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Patrick's obsession: Rihanna...
March 10, 2012 4:30 AM   Subscribe

"Patrick wants to bang all the Kardashian sisters... Page four... And then... wait how does Channing Tatum come into play?" Since 1:00 a.m. last night @BretEastonEllis has been live-tweeting notes on a possible sequel to American Psycho, story of Patrick Bateman —serial killer and Manhattan businessman. "Up to 14 pages of notes..."

- 1:00 AM in L.A. and sitting at my desk finishing a script and suddenly I'm making notes on where Patrick Bateman's now and maybe he could...

- Flashback: Patrick as a teenager and then moves into college before he gets to New York and how Pierce & Pierce is forced by his dad to...

- Patrick at Harvard listening to The Nylon Curtain... maybe Nebraska... maybe Don Henley...

- The first murder is the #Kony2012 guy who Patrick finds out is Andy Dick's boyfriend...
posted by Fizz (68 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Scene where Chris Martin and Patrick Bateman eat waffles and talk about how cool St. Vincent is...and then Patrick slits his throat. Notes.

Tease.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:39 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And Franzen thinks twitter is "the ultimate irresponsible medium." Fuck him.
posted by Fizz at 4:41 AM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I confess to being a fan of Bret Easton Ellis, in particular Less Than Zero and especially American Psycho. And while I would read a sequel to American Psycho, the utterly unimaginative, humorless crapness of the sequel to Less Than Zero, the recent Imperial Bedrooms, doesn't raise my expectations too high.
posted by chavenet at 4:49 AM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I loved Less Than Zero. Was looking forward to Imperial Bedrooms, disheartening to hear that many people found it lacking. Whether a sequel happens doesn't matter. I am glad I witnessed this flurry of imagination on twitter this morning.
posted by Fizz at 4:51 AM on March 10, 2012


My favorite thing about this is how much evidence it gives to those who think Ellis is a brilliant social satirist AND to those who think he's as shallow and vapid as his characters.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:58 AM on March 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


#cocaineisahellofadrug
posted by neroli at 5:22 AM on March 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have been a huge BEE fan since I was about 14, the Rules of Attraction book and they style it was written in knocked me out (the movie was terrible however).

He definitely has some hits and misses and he definitely hit the goldmine being in absolutely the perfect place at the perfect time (the 80's I guess!).

I think maybe now it's time to let sleeping dogs lie.
posted by bquarters at 5:34 AM on March 10, 2012


I think maybe now it's time to let sleeping dogs lie.

Nah, anything Ellis does is interesting. He's one of a handful of writers that I find intrinsically interesting ... that is, any product of his pen is fascinating to me. His body of work is very tight, disciplined, and cohesive.
posted by jayder at 5:46 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite thing about this is how much evidence it gives to those who think Ellis is a brilliant social satirist AND to those who think he's as shallow and vapid as his characters.

Next you will tell me that Ellis is the Philosopher's Mirror, a magical tool in which all viewers see their souls perfectly reflected. I am not sure if that comforts or horrifies me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:48 AM on March 10, 2012


Except that Bret Easton Ellis did write a sequel -- Imperial Bedrooms, his last book. The Less Than Zero sequel tanked -- both commercially and critically. If Ellis is seriously contemplating some derivative breakout book -- a la Thomas Harris -- then this is surely the saddest development in his career. Perhaps the only thing sadder is how Ellis has taken to Twitter for attention and affirmation -- presumably shivering in a narcotic shroud of some sort -- and that most of his fans, viewing Ellis as some Charlie Sheen of the literary world, will egg him on for their own selfish ends, even if this means Ellis stagnating as an artist and as a person or possibly imploding. As someone who very much enjoyed Ellis's books up to Lunar Park, and who very much appreciated the not insubstantial manner in which Ellis balanced dangerous writing with the commercial instinct, I cannot help but be saddened that it has come to this in middle age. That Ellis has possibly transformed into the very cartoon he once pointedly skewered. That a man who rightfully called bullshit on American self-absorbtion and materialism has been eaten up by his own needs for materialism and attention. What a fucking shame.
posted by ed at 5:51 AM on March 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Perhaps the only thing sadder is how Ellis has taken to Twitter for attention and affirmation -- presumably shivering in a narcotic shroud of some sort -- and that most of his fans, viewing Ellis as some Charlie Sheen of the literary world, will egg him on for their own selfish ends, even if this means Ellis stagnating as an artist and as a person or possibly imploding.
Well someone hates fun. An author interacting with his fans someone who is degrading themselves, and his fans, by interacting with him are allowing him to be degraded for their own "selfish ends"? Really?

No one is forcing you to read the twitter feed. No one is stopping you from writing your own books and filling them entirely with humorless ennui.
posted by delmoi at 6:05 AM on March 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Except that Bret Easton Ellis did write a sequel -- Imperial Bedrooms, his last book. The Less Than Zero sequel tanked -- both commercially and critically

But isn't the question whether it was any good, not whether it "tanked"?
posted by jayder at 6:06 AM on March 10, 2012


Patrick would complain about spotify and the cloud and tumbler...but he would find victims via Blendr while listening to Beyonce and O.A.R.
posted by delmoi at 6:09 AM on March 10, 2012


Book sequel or not. It's the energy behind these tweets that had me smiling this morning as I read his feed. They're silly and fun. I like stuff like this because you get a small peek into the mind of the writer. And peeking into his is a treat.
posted by Fizz at 6:16 AM on March 10, 2012


delmoi: To be clear, an author "interacting" from 1AM to the crack of dawn -- possibly on something. No one is forcing me to empathize. No one is forcing me to say, "Aw fuck, Bret's doing it again. Goddam it, he's better than this." But then, being a guy who spends a lot of time talking with literary people, I happen to be privy to additional information, which I won't share here. Excuse me for actually giving a damn or feeling concern over someone whose books have amused me in the past. I assure you there's nothing fun about observing self-immolation from a distance. But I'm glad you're reptilian enough not to see beyond your immediate needs for amusement.
posted by ed at 6:25 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I confess to being a fan of Bret Easton Ellis...

That's not going to win you any friends, sir.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:28 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


First Jethro Tull, now this. Age of the sequel.
posted by thelonius at 6:32 AM on March 10, 2012


But. . . but. . . the ending of Imperial Bedrooms! Clay had been manipulated by [redacted] the whole time. It was incredible and chilling.
posted by gsh at 6:32 AM on March 10, 2012


First film deal directly from a twitter feed?

Ooooh, how to inject Bateman into a MiFi meetup?
posted by sammyo at 6:33 AM on March 10, 2012


But then, being a guy who spends a lot of time talking with literary people, I happen to be privy to additional information, which I won't share here.

Yeah right. LOL.
posted by jayder at 6:37 AM on March 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


delmoi: “Well someone hates fun. An author interacting with his fans someone who is degrading themselves, and his fans, by interacting with him are allowing him to be degraded for their own ‘selfish ends’? Really?”

Well. I don't disagree that the Twitter thing clearly isn't "the saddest thing" that Ellis has ever done, and that does seem a bit overwrought. However, American Psycho was serial killer torture porn in the first place; so this taking to Twitter to have fans help him write a 'sequel' seems kind of... well.

Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon. Creativity is nice, I guess.
posted by koeselitz at 6:53 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Empire!

[rolls eyes alarmingly]
posted by urschrei at 6:57 AM on March 10, 2012


I enjoy hating on the assholes in Ellis' books as much as anyone. But once you boil away all the hype, gimmicks, and self-aggrandizement, as a writer, he's a huge mediocrity.
posted by jonmc at 7:00 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep reading the current top post as:

If Bateman is a child's fantasy, then Spider-Man is very much rooted in being a teenager.

Expecting a post about how bad the internet is for children.
posted by sammyo at 7:03 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Patrick wants to bang all the Kardashian sisters"

The 1st step seems to be is camera ownership.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:03 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hopefully it'll be better than the sequel they did in 2002 - American Psycho II: All American Girl.
posted by DaveChild at 7:03 AM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wanted to post about this earlier this morning, but I couldn't find a good way to link to the individual tweets and keeping it all coherent. It's interesting, though, as a peek into his brain. At this point, I think the stuff he's tweeting is a mixture of actual, unfiltered idea, and an attempt to get the most outrageous stuff out there. Shocking people has always amused him.

I mean, I don't think "Hmm...Page 5... Murdering David Beckham in an elevator in Manchester..." is meant to be taken entirely seriously.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:38 AM on March 10, 2012


My favorite thing about this is how much evidence it gives to those who think Ellis is a brilliant social satirist AND to those who think he's as shallow and vapid as his characters.

So in other words, Ellis is a brilliant social satirist when it comes to the shallowness and vapidity of his characters?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:38 AM on March 10, 2012


You know a satirist is successful when weak readers believe he is an advocate of the things the writer is satirizing.
posted by jayder at 7:56 AM on March 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


WAIT WAIT WAIT. ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT BRET EASTON ELLIS MIGHT BE ON SOMETHING?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:01 AM on March 10, 2012


I know it is supposed to be satire, but I still find comments like: That Pavilions is so gay they have free HIV testing in aisle 5... really quite offensive.
posted by asnider at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


To be clear, an author "interacting" from 1AM to the crack of dawn -- possibly on something.

I confess that I have no idea what this means. Tweeting in the middle of night leads to an inference he's "on something"? Does that extend to middle-of-the-night Metafilter comments? Or is it just because Ellis writes about beautiful people who party, you're concluding that if he's up in the middle of the night he must be snorting cocaine out of a supermodel's buttcrack in between his tweets?
posted by jayder at 8:23 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


the perfect place at the perfect time (the 80's I guess!).

Nothing could be further from the truth.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:25 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


asnider: "I know it is supposed to be satire, but I still find comments like: That Pavilions is so gay they have free HIV testing in aisle 5... really quite offensive"

Me too, but then again, he's gay (or bi, or whatever) himself, so I figured he was allowed to.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:28 AM on March 10, 2012


I confess that I have no idea what this means. Tweeting in the middle of night leads to an inference he's "on something"? Does that extend to middle-of-the-night Metafilter comments? Or is it just because Ellis writes about beautiful people who party, you're concluding that if he's up in the middle of the night he must be snorting cocaine out of a supermodel's buttcrack in between his tweets?

Yeah. I know for myself that I've been up far later, writing far weirder, hopped up on nothing more than cold coffee and Zatarain's.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:46 AM on March 10, 2012


Yeah. I know for myself that I've been up far later, writing far weirder, hopped up on nothing more than cold coffee and Zatarain's

And what of a supermodel's buttcrack, you're curiously silent about that.
posted by Fizz at 8:47 AM on March 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


He's one of a handful of writers that I find intrinsically interesting

Who are the others?
posted by shivohum at 8:59 AM on March 10, 2012


I misread the lead in to this post, and thought it said "Patrick wants to hang all the Kardashian sisters..." At which point, I thought, you know, I can sympathize because I'm sick of hearing about them, too, but really that's a bit extreme.

Although, considering it's notes on a sequel to American Psycho, maybe one doesn't preclude the other.
posted by jessian at 9:03 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And what of a supermodel's buttcrack, you're curiously silent about that.

I found it extremely unappetizing, in light of the Zatarain's.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:10 AM on March 10, 2012


as a writer, he's a huge mediocrity.

How does this explain Lunar Park and Glamorama (just to drop a couple of titles that don't seem to get mentioned much)? Hate them all you want but neither is a mediocrity.
posted by philip-random at 9:34 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


And speaking Lunar Park, this page offers up some contradictory positions:

- Sentence for sentence, Lunar Park has some of Ellis's best writing, especially the tour de force elegy closing out the novel.

- It is by far the worst novel he has ever written. It may be the worst novel I've ever read


The word polarizing comes to mind.
posted by philip-random at 9:38 AM on March 10, 2012


I imagine a disheveled Ellis wandering the hallways of his own career as the lights start to dim and pop. He's tried a few door handles, wandered down a few long halls; nothing's really opened up for him, or taken him anywhere else. Finally he finds himself in front of steel fire, spattered brown with what might not be rust. Some words have been scratched into the painted surface by something softer than steel, a fingernail or a knucklebone; they read, simply, "American Psycho 2."

Ellis is standing there, rocking slightly back and forth and staring at the illuminated sign overtop of it.

It reads "This is not an exit."
posted by mhoye at 9:42 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Me too, but then again, he's gay (or bi, or whatever) himself, so I figured he was allowed to.

>implying that it reinforces the gay stereotype less when an actual gay person says it
posted by LogicalDash at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2012


Hey, Bret, it might be simpler just to write a bot that would tweet LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME over and over.

You know a satirist is successful when weak readers believe he is an advocate of the things the writer is satirizing.

You know a satirist is mediocre when it's not clear when he's being satirical. I refuse to accept the designation of "weak reader" by anyone's estimation, being a writer and editor who has taught English and American literature courses at the university level, as well as someone who reads well upwind of 500 books every goddamned year of her life.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:49 AM on March 10, 2012


reads well upwind of 500 books every goddamned year of her life.

You're trying to convince people that you read carefully?
posted by jayder at 9:55 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know a satirist is successful when weak readers believe he is an advocate of the things the writer is satirizing.

"Satire" is a term with a meaning, y'know. It's not just some literary get-out-of-jail-free card.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's one of a handful of writers that I find intrinsically interesting

Who are the others?
posted by shivohum at 8:59 AM on 3/10
[+] [!]


Off the top of my head -- Philip Roth, Emmanuel Carrere, Michel Houellebecq, Don Delillo, Nicholson Baker.
posted by jayder at 10:00 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thinks it's possible to both be a pathetic shell of who you once were and onto something, particularly if you're Brett Eston Ellis, a writer who's always been well inside his work. Which isn't to say that everything he touches is necessarily gold. I just reserve judgement. The guy has been so very judged for so long that he must view it from great heights of bemusement, with a touch of masochistic irony. I suspect he loves it when we say nasty things about him, the nastier the better.

And yeah, I'm with jayder. I just can't write the guy off. If he was a baseball pitcher, he'd be a master of the knuckleball, with a pretty wicked curve as well.
posted by philip-random at 10:03 AM on March 10, 2012


There Are so many better writers out there (the aforementioned Roth, Richard Price, John Sayles, Tim Sandlin, the late David Foster Wallace, James Ellroy) and this mediocrity (and yes that is my honest opinion of his work gets all the attention, mainly because of his incessant attention-seeking.
posted by jonmc at 10:40 AM on March 10, 2012


and this mediocrity (and yes that is my honest opinion of his work gets all the attention, mainly because of his incessant attention-seeking.

Welcome to the 21st Century. It's all about people's attention spans. Those who can grab a few seconds-minutes-hours are defining something akin to success. So how has Mr. Ellis managed to be successful at it where so many apparently superior writers haven't? I can't help but feel it's subject matter. Sex + Horror. I believe Frankie Goes To Hollywood proclaimed them the new gods way back when (speaking of the 1980s).

But I still don't buy the mediocrity label. Write him off as pandering, cynically provocative, indulgent, a troll. But mediocre? Nah. From Glamorama:

"Yoki Nakamuri was approved for this floor," Peyton says.

"Oh yeah?" I ask. "Approved by who?"

"Approved by, well, moi," Peyton says.

A pause. Glares targeted at Peyton and JD.

"Who the fuck is Moi?" I ask. "I have no fucking idea who this Moi is, baby."

"Victor, please," Peyton says. "I'm sure Damien went over this with you."

"Damien did, JD. Damien did, Peyton. But just tell me who Moi is, baby," I exclaim. "Because I'm, like, shvitzing."

"Moi is Peyton, Victor," JD says quietly.

"I'm Moi," Peyton says, nodding. "Moi is, um, French."

posted by philip-random at 11:01 AM on March 10, 2012


Hopefully it'll be better than the sequel they did in 2002 - American Psycho II: All American Girl.
Holy shit, Mila Kunis was in that?
posted by delmoi at 12:03 PM on March 10, 2012


I'll just sit here rereading Glamorama.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:08 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hopefully it'll be better than the sequel they did in 2002 - American Psycho II: All American Girl.
Holy shit, Mila Kunis was in that?


Who would give up a chance to work with Shatner? And in a film directed by Morgan Freeman*?

*Not that Morgan Freeman. This Morgan Freeman.
posted by birdherder at 12:20 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no problem writing off BEE. I consider him one of the most embarrassing things about the eighties, and that includes the Reagan Administration (and everyone associated with it) and parachute pants.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:21 PM on March 10, 2012


Off topic, but since literary minds are here assembled: I heard that Irvine Walsh is writing a prequel to "Trainspotting". Does anyone know if that is true? The sequel, "Porno", was, I thought, good, not great.
posted by thelonius at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2012


American Psycho: Murder Never Sleeps
posted by Apocryphon at 2:26 PM on March 10, 2012


I have no problem writing off BEE. I consider him one of the most embarrassing things about the eighties, and that includes the Reagan Administration (and everyone associated with it) and parachute pants.

Just curious, why?
posted by jayder at 2:36 PM on March 10, 2012


philip-random: “But I still don't buy the mediocrity label. Write him off as pandering, cynically provocative, indulgent, a troll.”

I'll be glad to.
posted by koeselitz at 2:43 PM on March 10, 2012


Welcome to the 21st Century. It's all about people's attention spans. Those who can grab a few seconds-minutes-hours are defining something akin to success. So how has Mr. Ellis managed to be successful at it where so many apparently superior writers haven't?

It helps that he achieved his greatest success in the 20th century, when there were things like publishing houses and bookstores and TV interviews that people actually watched because there were, like, four channels or something then. If you managed to crash the gates, big media was big indeed, and could do a lot for you. And the loyalties forged between author and audience then persist to today. I don't know, but I would imagine that Ellis has very few readers under thirty.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:57 PM on March 10, 2012


Is he similar to Chuck Palahniuk?
posted by Apocryphon at 3:18 PM on March 10, 2012


Is he similar to Chuck Palahniuk?

No.
posted by jayder at 3:28 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Imperial bedrooms is an incredibly brutal piece of work. BEE systematically destroys his best known charachter in his best known work. I'm not even sure he could top it, except maybe writing a 2012 Patrick Bateman as a harried and balding middle manager just making time till retirement.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:49 PM on March 10, 2012


Bravo, ad hominem. I totally agree.

And by the way, it's 4:22 Central Daylight Time. Are y'all as fucked up on drugs as I am?
posted by jayder at 1:23 AM on March 11, 2012


Excerpt from forthcoming Paris Review interview with Ellis:

American Psycho came out of a place of severe alienation and loneliness and self-loathing. I was pursuing a life—you could call it the Gentleman’s Quarterly way of living—that I knew was bullshit, and yet I couldn’t seem to help it. American Psycho is a book about becoming the man you feel you have to be, the man who is cool, slick, handsome, effortlessly moving through the world, modeling suits in Esquire, having babes on his arm … On the surface, like Patrick Bateman, I had everything a young man could possibly want to be ‘happy’ and yet I wasn’t.
posted by jayder at 9:22 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's understandable that so many people can't see past the viciousness of Ellis's more extreme stuff. But it's also a mis-read. There is definitely humanity in it, truckloads. In the context of American Psycho, I think you have to accept that the 1980s were such a brutal time culturally that if you didn't wrap your humanity in brutally transgressive candy (he said, making a mess of his metaphors), it was going to get ignored at best, more likely trampled and kicked aside.
posted by philip-random at 12:22 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


philip-random --

What's interesting about the misreaders is that they are so inarticulate about what they loathe in Ellis. I have never read a harsh critique of American Psycho that seemed even remotely plausible (as opposed to many books I like that, nonetheless, have been subjected to articulate criticisms). I've started to conclude that its critics, by and large, have not read American Psycho, beyond just reading a few shocking passages.

I went back to my history and found a couple more comments I have made about this book ... pardon me for linking to my comments, I just feel very strongly about Ellis's merits and it bothers me how many people don't get him:

American Psycho as a critique of American culture (part of a discussion of an online anti-porn activist who excoriated Ellis, but never really supported her critique with any argument).

Questions I posed to the online activist
about American Psycho that she never got around to answering

Another recommendation of American Psycho as a classic book
posted by jayder at 1:00 PM on March 11, 2012


Okay, last comment, I swear.

The thing that bothers me about critiques like Sidhedevil's (the "if I don't recognize it as satire, it must be crappy satire") is that I think one of the marvels of Ellis's work is his utterly deadpan way of depicting these vile characters. In doing so, he is quite different from David Foster Wallace, a writer who deserves comparison with Ellis in many ways (they were very young when they published attention-getting first novels, they write/wrote about contemporary American culture with a up-to-date vividness unmatched by many other writers, and they have very tight, polished, thematically unified bodies of work). Wallace, when he is doing a send-up of American culture, winks and nods and makes it very, very clear that this is Satire-with-a-Capital-S, he's fundamentally a ham, and he stated in an interview or essay somewhere that even when dealing with serious themes there was part of him that still enjoyed playing to the gallery with broad comedy. Ellis, on the other hand is deadpan and clinically precise, and that is one of his gifts. He's not a ham. He does not signal his intentions like Wallace does. But there are lines in his books --- you'll miss them if you're just thumbing through for shocking passages --- that reveal that he is a satirist. You have to look for them. For example, a favorite line of mine in American Psycho is where Bateman casually mentions that he spent his lunch hour meeting with a lawyer about some "bogus rape charges." This is said after scenes of great violence and depravity. It is a funny line, because you know about Bateman, you can be sure the charges aren't bogus, and you are watching the casualness with which he can deceive himself and others. And you can sort of see Ellis smirking as he writes it. It is that deadpan, cold-as-ice depiction that is one of the pleasures of Ellis, it is a very, very dry humor that is easy to miss, but it is very much there.
posted by jayder at 1:17 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


In case anyone's still reading, the Paris Review issue arrived in the mail today. Fascinating stuff. Ellis talks a lot about his writing process and how his books originated, his battles with his editor Gary Fisketjohn, etc. Great stuff for us Ellis fans.

Only a small part of the interview seems to be available online. Memail/email me if you want to read it.
posted by jayder at 4:35 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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