Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Epic Meditation On Intangibility And The Pleasures of Conformity

Pat Bateman blisses out to Chris De Burgh's "The Lady in Red"
I'm not a fan of violent novels or movies but some of the writing in Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, especially Patrick Bateman's musings on music, is so damn funny that I'll wince through the violent bits in order to read or hear it. The film version actually has the edge over the book (and is less violent/gruesome) due to Christian Bale's awesome performance and the master stroke in the screenplay of rendering the stand alone chapters about music as dialogue delivered by Bateman prior to committing murder. Still I recall a sequence in the book that I wish had made the movie where Bateman is forced  to go to a U2 concert with friends and has a moment where he feels like Bono is communicating directly with him and speaking as the devil tells him that they are the same.  Oh shit, just looked it up and apparently its been deleted from newer editions of the book, anyway here's that passage.

It hits me that we have something in common, that we share a bond, and it's not impossible to believe that an invisible cord attached to Bono has now encircled me and now the audience disappears and the music slows down, gets softer, and it's just Bono onstage--the stadium's deserted, the band fades away--and the message, his message, once vague, now gets more powerful and he's nodding at me and I'm nodding back, everything getting clearer, my body alive and burning, on fire, and from nowhere a flash of white and blinding light envelopes me and I hear it, can actually feel, can even make out the letters of the message hovering above Bono's head in orange wavy letters: "I . . . am . . . the . . . devil . . . and I am . . . just . . . like . . . you . . ."

Check the second clip below and you'll get an idea how both Bateman and Bono share a passion for general social concern and less materialism in young people!  Though Bateman has a slightly better haircut. I suppose most everyone has heard/seen these bits below but I always get a kick out of the language, one day I hope to beg off on some band but stating out loud that "I don't understand their work, it's too artsy, too intellectual"- come to think of it this is a great concise way to get radiohead fans off one's back.  So many great lines, wish I had snuck some gems like these into my writing back when I was reviewing albums- "this album hits a new peak of professionalism", "it's an important message, crucial really, and its beautifully stated on the album", "their early work was a little too new wave for my taste", "more commercial and therefore more satisfying in a narrower way" and the immortal "the song is extremely uplifting, the lyrics are as positive and affirmative as uh, anything I've heard in rock". I gotta go now, gotta return some videotapes and then lunch with Cliff Huxtable.

Hasta la vista baby!

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