do a lot of people in Hollywood who hide it so much better or that the celebrity press just doesn’t care enough about, and I’m not denying that Sheen is exploiting a problematic situation that he has helped create. But you can’t step around the fact that the negativity certain people feel about Sheen has never outweighed our fascination with the hedonism Charlie enjoys and which remains the envy of any man—if only women weren’t around to keep them liars. His supposed propensity for violence against women hasn’t hurt his popularity with female fans either..."

 5. Oh Yeah, This:
He's a fucking hack piece of shit writer that will soon be forgotten. Glamourama? Did anybody actually like that shit? Did anybody read his last book? Does anybody actually care about any of this crap? His work is empty and soulless, just like him.
(Paraphrasing what Alex just said when I told her what I was writingt)


  1. He just reeks of a desperation to stay relevant; bless his shrunken, shriveled, talentless heart.

  2. I think you are totally off the mark on this one. Ellis' work may be 'soulless' and 'empty' but this is reflective of a social structure which shares these characteristics. I would challenge the notion that the 21st century is about caring for people and making the world a better place; the processes of mass accumulation and the prominence of commodity culture are just as apparent now as they were in the 80s, if not more so. Ellis captures the homogeneous, apathetic and materialistic aspects of western capitalist culture very well in a highly readable and enjoyable manner. Of course he is controversial, this is what his public persona thrives on; but I would consider this more to be due to the fact that when the spirit of a society is laid so bare, what is left is hard to swallow. He is brutally honest regarding the shortcomings of a way of life, of which he himself is a part, and here is the strength of his writing.