American Psycho (first half)–Group 1

American Psycho is, at least in part, a parody of the manners of affluent young professionals in NYC. What is one moment you found funny and why? If you found not a single moment amusing, why do you think that is? A failure in the novel? Your incapacity to see the humor? The general offensiveness of much of the language and people in the book?

4 thoughts on “American Psycho (first half)–Group 1

  1. Thomas Dillon

    While the book itself is much more graphic and disturbing because of its specific details, one of the funnier scenes that is true to the movie’s light-hearted hilarity is the business card scene. This entire display not only reveals how shallow and superficial Bateman and his colleagues are, but it also demonstrates how pointless their actual jobs are. How is it that all of them hold the same position, vice president, at the exact same company, Pierce & Pierce? Bateman’s reaction to Montgomery’s card receiving more applaud and praise from their circle than his card is humorous and bears resemblance to the movie’s classic line that has become a massive meme among Pop Culture: “Now let’s see Paul Allen’s card.” It was interesting and funny to see how the book originally tackled this scene and I found myself chuckling particularly at the moment where Bateman loses his self-control and allows his anger from the cards to boil over, which results in a curseful tirade directed at their waitress about the silliest thing: pizza. The entire scene displays the vanity that men on wall street operate with and I thought its cinematic counterpart made the scene even funnier.

  2. Madison Brito

    “Patrick is not a cynic, Timothy. He’s the boy next door, aren’t you honey?’ ‘No I’m not,’ I whisper to myself, ‘I’m a fucking evil psychopath.'”
    I love the use of the boy/girl next door trope here. Since I’ve really only heard it used in reference to girls, I found it to be all the more ironic as it feels like forcing a trope that doesn’t even exist in the format it’s presented (although maybe ‘boy’ next door is used more often than I’m familiar with and this is a personal reaction). I found this passage amusing for the obvious dramatic irony, how you’re in on something the character’s don’t grasp even when it is shoved in their faces like this, but also for language’s inability to convey what only status symbols seem able to in this world. Ostensibly, Patrick is the same as everyone else – so much so, that his literal omission of being a psychopath has no effect on the people around him. He goes to incredible lengths to describes the brands they all wear and has an amazing eye for it; he’s like a supernatural incarnation of physical consumption. And so, his words mean nothing to them when his physical appearance and behavior say what they want it to.

  3. Timothy DeLorenzo

    I found this book very difficult to read, and was not finding the absurdity very funny but really scary. But it really did make me laugh every time that Bret Easton Ellis would describe all of the material objects that people were wearing or things that were in the room. In the chapter “Business Meeting,” Bateman describes all of the things that are making him look and smell fresh: his RayBans, chewing his Nuprin, his tweed suit, his cotton shirt, his Yvles St. Laurent stuff, his silk Armani tie, his Hermi thing, his skin cream and his Evian water. Bateman laments. “All it comes down to is: I feel like shit but look great.” Though the materialism in the book is an obvious critique, I found the descriptions of the beautiful material objects to be very funny and some of the least offensive parts of the book, and I wonder if Ellis is using these material objects as oasis from the saturated depravity of the Wall Street life he describes. Is he trying to communicate something about how these objects function in Bateman’s mind? Though some might consider themselves capable of seeing through the thin beauty of consumer culture, these moments function for me as little checkpoints to get me through the insane world in this book. Don’t these objects function similarly in real life. Also in this chapter, when discussing a dinner with clients, there’s this exchange…

    “Cheesecake?” I say, confused by this plain, alien-sounding list. “What sauce or fruits were on the roasted chicken? What shapes was it cut into?”
    “None, Patrick,” he says, also confused. “It was… roasted.”
    “And the cheesecake, what flavor? Was it heated?” I say. “Ricotta cheesecake? Goat cheese? Were there flowers or cilantro in it?”
    “It was just… regular,” he says, and then, “Patrick, you’re sweating.”

  4. Karianne Laird

    One of the absurd moments in the book that is emblematic of Batesman’s superficial values is the scene where he and the boys are comparing their business cards at the restaurant “Pastel”. The cards are status symbols which show off their Wall-street jobs and their fashionable taste. This scene reveals Bateman’s anxiety about his status despite trying hard to seem indifferent. He pulls out his card from his wallet, with the intention of showing it off to his “friends”. At first the others are in awe, like he had hoped, but he is soon outshone by Van Patten, Price and Montgomery, which is a hard blow for Bateman. This is an absurd and laughable moment as it reveals so much about Bateman’s circle and his shallow values and insecurity.

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