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Shirley Jackson, Francine Prose
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
Naomi Klein
Progress: 158/528 pages
"I want to perform an unnatural act."

- Lenny Bruce

"I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative. I don't like anything in the mainstream and they don't like me."

- Bill Hicks

"I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant."

-George Carlin

"The more I see, the less I know for sure."

- John Lennon

American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis There wasn't a clear, identifiable emotion within me, except for greed and, possibly, total disgust...the normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated...I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning. Something horrible was happening and yet I couldn't figure out why - I couldn't put my finger on it. Take a look at how many pages I marked, and keep in mind this is with most of the small bookmarks taken out:This book is such a mindfuck. I knew going into it that it would be an intense read, but my god, American Psycho really rattled me. This is from a girl who has been a fan of horror since she was a small child.What made this book captivating was the way Patrick Bateman was so detached from his actions, and how he mused on his own killings:It's so much worse (and more pleasurable) taking the life of someone who has hit his or her prime, who has the beginnings of a full history, a spouse, a network of friends, a career, whose death will upset for more people.Bateman lets his madness slip from time to time, but it's overlooked by all those around him. He has a phone conversation about dinner reservations devolves into a Samuel Beckett like display of nonsense, with Bateman explicitly telling his friends of his past crimes and sadistic desires, and they either ignore him or laugh off his confessions.Being a sort of metaphor for the eighties, Bateman is obsessed with looks. His ex Bethany makes a flippant comment about his hair, and Bateman nearly has a meltdown. "What's wrong with my hair?" In a matter of seconds my rage quadruples. "What the hell is wrong with my hair?" I touch it lightly.The fairly amusing parts of this book do not overshadow the disturbing aspects of it, which are plenty. I will say this; do not read this book while eating. I have a strong stomach, and was starving one afternoon and took this book with me to a local deli for one of my favorite sandwiches. I sat down with my sandwich, took a few bites, came to a passage that I will not summarize, and then stood up and asked the man behind the counter for a doggie bag. So yeah.Bateman is a tragic figure, even though he is beyond deplorable. At one point he tries cannibalism and emotionally falls apart. And later my macabre joy sours and I'm weeping for myself, unable to find solace in any of this, crying out, sobbing "I just want to be loved," cursing the earth and everything I have been taught: principles, distinctions, choices, morals, compromises, knowledge, unity, prayer - all of it was wrong, without any final purpose. All it came down to was: die or adapt.Bateman's essay on the virtues of Huey Lewis and the News was used brilliantly in the movie when he mentions the message of "Hip to be Square" being an ode to conformity before he murders Paul Allen. . The satirical humor of the book shines through when Bateman describes the song "Slammin'" as "just a lot of horns that quite frankly, if you turn it up really loud, can give you a fucking big headache and maybe even make you feel a little sick, though it might sound different on an album or on a cassette thought I wouldn't know anything about that. Anyway it set off something wicked in me that lasted for days. And you cannot dance to it very well." It's hard to pinpoint exactly what happened in Bateman's childhood, but he clearly was unwell from an early age and madness might run in his family. He mentions raping a maid when he was a teenager, and also mentions a cousin who raped a woman and bit off her earlobes. Upon discovering a picture of his father, Bateman lists off what he's wearing, where he's standing, and then finishes his observation that "there's something the matter with his eyes." Later Bateman has a violent dream in which he mentions "James Robinson doing something bad to me" before recalling his time at boarding school and then Harvard. Bateman is so depersonalized that at one point he has this exchange with Jean, his secretary: "Patrick, seriously. I'll do whatever you want," she says. "If you don't want to go to dinner, we won't. I mean-" "It's okay," I stress. Something snaps. "You shouldn't fawn over him..." I pause before correcting myself. "I Okay?" He wonders if he should end up with Jean, and concludes that "everything is interchangeable anyway" and "it doesn't really matter". A cab driver robs him, telling him he knows he killed another cab driver, and Bateman tells him that he's a dead man, to which the cabbie replies "and you're a yuppie scumbag. Which is worse?" In the afterword, Ellis states that he didn't know the book would be so violent, but that Bateman would describe his torture and killings "in the same numbing, excessive detail and flat tone that he recounts everything else - his clothing, his meals, his workouts at the gym."Norman Mailer states "[Ellis] has forced us to look at the intolerable material, and so few novelists try for that anymore."