Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Youth Culture in Less Than Zero and Imperial Bedrooms | Village Voice


"Zero's weakness—a meandering plot where we wait for the characters to motivate themselves into caring about something—is forgivable. In 2010, its chronicling of rich and fabulous teen life makes Gossip Girl look like an after-school special. It now reads less like a coming-of-age story and more like an existential fairy tale explaining what happens when parents have everything but the capacity to love their children."
Though a lot of this article by Foster Kamer is about Ellis' Less Than Zero sequel, Imperial Bedroom, I found this paragraph particularly interesting. Here, Kamer is addressing a weakness and a change that Less Than Zero has shown in modern days. In the 80's, the story was shocking to the reader, particularly ones of an older generation as they struggled to believe that the youth of L.A. were actually living like this: Teenagers drinking, snorting, smoking, having sex and some even participating in prostitution. What Kamer also implies here in the extract above is that once upon a time, this kind of story would have been seen as a coming of age story which ties in with the notion of Less Than Zero being an example of Blank Literature.
         However, going back to what I was saying - I find it hard to believe that people were shocked by this kind of behaviour. As a teenager, you go through changes and change your views and you request freedom to do so. This would be quite typical of teenagers as a form of rebellion. As they are the future leading generation, teenagers tend to believe that they are more "aware" of the flaws of society and refuse to obey the rules as they don't want to live their life that way in the future. Putting it in this perspective, perhaps the manner and style in which Ellis wrote about things such as sex and so on may have been the shock, not the act themselves.

                                                    'Less Than Zero' Trailer (1987)

1 comment: