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ENGL 324 (22)

Crime Fiction 21

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

March 29 - modern economy: standardized and abstract persons (depersonalizations) - subjugation of persons (dehumanization) - differences and distinctions - reification, fetishism - neoconservationism, neoliberalism - Charles Murray, Losing Ground (1984) - Lawrence Mead, Beyone Entitlement (1986) - responses of reviewers in 1991: selectively released to a few different journals ahead of time (the graphic/sexual parts of the text, which actually only constitute about 10% of the text) - they worried that it would spark additional violence against women - Roger Rosenblatt - wrote a thing called "Snuff this Book" coming out against the book (though he didn't say that the book shoulod actually be censored. those that found the book reprehensible didn't believe that the gov/ should intervene and pull the book) - this relates back to the neoliberalism thing (in the US, at least) - Australia/Canada did call for it to be banned - sold only to adults in Australia - however in the states, they still believed that it was necessary to be able to make a free and fair choice not to buy it if you don't like it - he thought that you should thumb through it, but not buy it - Madeline Blanc: you need to make your own choice not to read it - Tammy Grues: spokes person - we're not telling them not to publish, but women should exercise their free expression and not buy it - advocated the reduction of social safety nets, placed an emphasis of personal responsability - the ability to choose freely and correctly is a necessity, as the social safety net created in the 1930's that expanded through the 40's and 50's has been cut away - social assistance leads to reductions in funding for other things, which is not what our society is aiming for right now - this idea permeates both the left and the right - all forms of welfare have been eviscerated, and now we have this 26 year old Wall Street man who is making a lot of money, though he doesn't need to work - distopian NY of the era, and this upperclass man who's killing for pleasure - he's physically cutting this social net - he's possibly the quintessential neoliberal subject - Barry Keith Grant: merely the logical end of human relations under capitalism - Bateman as a serial killer might be a red herring - the serial killer is eccentric, his acts of killing are decontextualized, they're acts of random killing - their acts of violence are one-offs; random aberrations in the social fabric - you can't really go anywhere with a serial killer from a social point of view. there isn't anything that motivates them beyond their own urges - you can't analyze serial killers and come up with a critique of society, they're just freaks of nature - Bateman as a serial killer doesn't get you anywhere, so you're supposed to think of him as an upperclassman, a Wall Street guy - think about both his acts of violence and his acts of consumerism - Ellis intimates that his psychopathology might result from childhood, but doesn't go anywhere with it - 215: hey, I'm a child of divorce, give me a break - so you're left with either thinking about him as a monster or as originating in a world that's recogniseable as our own - we have a responsability to understand what this means - 230: since we don't have any other narrational view, we have to rely on Bateman to understand - if we had a third person narrator, then we'd have a kind of moralizing sympathy, but since it's from Bateman's point of view, we have no one to sympathize with - Ellis has some fun with Bateman's character, showing that he's not just this cool, collected killer - Lunch With Bethany @ Vanity (a revealing name) - he's nervous, either because he's afraid of rejection, though she called him, or because he's self- conscious about his mousse - more and more passages where he's coming unhinged - 264: there is no key to understanding him - 374: the end of the page, his vision - there's this crater/void at the centre of his mind, surrounded by a forcefield, and when he gets close to it, it bounces him back. This is how he is organized - 376: there is an idea of Patrick Bateman - he is a deeply troubled person, but he is also just an abstractionn - what would it mean for him to be something that is more an idea than a flesh and blood character - he's a kind of embodiment of a particular ideology - what bateman shows us is the latent violence than is underneath a world that supposedly just lets us rise or fall according to our own merits - Walter Benn Michaels: the dream of a world free of prejudice, the dream of the world whether American or hyphenated American (african-, chinese-, etc) are not descriminated against is as fundamental to the right as it is to the left. and this dream is as compatable free and efficient m
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