Tag: Less Than Zero

Bret Easton Ellis, author of 'Less Than Zero'

Bret Easton Ellis: Millennials “Don’t Care About Literature”

“What is Millennial culture?” probed American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis in an interview with the Sunday Times.

There are innumerable answers: destroyers of deadbeat chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Aeropostle, winners of participation trophies, helpless crybabies who can’t fit houses into their avocado budgets. Fed up is as good an answer as any. It’s admittedly difficult to define any generation in a single sentence, particularly if that sentence is a condescending remark from a man who is “not really bothered” by politics—a facet of society some might consider to be the essence of culture (come on, didn’t all our favorite throwback punk music drop in the Bush years?). Ellis went on to clarify his statements.

“There’s no writing,” Ellis insisted, hot off the publication of his first release in nearly ten years. “None of them reads books.”

 

Research reveals Millennials are the most likely to use the public library.

Image Via Pew Research

 

Statistically, he’s incorrect: Millennials (widely defined as those born between 1981 and 1996) read five books per year on average, one higher than the national average. They’re also more likely than any other generation to visit the public library and have a documented preference for print media, which has helped to keep indie bookstores alive in a more digital era. According to Forbes, Millennials “read more than older generations do—and more than the last generation did at the same age.” But he’s right about one thing: he’s certainly provocative.

“My ability to trigger Millennials is insane,” he boasted to The Guardianwhich we imagine was not one of the blurbs on the jacket of his latest book—White, a non-fiction collection as confrontational as its title. In an interview that The Washington Post described as a “multivehicle pileup of a Q & A,” he described his collection as provocative rail against political correctness. When asked to describe his political stance, he said, “I think politics are ridiculous,” to which the interviewer replied: “maybe don’t write a book about it.”

 

'White' by Bret Easton Ellis
IMAGE VIA THE EVENING STANDARD

 

Nothing so vulgar as knowledge can stop Ellis from promoting his novel. He states his political opinions proudly and unabashedly. “Trump does not bother me more than what has been going on with the ‘woke’ left,” Ellis explained. He is critical of the fact that, while many among the ‘hysterical left’ see Donald Trump as a sexual predator, he “[doesn’t] know” whether or not any women actually came forward with allegations (they had, several years prior). Ellis feels that others are too “worked up.” He has never voted in a Presidential election.

When accused of being right-wing, Ellis replies, “you really have read me wrong.” He was recently profiled for Breitbart.

To his credit, Ellis doesn’t care what you think of him—which is probably for the best. It’s not so difficult to understand his disillusionment with the literary world, considering the magnitude of his former role within it: the most promising freshman Bennington College had ever seen, a prodigy by all definitions. But inherent in any prodigy is youth—the unique impact of accomplishing great things before anyone else gets the chance. His legacy is as much his writing as it is his cocaine-fueled escapes; the personality cult of characters he surrounded himself with, the ‘Brat Pack,’ a full cast of epithets with himself as the bad boy. In White, he identifies that his artistic mission is “to present an aesthetic, things that are true without having to be factual or immutable.” He, like his work, is as much idea as execution.

 

 

Young Bret Easton Ellis

Image Via Rolling Stone

 

When Ellis realized he was no longer young, “something began to crack, and the crack began to spread, and I began to get depressed over this notion of disappearing,” he admits. “I realized, at a certain point, that the younger generation was supplanting me.” That, to clarify, is the younger generation that doesn’t read (even though they do). It’s the generation filled with those who “don’t care about literature.” It’s impossible not to wonder whether or not he’s referring to literature as an abstract concept or simply as a reality he no longer inhabits. It’s true that there may be less of a cult of personality surrounding authors now than there had been in the past—in the 80s, Ellis’ brightest decade. But I am one of the Millennials on the other side of his accusations, and so I do not remember. What is literature to Bret Easton Ellis? What exactly is it that we’ve forgotten?

“Own it, snowflakes,” reads the opening line of Ellis’ blurb, “you’ve lost everything you claim to hold dear.”

 

 

Ellis and his infamous literary 'Brat Pack'

image via The Nation

 

 

 

Personally, I am among the youngest Millennials, born in the last weeks of 1995—that porous landscape between generations, the liminal space for those of us who can remember 9/11 but were still teenagers during the conspicuous rise of ‘identity politics:’ “transgender” mentioned in a State of the Union address, same-sex marriage legalized, racialized abuses of power brought closer to the forefront of our cultural consciousness.

I am not offended to be told that Millennials don’t read (I do, voraciously) or write (I am right now). I am not offended to be called a snowflake, especially considering that, hitting multiple letters on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, there are far worse things for others to call me. I am curious as to why political outrage qualifies as “hysteria” when Ellis finds none of the same senselessness in his own vitriol, nothing childlike in describing triggering Millennials as “delicious” as “eating frosting.” And what are we to expect? This is the man who made his name from the journalistically-chronicled shocking indifference of a group of drugged-out teenagers in Less Than Zero, written with a callousness and emptiness that time has not bothered to take.

 

"I don't want to care. If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care."

Image Via Quotefancy

 

“I think I am an absurdist,” he says, which is an odd thing not to know.

Does an author have any obligation to present the truth? Does an author need to consider the larger political climate, the cultural context of a work, as part of its meaning? Is nihilism an artistic statement, or is it a cop-out? Does an author have any obligation to understand the things he’s commenting upon?

Regardless of the answer, it’s clear that Ellis doesn’t.

 

Featured Image Via The Irish Times.

A group of friends toasting. To books? Possibly.

Booze & Books(tr): 7 Delicious Book & Beer Pairings

It’s Thirsty Thursday, and Bookstr is bringing you Booze & Books, our newest weekly feature dedicated to drinking games and booze-book pairings. This week, we’ll be changing it up with a booze-book pairing. Our recommendation? Any booze and any book. Since that’s a little too general, we’re going to be paring classic books with soon-to-be-classic beer. So, friends, read up & drink up. By the end of this list, these pages won’t be the only thing turnt.

Remember: drink responsibly and read voraciously!

1. Lord of the Flies – Natty Light

 

'Lord of the Flies' William Golding & Natty Light Images Via AMazon & Thrillist

 

Lord of the Flies is about a classroom full of boys getting trapped together and resorting to savagery, which sounds to me like just about every frat party I’ve ever attended. The parallels don’t end there: we can assume they didn’t have a wide variety of beverage options. And that’s what Natty Light is: not your top pick, what happens to be there, preferable to cannibalism.

 

 

2. LESS THAN ZERO – BRETT YEAST & HELLES

 

'Less Than Zero' and Brett, Yeast, & Helles

Images Via Amazon & untappd

 

Let’s get real: Less Than Zero pairs well with just about any intoxicating substance, both because that’s what the book is all about and because you might need a buzz to handle some of this violence and apathy. A disturbing tale of debauchery and indifference, Less Than Zero warns that the only thing you might want to have in common with these characters is a drink (or more). By the time the book reaches its horrific conclusion, you’ll have reached the bottom of the bottle.

 

3. anna karenina – baby daddy

 

'Anna Karenina' & Baby Daddy

Images via Goodreads & Wine Searcher

 

Unlike poor Anna, let’s hope that this Baby Daddy isn’t the reason for your untimely demise. Actually, let’s just say we hope a Baby Daddy is the only thing you and Anna have in common. Just remember that too much of a good thing is definitely, definitely a bad thing… especially if the ‘good’ thing is an extra-marital affair, in which case, it probably wasn’t that good of a thing to begin with.

 

4. 1984 – THE TRUTH

 

'1984' & The Truth

Image Via Untappd

 

The truth is that 1984 wasn’t that far off, and that would be a good punch line for a joke if it were a joke at all. Flying Dog’s  concept behind this popular beer is unabashed capitalism: “Full Disclosure: This beer came to fruition because we saw a gap in our portfolio and we wanted to increase our market share. Sometimes the truth hurts. But most often, it’s damn refreshing.”  Is this less a concept and more a statement of fact? Sure. But the idea of psychological manipulation and control is prevalent throughout 1984, making it an excellent pair. Also, this drink is as strong as you’ll want it to be.

 

5. THE ROAD – SIT DOWN SON

 

'The Road' & Sit Down Son

Images Via Amazon & Passion Vines

 

“Sit down, son,” is possibly what The Road’s unnamed father said to his unnamed son as he explained that he would, potentially, one day shoot himself with one of the family’s two rounds of ammo to avoid being eaten by cannibals. Let’s hope that this experience (that of having a beer and knowing that you’ll never force anyone to strip naked at gunpoint) is much more enjoyable.

 

6. THE HOBBIT – DRAGONS & YUMYUMS

 

'The Hobbit' Dragon & Yumyums

Images Via Amazon & Untappd

 

The Hobbit pairs perfectly with this fun, fruity ale, a comforting yet sweet taste to remind you of all your nostalgic feelings towards Tolkien’s beloved series. The beer also comes in an unusual color: a particularly vivid pink sure to remind you of summer days and the beautiful sweep of that New Zealand landscape. Hobbits pretty much live to chill with their friends, and why shouldn’t you? Crack one of these open and get (lit)erary. No one would stop you from adding some pipeweed.

 

7. FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS – DEATH BEFORE DISCO

 

'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' & Death Before Disco

Image Via Amazon & Lynchburg craft beer cellar

Although Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas was released in the 1970s (so, before disco, you may note) it was actually written during the 1960s. The novel depicts an intense spiritual death, the end of the hippie zeitgeist and the senseless space between generations. While the novel contains little actual death, it’s filled with an annihilation of ideas, from hotel rooms to fast cars—American symbols broken open to reveal the ugliness inside. There was plenty of death after and during disco, too, but little of it has captured so vividly. I’ll drink to that.

 

Featured Image Via The List.