March 2, 2011

It Gets Worse: Bret Easton Ellis' Twitter Feed

Like American Psycho? Love Less Than Zero? Have a soft spot for Lunar Park?

Are you maybe enough of a Bret Easton Ellis fan that you love the Rules of Attraction movie not just because it includes stuff like this, but because it's the only movie based on one of his novels that remotely feels like the original, or in fact feels like anything you could imagine him writing? (Rules of Attraction:Bret Easton Ellis::Scanner Darkly:Philip K. Dick) Dutifully read Imperial Bedrooms in hardback, liked it but were unsatisfied by the fact that this glorified novella is all we've gotten from him lately?

Well, there is an ongoing fiction project he's been working on. Progress is slow and sporadic, and sometimes it's interspersed with odd nuggets of non-fiction, but it's worth following. It has, in its own abbreviated way, all the standard virtues of a Bret Easton Ellis novel.

I'm speaking, of course, of his twitter feed. The first-person narrator of the feed has some similarities to the author, but the same could be said of a lot of Ellis' characters. The narrator of the twitter feed is actually named Bret Easton Ellis, goes to the same parties as the real BEE and plugs the author's actually existing Playboy article on The Jersey Shore and post-imperial America, but even that level of edgy meta-fictional line-blurring isn't exactly a new literary device for Ellis.

His next-to-last book, Lunar Park, despite being a supernatural horror novel containing deep homages to Stephen King and the horror comics Ellis grew up reading, has as its first-person narrator a writer named Bret Easton Ellis. He's married to a non-existent actress and they have a non-existent son, but the fictional Ellis of Lunar Park has written all the same novels as the real Ellis. They're even both friends with Jay McInerney. The fictional Ellis of Lunar Park is, of course, a hilariously exaggerated caricature of the author. The whole thing's pulled out off with the kind epic self-loathing that's an art form in its own right.

Much the same thing is true of the fictional Ellis who narrates the twitter feed.

To begin with, there's his famous tweet response to J.D. Salinger's death:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
Yeah!! Thank God he's finally dead. I've been waiting for this day for-fucking-ever. Party tonight!!!
29 Jan 10 Favorite Retweet Reply

There's the bisexual Ellis' take on the "It Gets Better" campaign:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
Not to bum everyone out, but can we get a reality check here? It gets worse.
10 Nov Favorite Retweet Reply

Ellis the literary critic:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
I'm tired of the debate: "Freedom" is the best social-realist novel written since I started publishing books. Rock and roll. Deal with it.
5 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Ellis the music critic:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
Music tonight. @gotoddgo woke me up and I'm tired but I agree: Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" is a better record than "The Suburbs."
15 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Ellis giving dating advice:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
The worst thing that can happen to a man is falling in love with a whore...
18 Feb Favorite Retweet Reply

Ellis on his reading public:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
No one seemed to read my "Jersey Shore" article in January's Playboy except for my trainer but only because he was banging the centerfold...
27 Feb Favorite Retweet Reply

And, of course, the one that just kind of sums everything up:

BretEastonEllis Bret Easton Ellis
I love Charlie Sheen.
1 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this. In fact, I linked to it through my blog post on the same thing, as I think you are one of the few people viewing the Ellis tweets the way they are meant to be seen. This is my take on it: