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ENGL 324 (22)
Lecture

Crime Fiction 20

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Department
English (Arts)
Course
ENGL 324
Professor
Thomas Heise
Semester
Winter

Description
March 24 - Milton Friedman; Capitalism and Freedom (1962) & Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (1980) - Freidrich von Hayek; The Constitution of Liberty (1960) - references Dante (abandon all hope, ye who enter here) < on the side of the chemical bank - we're entering an unescapable Hell - association of character with money: "Timothy Price" - Pierce and Pierce = foreshadows piercing and cutting that Bateman will do - in the 1970's, NY was declared bankrupt, and it went through this fiscal austerity period where it did not have enough revenue - people of the upper tax bracket moved out of the city, bringing the tax base down - this removes the funding for public services - as part of the measures of austerity, there was all sorts of cutting that had to happen (still happening now in other places due to fiscal irresponsibility, accumulated debt etc) and they had to restructure their spending - no money for the poor - all these wall street firms were in charge of restructuring NY's debt - not only is this a reference to Bateman's cutting, but also what they were doing to the city - bus comes by advertising Les Miserables, by Hugo - this was written right before the French Revolution, about the down and out, the poor, who rise up to overturn the monarchy - Ellis' novel is filled with poor people, but they have no common mind - Hugo's great, revolutionary novel has now been watered down and commodified into a middle-brow musical that won't offend everybody's tastes (appeals to tourists) - the cutting-edge work isn't the same any longer - Price's sense of entitlement: just paying for the "winning" radio - Price lists the issues of society in the same way that Bateman lists what everyone is wearing: it's like there's no hierachalization - the city as a jungle, the city as overrun by crime = Price reads it and he doesn't really care - there's a disconnection between the characters and the city and between Price and Bateman: he's reading and he never bothers to look over - numb tone where nothing really effects you anymore - the importance of what somebody wears vs. the catalogue of social traumas is an example of "a waning of affect" - exagerated hallucinatory experience that Bateman gets when he kills someone - directional cues: "pan down to the Post" - we're reading, and Price is reading, but Bateman is giving us camera cues - almost as if he knows that it isn't real - when Bateman gets involved in the shootout, it reads very closely to the stereotypical scripts of things like this - he has an uncanny ear for music reviews: he's essentially quoting the genre of music review - the shootout scene comes to pass and has the quality of not being real anymore - 128: the assault of the black man in the street - reminiscent of Kiss Me, Deadly - the city is sick, the sirens are going by, and he goes to commit an act of public vengeance - the bum wants to have money/food, but he doesn't want to work for it - if you're unable to work, it's a result of your own personal failing - he sees the poor as being poor only because they're lazy this is neo-liberal, continue to think about it throughout the novel - a failure of economics is a failure of personal choices - this novel is a satire of class and class anger - when the novel was first reviewed, the reviews didn't mention class at all, they were all about the homophobia, misogyny, and racism - people who were staffing Simon and Schuster refused to work on it (some of the women) - some of them took parts of the book before it was released and created this uproar - they weren't going to go through with it, though they'd paid Ellis 300k and printing costs, - after the novel was released, Vintage bought the book within 48 hours - Less than Zero: he wrote and published it while in college - "a how-to manual for the torture and killing of women" - "all books by Random House (which owns Vintage) should be boycotted (unless they're feminist works)" - "the only issue is how many women are going to be alive this year, it's not as if you're sending anyone to the soup kitchen" - it's interesting that it's only women, even though she raises the question of class - "American Psycho is set in a world (Manhattan) recogniseably their own. The rich are rich, the poor are on the street. Anything is possible, and even Bateman, who expresses himself with murder and torture, is there"
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