The Chutzpah of Bret Easton Ellis: Calls David Foster Wallace “The Most Tedious, Overrated, Tortured, Pretentious Writer of My Generation”

We have been in Beverly Hills shopping most of the late morning and early afternoon. My mother and my two sisters and me. My mother has spent most of this time probably at Neiman-Marcus, and my sisters have gone to Jerry Magnin and have used our father’s charge account to buy him and me something and then to MGA and Camp Beverly Hills and Privilege to buy themselves something. I sit at the bar at La Scala Boutique for most of this time, bored out of my mind, smoking, drinking red wine. Finally, my mother drives up in her Mercedes and parks her car in front of La Scala and waits for me.

–Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

Tedious? Check. Overrated? Check. Pretentious? Check.

Well, no one will say that Bret Easton Ellis isn’t an authority in this area.

via Biblioklept



Make knowledge free & open. Share our posts with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms:

by | Permalink | Comments (20) |

  • Doug S

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Kitty K

    Hasn’t Ellis anything better to do with his life than trashing a dead author on Twitter?

  • HR

    What’s a “doucebag”?

  • Anonymous

    You can’t hurt the dead. Bring it on.

    Furthermore, maybe now is the time to investigate the cult of DFW and actually critically look at his work instead of fawning over it and complaining you can’t do it because he’s such a genius.

    There is a horrible culture of sychophantry around DFW and I think it harms his work.

    Good thing he’s already dead since this culture would probably lead him again to the grave.

    You can’t hurt the dead.

  • b., from afar,

    I’m a little bit puzzled :
    isn’t it a bit easy to take an excerpt from any writer, and make it look stupid and deadpan ?
    Let’s take, for example, Mr Burroughs : he plaued with different styles, from low-brow western writings to tongue-in-the-cheek science fiction, I can easily pick up some lines to make it look stupid. It’s even been done, and we found it unfair.
    Now, Mr Ellis.
    He’s writing way too much on twitter, for sure.
    But ‘Less Than Zero’ is quite a piece of literature ! It’s about form enclosing void, about life gone stupid, about spectacle becoming philosophy.
    English isn’t my native language.
    But I began to read in english with Kerouac, then Burroughs, then Ginsberg, then everything I found, including Ellis. It’s fine. Good writings, real pieces of books.
    Now, that the author deserves the art is no recent news…

  • b., from afar,

    I’m a little bit puzzled :
    isn’t it a bit easy to take an excerpt from any writer, and make it look stupid and deadpan ?
    Let’s take, for example, Mr Burroughs : he plaued with different styles, from low-brow western writings to tongue-in-the-cheek science fiction, I can easily pick up some lines to make it look stupid. It’s even been done, and we found it unfair.
    Now, Mr Ellis.
    He’s writing way too much on twitter, for sure.
    But ‘Less Than Zero’ is quite a piece of literature ! It’s about form enclosing void, about life gone stupid, about spectacle becoming philosophy.
    English isn’t my native language.
    But I began to read in english with Kerouac, then Burroughs, then Ginsberg, then everything I found, including Ellis. It’s fine. Good writings, real pieces of books.
    Now, that the author is ‘less than’ the art is no recent news…

  • dogsbody

    @HR, Ellis meant “deucebag”, a derisive term for a man with two balls, said by a man who has none.

  • http://assoverteakettle.org victor stone

    Note how incredibly lame BEE’s insults are. Can imagine what a Hitchens or DFW could have done with those emotions?

  • Ernesto

    The literati often lavish praise upon the dead regardless of their merits so it is perhaps refreshing to hear Ellis buck the trend – it is surely the most notable thing he has written for years in any case.

  • Laroquod

    Surely, all literature is pretension. All writers are tortured with the desire to have written it, or else they’d never do it. It simply isn’t worth it, otherwise. And given the pure breeziness with which the word “genius” gets tossed around at all levels of society, it’s not a stretch to say anyone or anything is overrated! As for tedious, well… I find seven tweets in a row all expressing the same opinion redundantly, fairly tedious, as an example. No one is really above this kind of criticism; might as well call him an organic gasbag of self-important water.

  • Mark

    I enjoy Bret Easton Ellis and agree he is tedious, but i think to quote from his debut novel which was published when he was 21 years old is picking low-hanging fruit.

  • http://welcometoabuse.bandcamp.com D.A. Harris

    This is a great way to garner a readership; slander the best author you know and watch the big bucks roll in! Pretty rich coming from a man who sold his novel(s) to Hollywood. Brett’s probably just mad that David’s diction’s bigger (wink, wink; nudge, nudge).

  • Evan

    Why is BEE not entitled to his opinion? He thinks DFW is overrated and tedious. Why the outrage? Guess what, I think the same of Jonathan Franzen. Different strokes, people.

    Another thing: most of BEE’s vitriol is not directed at DFW, but at the cult of DFW. Think about it.

  • Kate weinman

    I had not read either author till the DFW obit. I’d heard of him but now I was curious after reading that he wrote the ultimate sentence. Promptly, I downloaded Oblivion and began. I think I found the sentence but that’s about all. It was such a struggle to become engaged. I found myself speed reading ahead hoping to land on something that would draw me in but, I’m sorry, DFW leaves me cold.
    So, now I’m curious why he is worthy of a cult, which is why I will continue on into Oblivian.

  • Kate weinman

    Oblivion.

  • Grumpy

    Kate, there are a few misses in that one, but at least make sure you put in the effort with the story “Good Old Neon”

  • Kate weinman

    ok- thanks.

  • http://www.gmgauthier.com/ Greg Gauthier

    I say, A POX ON BOTH THEIR HOUSES.

    But if you really want pretentious and over-rated, then the Twin-Towers of all tedious, pretentious, and over-rated authors has got to be: Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    When will America’s love affair with self-destruction and self-indulgence finally come to an end.

  • Polly Math

    Both DFW and BEE are plagued by the succubus of ego. Which is why their work, to me, is so deadening.

  • Vivienne V

    I think it might be more apt to say that DFW “was” plagued by the succubus of ego, since he handled his demons rather finally. I think even that might be an unfair statement, as most of the interviews I’ve read portrayed a deeply thoughtful and troubled man.

    We live in an age where the clever tend to perceive anyone troubled or thoughtful as indulgent wankers, a topic Wallace often engaged, sometimes with BEE as an implicit or explicit example. In that sense I can understand his anger, especially given DFW’s post-humous popularity. As Ernesto pointed out, these tweets will probably spark more conversations than anything he’s written in years. It does little to dissuade the notion of DFW as a sympathetic white-hat to BEE’s mean and small-minded black hat, regardless of whether that’s fair or relevant to a discussion of literature.

    Re: reading, I’d agree that Oblivion’s a shitty place to start, and isn’t his best; his non-fiction is more approachable and his earlier short story collection (The Girl With Curious Hair) is better. Infinite Jest is a monolith and isn’t for everyone, but it’s an incredible novel and it can’t hurt to give it a shot.

Quantcast