Books I Loathed discussion

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Loathed Authors > Less Than Zero and American Psycho (BEE)

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message 1: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments I hated Brett Ellis Easton's book Less Than Zero and can't believe they ever made a movie from it. Stupid vapid rich kids doing nothing much but being stupid, vapid, and boring. And, oh yah, they took a lot of drugs. I couldn't believe it could get published. I only read a little bit of American Psycho but it was gross and sickening. Easton is considered some kind of Gen X genius but I think he is completely untalented and laughing all the way to the bank.


message 2: by Jordan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

Jordan | 10 comments Neither of these is very good, but I thought Glamorama showed some talent (the satire is less inept, and there's one really fine scene describing a plane crash), and apparently Lunar Park is better than any of these.


message 3: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments To say that neither "Less than Zero" nor "American Psycho" is very good is a bit of an understatement in my opinion. Actually, I'd better not go on, my loathing and utter contempt for BEE and the vapid and disgusting characters that populate his appalling books reach the level that I am likely to write something that oversteps the bounds of Goodreads civility.

BEE - possibly the most contemptible writer in recent history. And why would anyone even try any of his subsequent work after the first two?

I feel like I need to take a shower even after just typing his initials.


message 4: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments Oh, David, I am so glad you agree! We must promise never to speak or write his name EVER AGAIN. He must become "he whose name we shall not speak."


message 5: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) I think I was introduced to David on this topic - we both agreed on this, and American Psycho is one of the worst.books.ever.written. in my experience.


message 6: by Jordan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:24PM) (new)

Jordan | 10 comments I know I tried more of his subsequent work because, well, authors change over time. Plus the Rules of Attraction movie was pretty neat and I wanted to see if the book was any good (wasn't really). Apparently Lunar Park is terrific.


message 7: by T.K. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:47PM) (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 15 comments American Psycho has a great opening line and a fantastic voice that became so grating and static over the course of the novel that I found myself skipping to the violent parts because I got bored.

I realize that this was the result Ellis wanted, to explore the psychopath's boredom and that's why he kills people, because it's interesting, but jeez. It got boring. Even the violence got boring after a while. There are very few books that I don't finish, but Am Psycho was one of them.

I read it b/c I read every serial killer book I could find, b/c the book I'm writing now has a SK in it.

TK Kenyon
Author of RABID: A Novel
"A genre-bending story, part thriller, part literary slapdown." --Booklist Starred Review


message 8: by Red (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:50PM) (new)

Red Evans | 11 comments Trust TK Kenyon to be clear about what he thinks about a book. I haven't read Less than Zero, but his candid appraisal makes it clear, I'd hate it too.

TK wonders how they could make a movie about such a bad book. I remind him that The Davinci Code was a best seller and they made a movie of that too. It proves a book doesn't have to be good to achieve success. What a sad state of literary affairs.

Red Evans author On Ice


message 9: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Sarah (sarahsari) I don't know about BEEs earlier books but I am currently reading Lunar Park and really enjoying it. I also just loved the American Psycho movie, but didn't read the book. Did anyone else like the movie? Just wondering if the story is what turns people off or whether anyone here hated the book but liked the movie.


message 10: by Summer Rae (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Summer Rae Garcia | 45 comments Sarah,
I liked the book and the movie. I know this puts me in a morbid minority though. The book is much more graphic and descriptive and pretty revolting. I really like Brett Easton Ellis because I am revolted. Chances are if you loved the movie the book won't be too much of a stretch for you to enjoy at least a little.

I wonder how many people who liked the movie and hate the book too. They aren't the same, but they are both pretty sick. I wonder how much is the hatred of Ellis or the material. For me there is a place for sick rich sociopaths, but I know that that certainly isn't the case for most.


message 11: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 29 comments I know I am in the minority but I really enjoyed American Psycho. I thought BEE wanted to paint the vapid and generic energy of yuppies and humans in general and accomplished his goal. I also really loved the movie.


message 12: by Kelly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Kelly | 3 comments i absolutley loathe BEE's writing. LtZ bored me, and AmPsych made me physically ill. it truly was one of those books that i threw accross the room, i found it so vile.

but i enjoyed the movie version immensely. it was such a dark funny movie that mocked the vapidness of 80s culture. i loved it. does anyone know if that was BEE's intention for his book, and i just couldn't get past his wooden and gratuitous prose to see it?


message 13: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:54PM) (new)

Sarah (sarahsari) Srae - so glad to know I'm not alone - I just love diving into those books that are twisted and disturbing to gross yourself out. It's kind of like going to horror movies and scaring yourself silly. For me there is always a little room for sociopaths in fiction. I suppose I will have to add American Psycho to my always growing to-read list.


message 14: by ben (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

ben (wormsleycommon) i LOVE american psycho, the book and the movie. the fact that he made so many of you physically ill just proves that he is a great writer. thats exactly what he set out to do.


message 15: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

ScottK I recently read Lunar Park as part of a book club I belong to, and just from reading that I would most likely never read anything else by him ....ever.


message 16: by Kelly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Kelly | 3 comments having not read any interviews with him regarding American Psycho (or any of his other books), i am really intrigued that his whole point was to repulse the reader with this book. does anyone have any links to any interviews or anything with him, where he talks about his intentions with his novels? i don't know that it would make me re-read anything, but it would help me with some perspective on his intentions and perhaps give me a better view on his writing....


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Didn't know if anyone had covered this, but soon after LTZ came out there was a pretty big scandal about how many of the books scenes had been lifted from Joan Didion's books. Ellis later said he "ripped off" Joan Didion when he wrote it. It's not just bad, it's unoriginal.


message 18: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Wow, Cheri, thanks. I'd never heard that, but it makes sense.


message 19: by Stephanie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Stephanie | 14 comments I hated Rules of Attraction so much that I vowed never to read another BEE book. Then, when the movie American Psycho came out, I was forced to go because it stars Christian Bale. The screenplay was also written by someone I went to school with. I'm so glad I saw the movie, which I LOVED, but I still won't read the book, because I loathed Rules of Attraction so much. I chalk up the movie's success to the screenplay, director, and star.

That's probably another thread: are there any movies you liked better than the original source material?


message 20: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Sarah (sarahj) So glad to find this thread, although I haven't touched either of those books. I read (or tried) Lunar Park last year and thought it was the most masturbatory crap I'd ever laid hands on. I couldn't believe someone whose book-opinion I resepected would recommend it. I couldn't figure out why I should care about that story at all, except in wishing the protagonist, none other than BEE, the worst.


message 21: by Clare (new)

Clare | 53 comments Jesse, People may be "so far out in the desert that they have lost hope" as you write but that doesn't mean that a lousy author has to capitalize on it with cheap sentiment. I am no fan of censorship and think that may be true of most of the people who write on Goodreads. It is not censorship to express an opinion about a book or about a particular author's writing style. I do not in any way consider myself the "book or thought police." I actually thought when I first wrote about BEE that I might be in the minority and no one else would hate his books as much as I do but I have learned that is not so. I am fully in favor of anyone reading anything they choose. This is just a discussion - and quite a lively one at that.


message 22: by Cassiel (last edited Jan 21, 2008 07:47PM) (new)

Cassiel Regarding the appreciation of satire, it's a matter of style preference, I suppose. Where Aldous Huxley used a rapier, or in some cases a hatchet, wit in his satires, Easton's wit seems to me to be a dung-covered pitchfork.

I will correct; Ellis' wit...


message 23: by Chapin (last edited Jan 22, 2008 09:03AM) (new)

Chapin Clark | 3 comments As a satire of the horrors of American culture, particularly the 1980s variety, "American Psycho" is genius. It's just a hilarious book. As a horror story, it's a failure.

The problem is not that the gory scenes are gory or that they describe particularly misogynist or racist hatred -- people like Patrick Bateman do real damage in the world, Ellis is saying -- it's that they lack the precision of detail and tone that make the comic passages so good, and there are too many of them. They miss their mark, and as a reader you're left with a bad taste in your mouth.

The same problems dog "Luna Park" and "Glamorama," the first half of which approaches the best of "Psycho." As a spoofer of the self-regarding and star-fucking, BEE is the best. As a crafter of high-minded horror and suspense, not so much.



message 24: by David (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments Jesse:

If I despise the writing of Bret Easton Ellis as the disgusting, self-indulgent scribblings of a cynical, emotionally stunted, thoroughly nasty individual, and say so here on goodreads, then I assume that is my right. Just as everyone else has the right to disagree.

How you construe this as placing a boot on your throat is quite beyond me. If you need to feel persecuted or victimized, fine. But it's got nothing to do with me.

I don't even wear boots. Enjoy BEE.


message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hello all

there was an interesting Psycho debate here

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The only time I ever met with any incivility on Goodreads was when I dared to suggest that a book which includes 50 pages detailing women being tortured in extreme detail was misogynistic. Hmmm, what does that tell me.


message 26: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hi Natalie - well, here's my point. If - say - I was going to write a novel about a paedophile. My main character is loathsome and is shown to be loathsome. Suppose then I include two or three scenes of uncensored description of sexual torture and killing of children. It's nasty stuff but it has to go in, that's the nature of the story. But then, suppose I continue with 50 more pages of detailed child rape and torture.
The reader might say after five or ten pages of this stuff "Okay, we get the point already! Enough!"
So : I would have to ask about the motivation of anyone who wants to a) write and b) read 50 pages of the untraviolence in American Psycho. Why so much? Why are all the very detailed scenes of ultraviolence in American Psycho reserved for women and themen (and animal) are dispatched in a paragraph? The thing is, I get the idea that people who write and and read 50 pages of fantastically revolting violence against women are doing so because they actually quite enjoy it. It's kinda cool! It's funny! But is it funny? Is it necessary for the novel? Wouldn't ten pages have done? After all, we get Ellis's point about the emptiness of acquisitive greed and the interchangeability of the people in Bateman's life and maybe it's all hallucinations anyway. We get that point after - say - five pages, so why 50? Is it because people get off on this stuff? If so, that's mysogynistic.
I think people say "oh it's dark dark satire" to themselves and battle through the gruesomeness either heroically (they hate all the rats in the vaginas but that's the way BEE planned it so they have to read it) or they in some dark corner of themselves actually enjoy it - oh, that's a good ine, a nail gun right in the eyeball, etc. Sometimes I think this book's defenders are completely fooling themselves about why they like it or they're lying and they should be honest and tell us how much they enjoyed it all.


message 27: by Clare (new)

Clare | 53 comments Paul, I must say I agree with you. There is violence and there is gratuitous violence. BEE writes primarily about the latter. I have to give him one thing: his books (particularly American Psycho) certainly engender lively discussion (hey, that's a pun sort of).


message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hi Natalie - here's a genuine American Psycho anecdote. I was in Waterstones in Nottingham (no surprise there) and dotted around on the shelves were books with little cards under them. On the cards were written recommendations by members of the shop's staff, just a few lines in their own handwriting telling you why they thought this was a great read. Underneath American Psycho one guy had written (I quote from memory) "After an evening trawling the pubs and getting knocked back [= told to get lost] by various lovely young ladies, what better than to pick up Bret Easton Ellis’s 80s classic and get some of my own back”. Wow! I actually wrote a Protest Email to the manager which said "So this is a little like Waterstone’s recommending “Commandant of Auschwitz” by Rudolph Hoess, with the comment “After a day of having to deal with members of the Jewish community, what better than to sink into an armchair with this book, and get a little of my own back” . The manager agreed with me.


message 29: by Poppy (new)

Poppy | 21 comments Just want to say that I'm an over-educated literature geek and am capable of reading with a highly-honed post-modern, mass-culture-inflected sensibility.

But after that bit about the rat? And the vagina? BEE and his books are on my shun list.

Thank you, and now excuse me while I go crochet my legs together from the ankles up.


message 30: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hi Natalie - Can't (male) readers get all the satire of the yuppies and so forth and ALSO get off on the nailguns, the rats and the vaginas? It's not an either/or thing. That makes it a dangerous and (in spite of its best intentions) a misogynistic book.


message 31: by Poppy (new)

Poppy | 21 comments Natalie: I just wanted to make sure you realized that a person can get squicked out without being, you know, too dumb to understand what BEE is up to.

I mean, there are a lot of good reasons I was an English major, and squeamishness--leading to a complete inability to deal with biology labs--was one of them.


message 32: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 14 comments Hey Paul and Natalie,

Just wanted to add my 2 cents...even though I hate BEE's writing, I don't think he's a misogynist. I don't believe there is any such thing as a "dangerous" book -- yes, that includes "Mein Kampf." It's sorta like the argument about violent TV shows prompting kids to go out and kill people. If you're a fan of "Road Runner" who likes mowing down people with steamrollers, I'd say the problem rests with you, not Chuck Jones.


message 33: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hi Stephanie - gotta say that I think that's naive, individuals are affected by what they experience which includes what they read and hear. If they're surrounded on all sides by images of violence against women, from the computer game right up to the higher literary echelons, it becomes part of the atmosphere, we don't even notice it any more.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/su...

How about "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" for a dangerous book?


message 34: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Yes I realise that. In the case of The Protocols, the authors absolutely intended their book to create hatred of Jews. In that case I think it's not unreasonable for such a book to be banned. Perhaps I should ask if you believe there should be complete free speech - kiddie porn and all? I don't believe there should. (It's hard to frame this question in a way which doesn't sound accusatory, I'm not trying to paint you into any kind of corner, just find out where we're all coming from).
In Britain there are laws against racist provocation, which would cover racist literature. However I note The Protocols isn't banned. I also see this on Amazon UK:

"A special note from Amazon.co.uk, November 15 2004
As some readers may be aware, a hoax e-mail has been circulating widely on the internet that falsely claims Amazon has favorably reviewed this book. This allegation is, of course, absolutely untrue. Nevertheless, this rumor has become so widespread on the Internet that it's already a recognized "urban legend," just like alligators living in the sewers. Amazon.co.uk obviously does not endorse The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. This book is one of the most infamous, and tragically influential, examples of racist propaganda ever written. It may be useful to some as a tool in the teaching of the history of anti-Semitism, but it's unquestionably propaganda.
Does Amazon.co.uk sell this book? Of course we do, along with millions of other titles. You can also find books in Amazon.co.uk's online bookstore that analyze The Protocols' fraudulent origins and its tragic historical role in promoting anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution, including A Lie and a Libel: History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Should Amazon.co.uk sell The Protocols and other controversial works? As a bookseller, Amazon.co.uk strongly believes that people have the right to choose their own reading material. Our goal is to support freedom of expression and to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any title they might be seeking. That selection includes some titles which many people, including many employees of Amazon.co.uk, may find distasteful or otherwise objectionable. However, Amazon.co.uk believes it is censorship to make a book unavailable to our customers because we believe its message to be repugnant.

Furthermore, because we strongly believe that the appropriate response to repugnant speech is not censorship, but more speech, we will continue to allow readers, authors, and publishers to express their views about the books and other products we offer on our Web site.

We hope we have eliminated any confusion surrounding this book. If you happened to be one of the many who received the infamous e-mail, we would appreciate it if you would pass this along to your friends. It is very hurtful to everyone at Amazon to be accused of racism."

Their reviewer concludes:

"despite its clearly fraudulent nature, The Protocols continues today to feed the fears of the credulous and to fan the flames of fanaticism and hate".

Are we in a moral maze here, distributing hate literature in the name of free speech?




message 35: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 14 comments Hey Paul and Natalie,

I dunno...as a woman, I feel far more threatened by the institutionalized sexism I experience every day. Right now, people in my country are trying to outlaw abortion and women's access to contraceptives. On average, women still make 2/3rds the salary men do. Without access to affordable day care, many women are being pushed into poverty, as they tend to be the primary caregivers for children. Hearing newscasters attribute Hillary Clinton's supporters as "other women who have a hormonal link with this candidate" makes me realize that hostility toward women is a lot more ingrained in the culture than we'd like to believe.

So when I read stories about overt misogyny, it's strangely affirming. Sorta like how "Rosemary's Baby" is an extreme version of how men use the whole "don't pay any attention to her, she's hysterical" line to cover up a whole manner of sins.

Don't get me wrong; I don't think all men are misogynists, and I do think that many women contribute to the sexism in our culture. It's a hard thing to break out of entrenched roles...who wants to leave the familiar to for an unknown paradigm?

When it comes to art, though, I always have to err on the side of having as little censorship as possible. When I was in Egypt, which outlaws pornographic magazines and movies, I didn't find men's attitudes toward women particularly evolved. And I'd rather have a society that publishes distasteful materials than suppresses it.

I do agree with Natalie vis-a-vis kiddie porn vs. pornography in which adults are depicted. One involves nonconsensual people; the other doesn't. And from what I've heard from people who work in the legalized sex industry, they don't appreciate having people trying to characterize them as victims. From what I understand, a great many of these people enjoy their jobs.

As far as prostitution is concerned, I feel like I prostitute myself every time I sell a piece of writing that was created purely to pay the rent. So I'm not really that bothered by people who pay for sex...so long as it involves consensual adults.

I don't think free speech is absolute. Libel and plagirism shouldn't be fall under the protective umbrella of free speech, either. I don't think jurors' names should be printed in the newspaper, and I think we should outlaw reporting on election results until ALL votes are cast.

Anyway, I greatly appreciate the respectful tone everybody has maintained on this thread. I'm glad to hash out this issue in a productive way, instead of duking it out like a bunch of talking heads on "Crossfire." :-)


message 36: by Paul (last edited Jan 27, 2008 04:55AM) (new)

Paul Bryant Hi everyone - just to explore the censorship problem a little further, the case of The Satanic Verses is very interesting. Many people actually died as a result of it being published, and you can't say that about American Psycho (I think). I'm willing to agree that Rushdie didn't realise, nor yet his publishers, that the Ayatollah would whip up the firestorm of hate that followed. That having happened, however, it might have been more humane to the rioters of Pakistan and India ond other places, and the Japanese translator who was murdered, if Rushdie had made a grand announcement of apology and withdrawal - he could have withdrawn the book and removed the offending section (a couple of pages in a very long book) and re-published. He would have actually saved lives. But he didn't. Sometimes I think you should compromise, even if it is with the irrational.


message 37: by Charles (new)

Charles I don't agree at all, Paul. Why on earth should Rushdie have capitulated to such murderous nonsense? Because it was murderous? So a gang of animal activists decides that the treatment of, let's say, horses in Cormac McCarthy novels is unacceptable? And McCarthy rewrites as a result? That way madness lies... The only people responsible for the deaths associated with Satanic Verses are the murderers themselves, and they hadn't read the book, and wouldn't have changed their mind even if Rushdie had cut the 'offending' pages. You might as well say that Bush should have apologised to the Muslim world after 9/11.


message 38: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Yes, I know it sounds all wrong. But standing firm by your liberal free speech principals and having a bunch of frankly credulous and ignorant people actually die as a result (!) doesn't rest easy on my conscience either. Perhaps my free speech principals aren't strong enough; and when people I'd probably get on with pretty well in real life defend the artistic merits of American Psycho down to the last rat in the last vagina, my moral compass begins to wobble and spin round in confused circles.


message 39: by Gail (new)

Gail Well, this is a very testy and testing subject/situation. The strongest form of censorship? Don't buy/rent/borrow/read/view the subject items. I'm anti-censorship except in time of war, and then only in very special, limited circumstances. I wouldn't support BEE, nor would I censor BEE. Not because I think there's artistic merit there (I don't), but because I'm against censorship...there be dragons there.


message 40: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant I haven't read TSV but what I was remembering about the horrible uproar was the part of the book which was cited perpertually by Muslims in which a city brothel is staffed by prostitutes who take the names of Muhammad’s wives. Checking this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sata...

I find that even if the brothel part (a short section I believe) had been rewritten there was plenty of offence left. So you may be right there. But still, I have grave misgivings about the preciousness of our defence of the freedom of novelists to be offensive about anything any anyone to the point where we here in the rich part of the world will turn deaf ears to all those in the poorer part of the world even when they're translators being assassinated by lunatics or idiots being shot by their own thuggish police. Yes, there was the evil fatwa. Yes, all these rioters and assassins were crazy. Yes, they were dying for no reason. Yes, Islam has many paranoid leaders and followers. But after all that, is there room for a little compassion, the literary equivalent of building a fence along the top of the cliff to prevent the foolish lemmings jumping off? It would not, I suggest, lead to a wholesale dismantling of Western thought.


message 41: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 55 comments I always love it when I get to read an actual intellectual discussion because they are so few and far between. I feel like I should thank those involved for allowing me to be a witness to free thought in action.

I'm not a wordy person myself and I try to be succinct, but sometimes that gets me in trouble because what I mean gets misunderstood due to the subjectivity of words and the emotion we all get when certain subjects are brought up.

I am a great proponent of free speech myself. I would tend to agree with those who say if you don't like it just don't read it or watch it.

I'm not sure where I stand on pornography except that I believe child porn is wrong because children are not old enough to give consent. pornography as prostitution is an interesting concept. I can see how pornography in general could be considered a form of prostitution but I can also see how selling yourself in some other aspects could also be considered a form of prostitution. I also tend to believe that prostitution should be legal because people are going to do it whether it is legal or not. I just think that if the person going to a prostitute is married their spouse should sign a consent form and get a procede from the sale.

I don't think I will be reading these particular books but I would not have them banned.


message 42: by Skylar (last edited Jan 29, 2008 12:51PM) (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments "Do you remember the art piece Piss Christ? It was a photograph of a plastic crucified Jesus in a jar of the artist's urine. Not surprisingly, many people threw fits."

They threw fits about Piss Christ because TAX dollars paid for it. Why should the government forcefully take money from my pocket and use it to fund art that offends me, or even art that simply fails to impress or amuse me? Allow me to choose which art I will and will not by with my own money.

I believe in free speech and oppose censorship, but people too often fail to understand what "censorship" really means. Your work is not "censored" just because a mueseum doesn't choose it from among 1,000 works vying for display. Your work is not "censored" because it is not chosen from among 1 million books vying for limited space in the public library. Your work is not "censored" because a school chooses not to make it required reading. Your work is not "censored" because I choose not to buy it and encourage others not to buy it. Your work is not "censored" because the government doesn't force me to pay you for it when I don't want it. Your work is not "censored" because I don't take it seriously. Your work is not "censored" because a private book store chooses not to carry it. Your work is not "censored" because, as a private citizen, I exert my infleunce on a private business not to carry it.

Your work is only "censored" when the government, by force of law, prevents you either from creating it or from selling it to a willing buyer.

Most so-called "dangerous" or "offensive" books and works are better ignored than protested. And most, if only they WERE ignored by those who oppose them, would dissolve into obscurity, unable to stand on their merits alone.


"So am I. And I still read BEE, have managed to remain a productive member of society, and hang on to my feminist credentials at the same time."

Yes, but these days feminist credentials don't actually require a person to encourage the creation of an environment that is less than violently hostile to women. These days, as far as I can tell, feminist credentials only require you to be pro-abortion, pro-pornography, and anti-conservative. I can't imagine that anyone should have any difficulty reading works depicting the violent torture of women and still retaining their modern feminist credentials. Modern feminism is all about holding the "proper" set of political opinions, not about creating a society that is naturally, inherently disgusted and repelled by the abuse and sexual exploitation of women.

"No. There are no dangerous books. Just dangerous people who misinterpret them."

Or dangerous people who correctly interpret them.

At any rate, books don't kill people. People kill people.


message 43: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Wow Skylar, you done took my breath away. Thanks to you and to Natalie, I may disagree with a fair bit here and there but it's a breath of fresh air hearing from you.

Natalie -

"I don't think that writers, or artists of any kind, have an obligation to self-police their work as a preventive measure to stave off any kind of potential violent reaction on the part of those who don't understand it"

Isn't this answered by the general understanding that free speech does not give you the right to shout "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre?


message 44: by Stewart (new)

Stewart (booklit) | 7 comments "I have grave misgivings about the preciousness of our defence of the freedom of novelists to be offensive about anything any anyone to the point where we here in the rich part of the world will turn deaf ears to all those in the poorer part of the world even when they're translators being assassinated by lunatics or idiots being shot by their own thuggish police."

It's times like this when the old Stephen Fry quote has to get wheeled out to say, "So you're offended. So fucking what?"

Free speech will never exist if you tell people what they can and can't say, what they can and can't do, and what they can and can't write.


message 45: by Bronwyn (last edited Jan 29, 2008 05:37PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 29 comments I don't know what the big deal over BEE is...There are plenty of novels that have far more violent acts performed to women and people in general and without the satire. I think everyone is so focused on those small violent parts of American Psycho, that you are missing the point.

Paul-
Burn books in your own backyard but do it on your own time. No matter what you are writing as an author there is always going to be someone somewhere who is going to be offended. Censorship is the death of artistic freedom.

By the way, as far as BEE causing people to act violently I think it's laughable.

When is the last time you heard on the news about mass amounts of women being devoured by rats.

I think gun violence is our biggest problem in America not novels.


message 46: by Ken (new)

Ken Couldn't agree more about Bret Herbert Easton Walker Ellis IV (and his pretentious as all get-out name). As a literary Brat Packer, he was always lowest on the totem pole, I'll tell you. And anyone who went for American Psycho (a biography of Britney Spears, wasn't it?) was just asking for it (and, apparently, got it... though I didn't).




message 47: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant "...There are plenty of novels that have far more violent acts performed to women and people in general and without the satire."

Name names!

"I think everyone is so focused on those small violent parts of American Psycho, that you are missing the point."

About 50 pages of relentless ultragraphic ultrahorrific violence specifically against women. Not a small percentage of the total novel at all. What was the point by the way? Satire?

And so far there have been no book bonfires at Bryant Towers. This is a discussion.



message 48: by Stephanie (last edited Jan 30, 2008 06:00AM) (new)

Stephanie | 14 comments "They threw fits about Piss Christ because TAX dollars paid for it. Why should the government forcefully take money from my pocket and use it to fund art that offends me, or even art that simply fails to impress or amuse me? Allow me to choose which art I will and will not by with my own money."

I have to disagree with this point of view, Skylar. I don't think that being a taxpayer gives me a right to pick and choose what services our tax dollars go to. For instance, I hate BEE novels but don't think that gives me the right to have them banned from the library. I don't have kids but I don't think it is within my right to refuse funding to public schools. I think the Iraq War stinks, but that doesn't give me a pass when my IRS bill comes due. Art is totally subjective. What offends you may inspire somebody else. If the government deems that only Thomas Kincaide paintings worthy of being promoted by tax dollars, we're in very, very bad shape.

I think in the modern age where so much is tailored to suit individual needs, we've forgotten what it's like to sacrifice for the public good. Protecting the interests of minorities and fringe groups is a testament that all points of view are valid.

If the government funds art that I deem offensive, I chalk it up for the price I pay for living in democracy.

BTW, if you compare the amount of money that the U.S. pays for questionable initiatives like the Iraq War vs. the amount that's granted to artists, I think you'll find the former greatly outweighs the latter. Yet you rarely hear anti-war people proclaiming, "I don't believe in this moronic war, therefore, I'm not paying my taxes." Never mind the fact that the tax dollars which are being used to fund the war are creating mass destruction, whereas the money that's being used to fund museums is merely offending people's sensibilities.


message 49: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 5 comments amen Stephanie.


message 50: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn | 29 comments Paul:

Here are some books...

Naked Lunch- Burroughs

Kiss the Girls- James Patterson

A Clockwork Orange-Burgess

Native Son- Wright

Those are just a few. There are many books that have violence in them. If you really want to nitpick you would have to ban any book that has murder in it and violence against another human being. Why not stop there lets ban television, films and music! We should just ban anything cultural that you don't agree with. That's a appropriate mature response.





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