Bret Easton Ellis interviewed by Isaac Chotiner

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/12/bret-easton-ellis-interview-on.html

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#2

Well now I’m starting to wonder if he meant for Patrick Bateman to be a sympathetic protagonist after all.

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#3

[Chotiner] Big picture.
[Ellis] But I don’t really care.

“I don’t really care,” is the only position that Ellis manages to articulate in the interview, and that makes for nice symmetry because that’s exactly how I feel about him.

Why does anyone care about his opinion again? Isn’t he still dining out on the work that he did three decades ago?

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#4

So his position is that if Trump was more popular, his crimes would be A-OK, and let’s assume for a moment that he is popular, and QED? Because I think he needs to show his work there.

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#5

Exactly right. His view seems to be one where opinion determines what is moral and immoral. In other words, he is an immoral man.

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#6

Jesus, this college sophomore persona of the too-cool-for-school cynic who doesn’t deign to actually care about policy or politics, but still wants to weigh in on how all those dumb liberals are getting their panties in a knot and should just chill out is repulsive to me.

He hides behind this meta analysis of the “reaction” to Trump without having the intellectual honesty/capacity to actually examine or discuss what is being reacted to, and he wants to have all the plausible deniability of the worst strain of trolling “I’m just asking questions” nihilism when he can’t explain his inconsistent/incoherent ideas.

I thought the reference to his “Democratic, socialist-bordering-on-communist millennial,” gave the game away, though. He’s doing what a lot of people who are sick of losing arguments to their significant other/kid/parent do–he’s staging those arguments for a different audience to say all the things that he thinks should win the argument, and hoping everyone tells him what a clever boy he is.

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#7

And now I will never read one of that assholes books. And I was a bit interested in reading American Psycho but not anymore.

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#8

Ellis is certainly becoming that character. His positions are not really new. He’s shown his (douchy) character previously on twitter.

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#9

This to me is a very interesting comparison. Witty!

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#10

“Sigh, I don’t care about politics. Why should anyone give it space in his head?” is a statement of arrogant and smug privilege, made by someone who thinks policies will never affect him because of money or power or fame or expat status.

That Ellis in particular makes this statement about this regime is especially foolish, because he’s an openly gay man; historically, LGBTQ folks are the inevitable targets of right-wing populists, right up there with Jews (some of whom, sad to say, also make that same statement).

Chotiner is great at zeroing in on Ellis’s BS and not letting him off the hook. This scathing review of the book itself is a good companion piece:

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#11

Seems to me his position is more that there is no harm being done, and there is nothing per se wrong with Trump’s actions and policies. Along with people who are upset must be disingenuous, because they haven’t “voted him out”. As if that was simple, and something that can be done at any time.

All the but he wons and look how populars are just excuses, hollow ones because he has no fucking clue what he’s talking about. The I don’t knows are hand waving, and the I don’t cares smug dismissals.

This is the giant douche and turd sandwich arguement. It doesn’t harm me so it can’t be harmful. I don’t know the difference so it’s all the same. It’s just deploying Aaron Sorkin level smug to turn ignorance and lack of empathy into a virtue.

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#12

Oof, that’s a hell of a review.

Yet it seems never to occur to Ellis, a man who is surely 70 percent dinner, that his friends are annoying the shit out of him not because they hold left-wing political views, but because, like him, they are rich, and rich people are universally horrible.

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#13

Or maybe amoral. Either way, I’ve always found it too difficult to separate his asshole characters from the asshole that he seems to be to bother much at all with his work. Reading Less Than Zero made me feel sick, and not in a good way, and while American Psycho has some good biting satire here and there, it mostly struck me as a repetitive, simplistic, sensationalist bore.

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#14

He’s a person that cares to say he doesn’t care, and cares to say it a lot.

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#15

Yes, as the review posted above puts it “People who do not care what other people think do not waste their time telling other people this, and they certainly don’t write books about it.”

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#16

He has always struck me as being a d-bag.

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#17

My usual reaction to “Isaac Chotiner interviews X” is “Oh shit, egomaniacal super-genius got his teeth punched down his throat by the best interviewer around!”

If I ever learned Isaac Chotiner wanted to interview me, my reaction would be to withdraw from the world and rethink whatever I’d done to ruin my life. Too many people, however, decide “Well, I’m smarter than anyone, so I’ll show this upstart what’s up.”

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#18

He lost me at Less Than Zero.

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#19

Trumps approval rating does appear to be a little higher than 50% among registered Latino voters. It just depends on which poll one is talking about. So, the interviewer stating right off the bat that this is not true and shows bias on that interviewer’s part. As do most of the comments being posted here. BEE is a talented author whose podcasts are engaging and usually entertaining. His latest book being non-fiction was maybe not the best career choice at this-point in his career but another rehashed American Psycho in today’s extremely polarized culture would not work. The fact that he is gay and has a firmly committed partner, in conjunction with all the rapidly changing aspects in the LGBTQ…community would have made for a much more interesting book especially utilizing fictional characters and his preferred first person POV…IMO

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#20

Exactly. Reading that “book” was an hour and fifteen minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

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