In Which The 1980s Were A Simpler Time

The novels of Bret Easton Ellis don’t fail to resonate; our generation goes to the bathroom, too, and the spectre of violation by coathanger either titillates or horrifies, depending on who’s asking. Some people who shoud know better can probably call up the image of Chanel grosgrain dance shoes as they gaze fondly at their feet.

Maybe a Diet Coke would get you out of this slump

It’s not the proper nouns that distinguish Ellis’s work; with the two decades worth of historical ambivalence (and the existence of our very own APC flats) comes the nagging awareness of how lazy it is to use proper nouns as adjectives in the first place.

Ellis’ 1991 novel American Psycho was adapted by Mary Harron into a film that bears an extremely close resemblance to the book. Since the book is all dialogue and violence, this transition was smooth.

Psycho is Ellis’ finest work; a bracing satire of the first order. It goes too far until you realize people actually take Patrick Bateman’s bloodlust seriously.

The only problem with Psycho is that it’s impossible to imitate–the stylistic licenses especially (italics in the dialogue, excessive description, gore) are rendered impotent in the hands of a lesser writer. But hey, that’s why we have Bret.

That’s a very fine chardonnay you’re not drinking

from American Psycho

by Bret Easton Ellis

There’s a click, the door to the stall opens and a young couple—the guy wearing the double-breasted wool cavalry twill suit, cotton shirt and silk tie, all by Givenchy, the girl wearing a silk taffeta dress with ostrich hem by Geoffrey Beene, vermeil earrings by Stephen Dweck Moderne and Chanel grosgrain dance shoes—walks out, discreetly wiping each other’s noses, staring at themselves in the mirror before leaving the rest room, and just as Evelyn and I are about to walk into the stall they’ve vacated, the first couple rushes back in and attempts to overtake it.

Excuse me,” I say, my arm outstretched, blocking the entrance. “You left. It’s, uh, our turn, you know?”

“Uh, no, I don’t think so,” the guy says mildly.

“Patrick,” Evelyn whispers behind me. “Let them…you know.”

“Wait. No. It’s our turn,” I say.

“Yeah, but we were waiting first.”

“Listen, I don’t want to start a fight—”

Q: Would you like to hear today’s specials? A: Not if you want to keep your spleen.

“But you are,” the girlfriend says, bored yet still managing a sneer.

“Oh my,” Evelyn murmurs behind me, looking over my shoulder.

“Listen, we should just do it here,” the girl, who I wouldn’t mind fucking, spits out.

“What a bitch,” I murmur, shaking my head.

“Listen,” the guy says, relenting. “While we’re arguing about this, one of us could be in there.”

“Yeah,” I say, “Us.”

“Oh Christ,” the girl says, hands on hips, then to Evelyn and me, “I can’t believe who they’re letting in now.”

You are a bitch,” I murmur, disbelieving. “Your attitude sucks, you know that?”

Evelyn gasps and squeezes my shoulder. “Patrick.”

The guy has already started snorting his coke, spooning the powder out of a brown vial, inhaling then laughing after each hit, leaning against the door.

“Into the Dust” — Mazzy Star (mp3)

“Soul on Fire (live)” — Spiritualized (mp3)

Give me a break, I’m a child of divorce

“Your girlfriend’s a total bitch,” I tell the guy.

Patrick,” Evelyn says, “Stop it.”

“She’s a bitch,” I say, pointing at her.

Patrick, apologize,” Evelyn says.

The guy goes into hysterics, his head thrown back, sniffing in loudly, then he doubles up and tries to catch his breath.

“Oh my god,” Evelyn says, appalled. “Why are you laughing? Defend her.”

“Why?” the guy asks, then shrugs, both nostrils ringed with white powder. “He’s right.”

“I’m leaving, Daniel,” the girl says, near tears. “I can’t handle this. I can’t handle you. I can’t handle them. I warned you at Bice.”

photos by Nikola Tamindzic

“Go ahead,” the guy says. “Go. Just do it. Take a hike. I don’t care.”

“Patrick, what have you started?” Evelyn asks, backing away from me. “This is unacceptable,” and then, looking up at the lighting, “And so is this lighting. I’m leaving.” But she stands there, waiting.

“I’m leaving, Daniel,” the girl says. “Did you hear me?”

“Go ahead. Forget it,” Daniel says, staring at his nose in the mirror, waving her away. “I said take a hike.”

“I’m using the stall,” I tell the room. “Is this okay? Does anybody mind?”

“Aren’t you going to defend your girlfriend?” Evelyn asks Daniel.

“Jesus, what do you want me to do?” He looks at her in the mirror, wiping his nose, sniffing again. “I bought her dinner. I introduced her to Richard Marx. Jesus Christ, what else does she want?”

“Beat the shit out of him?” the girl suggests, pointing at me.

“Oh honey,” I say, shaking my head, “the things I could do to you with a coat hanger.”

A good personality consists of a chick with a little hard body, who will satisfy all sexual demands without being too slutty about things

Buy American Psycho here. It makes a lovely Christmas gift.


Danish introduced you to Rocktober.

Anthony Minghella disgusted and appalled us.

Blogging’s tough work.

8 thoughts on “In Which The 1980s Were A Simpler Time

  1. Well done! I always thought this was the most fucked up paragraph in the book. When he kills the kid at the zoo:

    Though I am satisfied at first by my actions, I’m suddenly jolted with a mournful despair at how useless, how extraordinarily painless, it is to take a child’s life. This thing before me, small and twisted and bloody, has no real history, no worthwhile past, nothing is really lost. It’s so much worse (and more pleasurable) taking the life of someone who has hit his or her prime, who has the beginnings of a full history, a spouse, a network of friends, a career, whose death will upset far more people whose capacity for grief is limitless than a child’s would, perhaps ruin many more lives than just the meaningless, puny death of this boy. I’m automatically seized with an almost overwhelming desire to knife the boy’s mother too, who is in hysterics, but all I can do is slap her face harshly and shout for her to calm down. For this I’m given no disapproving looks. Someone drags the boy outside, lays him on the ground and removes his shirt. The boy gasps, dies. The mother has to be restrained.

  2. You are so cool! I don’t believe I’ve read anything like
    that before. So nice to discover somebody with a few original
    thoughts on this topic. Really.. many thanks for starting this
    up. This site is one thing that is required
    on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

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