Wednesday, March 29, 2017

America Goes Psycho

In a country where correct opinion seems increasingly to be defined by stand-up comedians who are not funny, it’s refreshing to read the words of a true wordsmith, a novelist, no less.

Bret Easton Ellis is best known for a book called American Psycho. As you know, the psycho in the title is not short for psychotherapist or psychoanalyst. It’s psycho, tout court, for your information.

Anyway said psycho, by name of Patrick Bateman, first came to fictional life in 1991. I will not recount the story, which was over-the-top gory-- to the point of being cartoonish-- but I will mention, because Ellis wants us to recall it, that Bateman idolized… you guessed it… Donald Trump. I don’t know whether you want to credit Ellis with prophetic powers and add his name to the list of those who predicted the rise of Trump, but still….

Having established his bona fides as a  man of the political and liberal left, Ellis is well placed to call out his fellow Hollywood liberals for their mental and moral deficiencies.

This comes to us from a podcast and from Vice:

You can dislike the fact that Trump was elected, yes, definitely, and yet still understand and accept ultimately that he was elected this time around. Or you can have a complete mental and emotional collapse and let the Trump presidency define you, which I think is absurd. … If you are still losing your s— about Trump, I think you should probably go to a shrink and not let the bad man that was elected define your self-victimization and your life. You are letting him win.

Certainly, it’s a cogent thought. When you define your life by your opposition to Donald Trump you are allowing Donald Trump to define your life. As Ellis says, this gives Trump yet another victory.

Blaming Trump for your problems, he continues, does not make you sound very bright:

Barbra Streisand says she’s gaining weight because of Trump. Lena Dunham says she’s losing weight because of Trump. Really? You’re blaming the president for your own problems and neuroses?

Being a resident of the left coast Ellis has a few words for Meryl Streep. You recall that Streep became a leftist culture hero by using her speech at the Golden Globes to rant about Trump.

It was very bad form, Ellis replies:

Instead of talking about all the filmmakers she had worked with and who had passed away in the last two years — Michael Cimino, Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron, or especially what it was like playing Carrie Fisher in ‘Postcards From the Edge,’ since Fisher had died just two weeks earlier, Streep used this moment to go on an anti-Trump rant for 10 minutes on national TV, instead of eulogizing her friend — again, reinstating the moral superiority of the left and ignoring aesthetics in place of ideology.

He is quite right to say that it’s all about virtue signaling, showing off one’s moral superiority. One must add that it’s also about pretending to be intellectually superior.

Vice reports his words:

Ellis said one of the “morally superior wealthy people” who ruined a recent dinner with friends by complaining about white male patriarchy lives in a penthouse on the Upper West Side — “and probably has a net worth of $10 million dollars.”

And, also:

Liberalism used to be about freedom but now is about a kind of warped moral authority that is actually part of the moral superiority movement. This faction of the left is touchingly now known as ‘The Resistance.’ Oh yes, the resistance. What is this resistance? There are posters all over my neighborhood in West Hollywood urging me to resist, resist, resist,” he said.


But some of us, who did not vote for Trump, and who located exactly who he was decades ago … some of us have been wondering: Resist what, exactly? And who is telling us to resist whatever? The people who voted for the candidate who lost — I’m supposed to listen to them? Is this a joke? … Well I’m certainly resisting the childish meltdowns I’ve been witnessing at dinners and on social media and on late night TV and too many times in my own home.”

Childish meltdowns… who knew? Ellis is correct to call out his Hollywood neighbors for their puerile rants and their pretense of being intellectual sophisticates.


Sam L. said...

It seems someone has his head on straight. Be good to have a bunch more.

Ares Olympus said...

Probably the correct respond to Donald Trump is the same one Bill Clinton used during W's presidency, "Thanks for the tax cuts, much appreciated."

Is that's the opposite of virtue-signaling?

Maybe now we're back to the 1980s, where conspicuous consumption and status-signaling is the way to be.

The Democrats should just relax and see how long Trump's populism can keep control by being the party that supports tax cuts for the rich and letting the poor eat cake.