humane and vampiric

An explanation for a piece of agit prop somewhere else in the world, directed at US President Trump.

“Like all populists, the statue has two faces,” Mr. Schlegl added.  “One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire.”

This strikes me as rote, an instant gnabbing of stock commentary whether or not it fits the situation.  Say what you will about Trump, and parse out his two (or more faces) — not one of them is a forged smile at you.

Reading Brett Easton Ellis’s not terribly deep but interesting enough “Declaration of Indifference” regarding the election of President Trump, White.  Giving him some ugly company — I noted the book when I saw Milo Yiannopolis’s (sp?) book (one of those things an extension of his brand such that you can’t imagine being published without his mug on the cover) — and the “If You Like” Recommended to “White by Brett Easton Ellis”.  Two gay jackasses, I suppose, is the theory.

It’s actually there that Brett Easton Ellis has the most to say — a tad tired of the “magical gay elf” trope in movies like Moonlight.  Here he’s kind of playing the identity politics game as much as anyone:  he wants to see more gay jackasses represented in Hollywood productions and arts and entertainments.  The book is at its best when moving over his various twitter controversies.

So we get a whiff of neo-conservatism as he fends against the “Resistance” of his upper class Los Angeles Hollywood environment, wondering why the heck his community gave the key to the city to a (heterosexual) porn star who broke a nda.  I understand much of the fatigue of the moment.  But he’s disingenuous — shocked by the New Yorker asking him about political commentary as though he wouldn’t expect it, and so complaining it to the Los Angeles Times.

He is correct on some scores — just what the hell was anyone supposed to think of the constant claim of Hillary Clinton as “the most qualified presidential candidate” ever? — and off in other ways:  no difference between Obama and Trump on immigration — really?  (Even granting the insanity of the “Resistance” in envisioning a more open borders than will be feasible.)

I see, spotlighted perhaps the work of the same Powells worker cross referencing Milo with Ellis, that the David Shields anti-Trump book Nobody Hates Trump More than Trump has a cover blurb from Ellis calling it the only anti-Trump book that speaks to him.  Maybe this serves as a mea culpa, or a back-tracking.    And this gets to his current problems with the culture.

In Vimi Bajaj’s essay on V.S. Naipaul in the “Writer’s Chronicle,” she argues that he was a great writer only early on, when he was compassionate, and is now no longer of interest, because he hates most of humanity; such a formulation would eliminate everything from Petronius’s “The Satyricon” (1st Century A.D.) to Michel Houellebecq’s “Submission” (2015).

Reminds me of seeing in the wake of Trump’s election a Literature professor declaring that she was now going to emphasize empathy in her syllabus selections.

The three principal NYT theater critics — Alexis Soloski, Jesse Green, and Ben Brantley — conduct a symposium on the state of American theater in the age of Trump. All are sublimely oblivious of the extent to which they each embody everything that drove five million Obama voters to Trump.

I take a gander at the NYT a and e section, particularly on the theater, here and there by happenstance, and have commented on it on this here damned blog.  Completely separate from anyone’s analysis anywhere, I note it is self-parodic…  (See here.)

Along with battling against this type of hyperbole.

I’m sorry that Bret is bored with discussions of how our country is teetering on the brink of fascism, but our duty as citizens matters now. His aesthetic preferences seem deeply selfish—one might even say moronic.

Well.  We’re all fighting the Spanish Civil War on our own terms, I suppose.

Ellis is also off basis in claiming that his early 1990s battle on behalf of American Psycho with the publisher was a “scary sign” for the arts.  The publisher had no more duty to publish, following the edicts of its capitalist principles (and maintaining reputation for further publishing ventures), than if I submitted something and was rejected.  Granted, they’d have more reason to publish his work, and a contract to buy out, but nonetheless… Also, it’s disingenuous to claim Gloria Steinem and various feminists just didn’t understand that the character in his novel was fantasizing about his wanton violence, and that should be clear in reading it — as though that would ameliorate the concerns and perspective of Steinem and company.

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