Why ‘American Psycho’ has suddenly become a very important movie

We live in a world that confronts us with two realities, or perhaps three.

  1. The leaders we choose to run the venture are ruining everything.
  2. Our choices are both short-sighted and selfish.
  3. The remedy for this situation is a serious recalibration of our estimates, not those of those leaders but our own.

Okay. Maybe four:

Our choices suck, we deserve to be punished, innocent people will suffer because of our selfish choices. That’s five, six and seven.

Okay. That is harsh. But it was “American Psycho,” the 2000 film directed by Mary Harron – co-written by Guinevere Turner – based on the 1991 novel of the same name by genius Bret Easton Ellis.

Genius you ask? Yes Yes. Because it’s not about what you think it’s about. But, living today, you can finally figure it out. That is not the timely critique of Ronald Reagan’s “America” ​​(of the popularity of “Wall Street”), which most take for granted.

In fact, it is a seer and predictor of the future. And the future is now.

Given current reality — Biden’s America versus Trump’s America, “American Psycho” becomes a moral drama for the postmodern era.

And while progressives will want to frame Trump as some Diocletianor perhaps a Caligula, they’ll come closer to impersonating Julius Caesar against Cassius and Brutus with a decoction of Cicero.

Because “American Psycho” doesn’t hide the world it portrays, which critics have mistakenly believed, but it foretells what will happen unless we grasp its clues and take it down. Julius Caesar when we get the chance.

Which, obviously, we didn’t.

What Ellis was doing was beyond anyone’s comprehension at the time. We cannot predict the current circumstances the way he could. He is truly a visionary.

A Dramatic Take Two on ‘Psycho’

Full disclosure — I admit, I don’t always understand what Ellis is doing. It’s been a long time for me, but Ellis is the first and not merely a genius but also a seer. Every single thing he creates is not so much reading about our culture and status quo, but as a diagnosis of our cultural (and political and religious) death from the cancer that we We have long accepted, and even for no other reason than, that suicide is preferable to admitting we were wrong about everything.

If I had a podcast right now, Ellis would be my first guest.

I didn’t like “American Psycho” when I first watched it. It makes me uncomfortable. From a literary point of view, it never gives the audience a character they can identify with.

This turned out to be a good virtue.

It’s not because there’s nothing about American culture to be admired – that’s what I thought when I first saw the film, and was relegated to the “yes yeah, I get it, Reagan’s wrong and materialism” category. is bad”. That is because there has always been a tension in subjective individualism from the Enlightenment onwards, which inevitably produced existentialism, the essential subjectivism which itself, at its foundation. , is suicide.

And not for the lofty reasons it imagines, but for the reasons of perversion, nihilism and narcissism and the satire of Ellis’ work. And, yes, American Psycho is a satire. But this is clearly not a satire of Reagan’s America, which retains the virtue of truly believing what they believe in.

Is not. It is a satire about an individual who loves his subjective version to the point of allowing that vision to supersede all reality.

He must believe in his own illusions.

Question: What would reality be like if it were given to a tribe of creatures that always replace it with their own versions and then believe their false narratives?

What about — um, Putin invaded Ukraine against Biden, whose version of reality is just as delusional as Putin?

It’s Tweedle Dee v. Tweedle Dum in a deadly meaningless contest. And we are the victims.

But, over time, I believe that was Ellis’ point. But not for the reasons I might have first believed.

Those reasons are related to my inference that Ellis is just covering up how wrong Conservatism is — how wrong the ‘American Dream’ or ‘Dream’ is, because it’s a The unattainable trap in the dream is actually enslaving the lies that individuals. can find independence and freedom through hard work, merit and private ownership.

Because that’s certainly what it looked like in the 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, that’s easy.

But this is 2022 and Ukraine is on fire, Putin is marching, Biden is drooling, and Nancy Pelosi has turned herself into some kind of Prom Queen homage. Plus, AOC is valued by a generation so ignorant that it’s abused by the selfishness of power that they don’t even know they’ve accepted not the Walking Dead but the Consciousness. Eaten by those who created the Walking Dead.

Oh my God.

What Ellis’ critique looked like when his novel came out in 1991 was a critique of Reagan.

It’s not.

It is not a diagnosis of what went wrong about the past or even (then) the present. It is a prediction of what the future will look like if people who replace reality with a narcissistic vision of their reality actually believe that replacement is true.

From artistic iconography to destroying cultural goals

Ellis has recently been a victim of “cancel culture. “There are two reasons for that: He was right; and he doesn’t define what his progressive champions think he means and they just figure it out. Let’s pray he stands up like Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais.

Ellis was a young Moses in the 1990s, and he’s been a defender of his point ever since. And this has made him a rather confusing character for those who have championed his talent (undeniably) early on.

For “American Psycho,” he bases his predictions on his critique of Reagan’s policies, even though they are clearly the foundation and foundation of a deeper step toward a future self. that he sees coming.

Well, it’s here.

What the champions miss walking out of the gate is that his “American Psycho” isn’t a completely rational person. It shoots arrows in all directions and, when it turns, hits bulls-eyes everywhere and all the time.

We were his target, and now we bleed.

Sorry status of the world

Consider: Cold War remnants from the Cold War have invaded a young country fueled by revolution (albeit possibly corrupt) fueled by the very ideas of the world. ideas that, outside of the Age of Reason, ended slavery, supported women’s universal suffrage, private property, and created the (real) United States of America.

Isn’t this what the business card of “American Psycho” is about? Isn’t Ellis’ hoax a ludicrous ploy of the postmodern idea that meaning itself is merely conferred?

Is an honorific bestowed – as if the merit itself were not the result of effort and work but merely a piece of paper issued to the Scarecrow by the Wizard of Oz at the end of a feverish dream ?

Think about that for a minute.

Because Patrick Bateman, the tortured anti-hero in movies and novels, never received his diploma. And, as we understand it, he never had the success, the clothes, the apartment or the physique we say he has.

He never even had a business card. And he lost his mind because he had created for himself a perfection that he believed he could never achieve. And that’s the key to Bateman’s psychosis: seeing perfection as something unattainable.

His self-fulfilling prophecy is disaster and suicide at the end of the film. “American Psycho” makes “Fight Club” look like a weak, parody joke. Observe them back to the back. You will understand what I mean.

Because honorifics must be conferred by others; by someone with a more senior business card than you.

Note that Bateman’s character is first jealous and then murderous rage every time someone flips a business card. It was a sign he could never win. No matter what. But pay attention: that’s exactly what he wanted.

It’s a philosophy that can make someone want to kill everyone in the room.

The novel and film are not aimed at fanaticism but complacency. The protagonist’s complaint is that life in these circumstances – being dragged between two fanatics – is literally intolerable and deserves not only condemnation but destruction.

Why? Trumpet. Trumpet. Trumpet.

How did Ellis catch the Trump virus in 1991 before others saw it? Go back and read a book — watch a movie. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

The story’s first murder victim is a guy who looks exactly like the main character. So it’s a self-hatred thing.

Think about that for a second.

The last thing anyone wants to do is admit they’re wrong — and they kill people to avoid admitting it’s actually right — “right” in the sense that one has to admit defeat because “truth” exists mysteriously outside of one’s own subjectivity. View. And this movie simply shows you what it looks like.

Shocking. But the Communists murdered more than 100 million people in the 20th century to avoid such admission. So crazy is the same as crazy.

“American Psycho” is the story of a killer who kills any version of his own weakness he encounters. This is dehumidifying on two levels. He avoids his own fault by placing the blame (and then punishing it) on others, and he does himself a favor from his own punishment by ridding the world of those he loves. realized just like him. Until the only one left to destroy is himself.

But he never committed suicide. Why?

Because he truly believes in redemption and wishes it for himself.

He wants to be saved. He confesses to his lawyer, in tears, at the end of the film, in a failed attempt to get someone else to save him. Turning around with some other person whose reality is beyond his selfish narcissism might save him.

Notice, when you watch the movie again, how many scenes show the main character delusional as he walks past the “Exit” sign. But he never took them. Or he never made the right choice. Notice at the end of the movie when he stands in front of a door that reads a sign that says “This is NOT the exit.”

We exist in Patrick Bateman’s world right now. Caught not in Bateman’s own nightmare, but between two delusional subjectivism who share a utopian vision that his vision of reality is real. Biden or Putin.

Of course, as Ellis’ work shows, it’s a classic “false dichotomy”.

There’s also Trump.

We are in dangerous territory.

Ellis tries to warn us; I think it’s not too late to listen to him.

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