Bret Easton Ellis: The Nihilism Of Generation X Is What Millennials Are Reacting To

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On HBO's 'Real Time' Friday night, host Bill Maher, author Bret Easton Ellis, and 'New York Times' opinion writer Charles Blow had a heated debate on social justice warriors, political correctness and the differences between Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. The group also talked about the film Black Panther being nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and how being against the nod was racist.

"I did a podcast that was about two and a half hours long and for about two minutes I talked about how in the town (Hollywood) there was this perception of Black Panther of being overly represented of something in terms of the Oscars, people were talking about that. And then I talked about how much I thought it was a subpar Marvel movie. But I also talked about how much I liked those opening images of Wakanda. We have never seen anything like that before. No one talks about that. They just talk about the racist douche who dissed the subpar Marvel movie and that's part of the problem with social justice warriors," Bret Easton Ellis said.





"I think a lot of what happens happens because one generation reacts against another," Ellis remarked. "And when we talk about social justice warriors or victimhood, we're talking about a generation that is reacting towards Generation X, which was kind of cool, very aloof, very different to things, wasn't so overly emotional."

"I think the nihilism of Gen X was what Millennials are reacting to or reacting against," he added.

"Here's what's wrong with social justice warriors. There's not interested in justice. They're interested in clicks... Oh please, you don't think so?" Maher said to an incredulous Blow.

"It's people just trying to build a reputation to be part of a social media nation that may or may not even be real and it's also dividing us apart. Social media is not designed to bring us together, it's to bring us together to battle each other," national security analyst Clint Watts said. "It creates what real activism is versus I'll click this, tweet this out."

"What's so exhausting about this is the lack of trust," Maher lamented. "When we're just with our own friends, in a place that's not public, we're funny, we're politically incorrect, we all do it. And then in public, and public now means on Twitter, social media, Facebook. I always say that's like our Avatar. It looks like us, it sounds like us, but it's this whole other person who talks like a robot. And can't you just trust me after all these years that I'm not on the wrong side of these issues? And it's like, no we can't because we're just trying to get you, your scalp and clicks!"

Bret Easton Ellis's commentary on Generation X and how we got here:

BILL MAHER, HOST, HBO'S 'REAL TIME': I've always known you as a novelist and now you have come out with a book that is non-fiction... Why couldn't you say about the subject matter that you're addressing in this book which is political correctness, social media and group think and that kind of stuff? Why couldn't you address that anymore in fiction? Why did you go for non-fiction?

BRET EASTON ELLIS, AUTHOR: Well because I thought there was too much fiction out there in the world anyway and I wanted to write a book about the trajectory of Gen X and how we were born in the 60s, we came to age in the 70s in a time that was very free of parental guidance. We were on our own. The world wasn't made for children then and so I think aided in our independence. We had a tremendous amount of freedom. And then moving in through the 80s and then moving from the analog world into the digital world and then ending up in the summer of 2018 thinking where the fuck are we? What happened? All of these freedoms -- freedom of expression -- that we were allowed in the 70s and in the 80s and into a degree the 90s and suddenly we were stuck there and the summer of 2018, politically and culturally, going what the fuck happened? How did this happen to us? And that truly is what the book is about. It's about the projectory of our generation.

MAHER: How did that happen? You talk a lot about the culture of victimhood. Why did we become a victim culture?

ELLIS: I think a lot of what happens happens because one generation reacts against another. And when we talk about social justice warriors or victimhood, we're talking about a generation that is reacting towards Generation X, which was kind of cool, very aloof, very different to things, wasn't so overly emotional.

MAHER: Is that you, Gen X?

ELLIS: Yeah, I was Gen X. One of those first years, depending on what chart you see. And I think the nihilism of Gen X was what Millennials are reacting to or reacting against.

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