The transgressive novel, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis received conflicting views from audiences and critics when first released in 1991 and continues to spark debate amongst academics as to whether it should be considered an artistic postmodern text or misogynist novel that celebrates violence against women. The narrative features a first-person perspective and focuses on the double life of Wall Street yuppie, Patrick Bateman, an investment banker by day and gruesome serial killer by night.
Author, Bret Easton Ellis came to prominence in the 1980s for his transgressive and post-punk style of writing, known today as ‘blank generation fiction’. The blank fiction genre focused on subversive youth who indulged or participated in crime, alcohol, sex, violence, and drugs, often struggling to come to terms with their own identities amidst a burgeoning consumerist America (Annesley 1998). The genre utilised satirical elements, black humour, dull and minimalistic prose, to best represent the raw and gritty nature of current life.
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in the 2000 film adaptation of ‘American Psycho’ © Alamy
So you’ve finally made it. You’re awkwardly standing amongst a room full of bubbly, loud individuals: standing beside a makeshift trestle-table bar are a group of women guzzling wine, underneath the disco ball centre-stage are a few fellas cackling with laughter after hearing another one of Barry's sexist jokes, and on a spare chair in the corner of the room sits that distant family friend of yours, Denise, chowing down on a tray of entrees which happen to be microwaved party pies (because in this bizarre party scenario the budget was very low – furniture from Bunnings, catering by Coles).
First of all, congrats on stepping out from the comforts of your home to attend this event – whomever it may be celebrating (God forbid it be sexist Barry).
Second of all, how are you coping right now? I can only imagine how uncomfortable you must be feeling, with all these people, all this terrible food, and all those hard-hitting questions coming from family members asking ‘where have you been all these years?’
The first few months living in a Los Angeles share house with twenty-four people was a blessing and a curse. The plus side was that there was always someone around to vent your frustrations to, ask for support, or even collaborate with on projects (shout out to Upstart Creative Living).
I was quickly taken out of my comfort zone and thrown into a pool of extroverts with big egos who had even bigger hearts.
However, as time went on I needed space, and that seemed to be the hardest thing to find since I was sharing a room with six other girls. At first, it was all fun and games, kind of like those first few days of school camp where you bond over meaningless similarities like owning the same duvet or pillow slip. But having deep conversations, with what felt like a hundred people walking in and out of the front door each day, was difficult to maintain for this introvert.
Moving away from home or out of home can be daunting so I’ve decided to write about my own experiences moving across the Pacific to Los Angeles, hoping to spread ways in which us introverts or anxious-prone peoples can safely navigate the land of extroverts.
Nothing appealed to me more than moving to Los Angeles. As a young girl I remember wanting to work on big film sets within even bigger studios, all with the intent that I’d be pointing out directions to the cast and crew whilst scoffing my face with free donuts from the on-set catering. What can I say, I was young and clueless. As I grew up it was clear that time, effort, and determination would be required if I did ever hope to work on one of those Hollywood sets, even if it meant being the one behind the catering stand feeding donuts to whimsical actresses and eccentric directors.
Many years later, with a degree in film and television and a repertoire of production experience and unproduced screenplays, I finally decided to follow the pipe dream and move to that eclectic city full of artists, a-listers, and abs.
It would be safe to say that I have been immersed into the magical world of children's books since starting an internship at Ford Street Publishing. This Australian independent publishing house has published over 150 titles to date, and is known for its high quality publications and diverse collection of children's and young adult books. When I think about what my favourite books were as a child –Pony Tails, The Rainbow Fish, The Tale of Petter Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, and basically anything by Graeme Base – there seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout – that they all encompass animals in some way.
Animals in literature play a crucial role in expressing common themes throughout the story, and can even create an emotional distance for the reader which enables a story to focus on subject matter that may be too personal or confronting. From the more recent novels, A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Purpose to the much older tales of Moby Dick and Black Beauty, it is clear that the animal genre can capture the imagination of not only a child but also an adult. In saying that, let me introduce you to five more favourite fables for middle-grade readers.
I’ve always wanted to know how academics come to a decision about their research topic? I can only presume their topic has to be something that interests them enough to want to dedicate several months, or even years, to working on. So, what interested me? What would keep me entertained for the next year when undertaking my own 10,000 word creative thesis?
My topic had to revolve around any form of literature (to align with my postgraduate writing and literature degree) so I scanned the book spines on my shelf and pulled out a few that I had remembered intrigued me upon reading them. After umming and ahing between a selection of five texts, I cut them down to two final novels, Goethe’s Faust (1829) and Ellis’s Less Than Zero (1985). Feeling up for a wild challenge, I decided to stick with Ellis’s text and delve into drugs, sex, and violence – theoretically that is.
Writer, Tama Janowitz and Andy Warhol at the Slaves of New York Book Party at Petaluma, 1986. PHOTO: ©PATRICK McMULLAN.
Feature Article by Caitlin Burns
What have you been watching lately? Have you been getting your daily dose of Neighbours or watching the contestants battle it out on MasterChef? Or are you more engrossed with independent dramas such as ABC’s Mystery Road and Jack Irish? Whatever it may be, it would be fair to say that Australian-produced television has exceeded in keeping the nation entertained during eight weeks of meticulous, and often mundane lockdown.
In late March, each Australian state and territory implemented their own social distancing rules and lockdown regulations. Screen practitioners were among the many businesses considered ‘non-essential’, which has now caused over 60 productions to shut down or postpone, including television programs: Back to the Rafters, The Bachelor, Survivor, and Marvel’s action-blockbuster, Shang-Chi.
The halt of homegrown entertainment has led to a loss of over 20,000 jobs, and with no support package available for those working in the arts industry, many are struggling financially and mentally.
Now you may say that that is just a lazy excuse for someone who can't commit, but being the overbearing organiser and life planner that I am, I knew 'going with the flow' would pose a challenge. It didn’t mean I'd let each day pass by without achieving any of my set goals, instead it was more about letting go of the negativity, rejection or hardships associated with something I had set my mind too, essentially pushing me to move on quicker. When I was unsuccessful at a job interview, I accepted it then and there and moved on to the next job application. When a relationship ended and nothing more could be done, I moved on knowing that the unpredicted flow of life would probably see me forming new bonds with others and creating new friendships, which it did. Instead of dwelling on the outcome of a situation I knocked down my perfectionist barriers and succumbed to the universe’s uncertain flow. And it was the best thing I did!
Safety is super important. Always be cautious when walking alone at night and buy pepper spray.
Rideshare Apps are your best friends. Uber and Lyft come in handy as public transport is so unreliable.
It’s much harder to spot celebrities. They’re very good at disguising themselves with caps and oversized sunglasses, blending in with us ordinary folk.
First published as 'Beyond Bollywood' in Intrepid Times
In Mumbai, a multitude of masala films are produced each year mixing crime, romance, action, suspense and comedy into a three hour long film. These Bollywood blockbusters are beacons of hope within Indian society. The lower classes deflect their own economic struggles for the instant pleasure of watching bold and beguiling characters take on the fantastical world around them on a screen bigger than their shanty homes.