Culture

Author Bret Easton Ellis Slams ‘Little Snowflake Justice Warriors’

Brett Easton Ellis speaks at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA on Sunday April 25, 2010, in Westwood, Calif. (AP Photo/Katy Winn)

Author Bret Easton Ellis unloaded on the ubiquitous social justice warrior snowflakes during a recent podcast following a “controversy” regarding an L.A. Weekly op-ed.

Writer Art Tavana penned an oped about pop singer Sky Ferreira. Specifically, he discussed her sex appeal.

In other words, Sky Ferreira is the most deliberately pimped-out example of a modern pop star. She’s not a mindless product like Britney, or a depressed indie-pop singer like Lorde, but she’s also not bitter or punk, like Meredith Graves, or a feminist superhero like Grimes. She’s the pop star who’s so personally cool that her record label, Capitol, doesn’t need to hire a team to mold her.

He went on to describe the singer as a “fresh-faced beauty” and dared to say there was “nothing tasteless” about Ferreira using her looks to help her career.

“Why can’t we see her sex appeal as talent as opposed to privilege? Ferreira’s sex appeal, like any woman’s, isn’t entirely a gift from God. It isn’t something she’s simply born with. It had to be sharpened and used like Beatrix’s sword in Kill Bill: with fine, deadly precision,” Tavana wrote.

You can see where this is going to go.

The piece was roundly criticized on social media and on the internet. The L.A. Weekly published an apology.

[LANGUAGE WARNING] Here’s a partial transcript of Easton Ellis’s rant.

But this ‘looks-ism’ goes back to Elvis and the Beatles, with cute mop-tops John and Paul and Ringo and George, sold by their adorableness at first. Throw in Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison and Sting and every single boy band that ever existed and…it’s still not the same. Because our gender differences about looking and appropriating is not a narrative about equality and inclusivity. Women get looked at and appropriated a lot more than vica versa, granted, but I think in this era driven by the dreaded idea of ‘inclusivity for everyone no matter what’, beauty seems threatening – a separator, a divider – instead of just a natural thing, the natural thing being people who are admired and desired for their looks, individuals stepping away from the herd and being worshipped for their physical beauty. For many of us, this is a reminder of our own physical inadequacies in the face of what our culture defines as sexy, beautiful, hot – be it straight or gay – and yes, little snowflakes, boys will be boys.

To pretend that looks or that hotness, whether you’re a guy or a girl, shouldn’t make you popular, is one of those sad politically correct stances that make you question the validity, the reality of politically correct thinking, and a few journalistic reactions to the LA Weekly piece. This ode to Sky Ferreira may not have been that well written, but it is clearly written honestly by, yes, most definitely a man, who is, yes, most definitely looking at a woman he desires, and writing about that desire. What’s wrong with that? Even if it overshadows what he thinks about her music, so what if he’s honest about objectifying her?

Oh, clearly you didn’t think the little snowflake justice warriors everywhere, from the LAist to Flavorwire to Jezebel to Teen Vogueto Vulture, were going to let this innocuous piece go unnoticed without having a hissy fit? Oh yes, most deliciously, the little snowflakes got so pissed off and were just sooo unbelievably offended by this piece, that they had to denounce it. Oh, little snowflakes, when did you all become grandmothers and society matrons, clutching your pearls in horror at someone who has an opinion about something, a way of expressing themselves that’s not the mirror image of yours, you snivelling little weak-ass narcissists? The high moral tone from social justice warriors is always out of scale with what they are indignant about. When did this hideous and probably nerve-wracking way of living begin transforming you into the authoritarian language police, with your strict set of little rules and manufactured outrage, demanding apologies from every sandwich or salad you didn’t like?

Teen Vogue, of course, found the use of “boobs” and “knockers” as yes, “misogynistic”, and started a very tired complaint about ‘the male gaze’ – that’s g-a-z-e, listeners. When I hear self-proclaimed feminists complaining about the male gaze yet again and hoping that it will – what, go away? be rerouted, contained? – I’m thinking, are these women so deluded that they are bordering on insanity, or have they just not gotten laid in the last four years? The writer piping up in Teen Vogue about the insensitive misogyny of the Ferreira piece, and how women need to be respected and not judged by their looks – and yes, the irony is delicious coming from Teen Vogue – seemed so childish along with all the idiots tweeting out their hate, that Tavana quote-unquote “reduced a woman’s art to whether you want to fuck her or not, you’re trash”, is indicative of the moment we are in.

Continued on the next page

And there is the suggestion that maybe Tavana knew exactly what he was doing, inciting feminist hysteria, seeing if SJWs would take the bait – they always do – and I kept thinking, what if all I wanna do is bang Nick Jonas? And I could probably write a 1500 word ode to him, talking about his sexy chest and his ass without really liking his music at all; is that gonna be a diss on Nick? Or, if a woman wants to write about how she really hates Drake’s music, but finds him so physically sexy and desirable that she’s lusting for it from him? Where would that put her? Would either of those cases raise an eyebrow? No.

Because, in our society, social justice warriors always prefer women to be victims. In all of these cases, from Jezebel to Flavorwire to Teen Vogue, they all succeeded in recasting Ferreira as a victim of something, reinforcing her supposed victimisation. This is the usual hall of mirrors loop they find themselves in when they’re looking for anything to get angry with. The reality of the world is that men look at women, and men look at other men, and women look at other men, and women especially look at other women and objectify them. Has anybody been on Tinder lately, and seen how our Darwinian impulses are gratified in a swipe or two? This is the way of the world in order for our species to survive, and I doubt that is ever going to be erased.

Now, I know this fake LA Weekly controversy is going to go away in about two minutes – and yes, everyone can have their deluded social justice warrior opinion about the case, which was actually brought to my attention by my favourite 22-year-old millennial fan who was disgusted by what he saw as a misguided and pompous feminist reaction to the Tavana piece. And we both thought: in a perfect world, Sky would come out in favour of the LA Weekly ‘thinkpiece’, and wouldn’t that be so gratifying? And yes, snowflakes and little wussies, it was a thinkpiece. When did Generation Wuss start becoming outraged over an op-ed? That’s the real question.

But because the little Nazis policing language have a new rulebook about how men and women should and should not express themselves about their desires, this allows Jezebel and Flavorwire to write their own childish responses, placing Sky in the delicious position of victim. But the sad ending of this story is that the LA Weekly, which edited and posted the piece, felt like they had to apologise for the piece after so much online complaining, apologise about a piece where someone was clearly writing honestly – sometimes embarrassingly so – about what was on his mind in the moment about a performer, and the way he was looking, and yes, gazing at this performer, and that was it. That is allowable.

The overreaction epidemic that is endemic in the culture, and the implicit calling for censorship by removing the piece, is what should not be allowable, and it should be called out every time SJWs ignore the First Amendment. And I say overreaction because I can’t really really imagine Jezebel, who kind of admitted as much, or Flavorwire, giving two shits over this, a thinkpiece on why a man thinks Sky Ferreira is hot, instead of just raging in the vacuum of their own making, and the LA Weekly should have pushed back on this and defended their writer – and by extension freedom of expression – and just walked away. But no, they felt they needed to say ‘I’m sowwy’ to all the snowflakes who found this innocuous piece so offensive and threatening, and how it crossed some imaginary line of decency, and placating all the crybabies who wanted the post taken down, and kudos to the LA Weekly for not taking it down, because if it had that would have been actual censorship, which is what the left’s social justice warriors really want.

Why is it once again that I feel the well-intentioned young liberal self-proclaimed feminist left has become so oversensitive about everything that we have entered into what is really an authoritarian cultural moment? It just seems that it’s so regressive and so grim and so unreal, like in some dystopian sci-fi movie: there’s only one way to express yourself as some kind of neutered thing, this mound, this clump, turning away from your gender-based responses – towards women, towards men, towards sex. This neutering, this castration, is something no-one really wants or believes in, I hope. But hey, maybe if I go with it and pretend to believe it, it’ll fill my column – and I do need to put out some clickbait this week.”

The complete remarks are here.

Listen to the podcast episode here.

Bret Easton Ellis is the author of several bestselling novels, including American Psycho and Less than Zero.