One assumes Bret Easton Ellis always hated David Foster Wallace, but now he’s ranting publicly about it. Jealous of all that posthumous hagiography, Bret? The spirit of the Brat Pack lives on!
Bret was apparently reading D.T. Max’s new account of Wallace’s life, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, a book whose shocking twists we revealed last week. As much as the “solemnity” of this literary mythmaking may have revolted him, it’s relevant to this discussion that Wallace wrote against the TV-saturated ’80s fiction scene, of which he considered Ellis an essential part, in the essay “E Unibus Pluram.” He had further harsh words for his Gen-X contemporary in a 1993 interview with Larry McCaffery:
Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development … If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything.
The serialized outburst, in which Ellis called the deceased writer “tedious,” “conservative” and “a fraud,” among other pleasant things, came around 2:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Anyone who follows this Twitter account knows its author is prone to staying up late on Ambien and admitting whatever thought crosses his mind into the ether, so let’s chalk this up to that—even if he’s not entirely wrong.