September 6, 2012

Discussion — Bret Easton Ellis: American Dickhead Or Harmless Provocateur?

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What is the issue?
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Of all the writers whose works I’ve most consistently enjoyed reading, Bret Easton Ellis is one who I’d be loath to actually meet. I’ve followed him on Twitter since he joined, and I’ve noticed that one of the ways he tends to use his account is to provoke. Awhile ago he tweeted about Kirsten Dunst’s cocaine habits. The day J.D Salinger died, he rejoiced. Today, inspired by his reading of Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, he targeted deceased writer David Foster Wallace (and his fans), tweeting that DFW was a fraud, that his writing is “insufferable,” and that anyone who enjoys his work should “be included in the Literary Doucebag-Fools Pantheon” [sic].

As one of the douchebags who adores DFW, I’m annoyed. I dislike people who are addicted to saying inflammatory shit to get attention (to which I’m contributing with this post, I know). It’s indulgent and self-perpetuating. And it clicks that he just characterized one writer’s backlash to today’s tirade as “humorless,” as if the author was in err for not reflecting BEE’s own sarcasm, which if present in his tweets today (it wasn’t), was not apparent at all.

What do you think? Is Bret Eason Ellis an American Dickhead, or is he just being funny? What about his claims that Foster Wallace was a fraud? DFW was deeply concerned about authenticity — is BEE even accusing him of anything he hasn’t already accused of himself? Is Wallace’s psychointense writing naval-gazing gimmickry? If so, what separates it, for example, from Easton Ellis’ use of monologues on pop music in American Psycho, or from his seemingly endless ‘reliance’ acts of depravity as plot devices? Is DFW insufferable? Is Bret Easton Ellis an egomaniac? Let’s talk about it! TC mark

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