Wednesday, February 8, 2012

American Youth Culture 

Whilst searching for information about Less Than Zero i came across an interesting article called American Youth Culture In American Writing – Books vs Screen, this article compares the portrayal of youth culture in Ellis' book to more modern day show casings of society such as 90210, Friends and Scrubs.

"Bret Easton Ellis wrote Less Than Zero in 1985. As monetary backgrounds go, Clay, the main character, his close group of friends and pretty much every character of ‘that’ 90210 postcode are very similar. Well-off, houses with pools, the latest gadgets, such as iPod touch’s for the current 90210 clan and the constant playing of MTV and cassettes for Clay and his group. This is where the similarities end though"

The author goes on to explain that the scenarios involving dead bodies, pimps and very young girls show a much darker side to the wealthy American youth than what we are subjected to today. Ellis' book was later adapted into a film in 1987 albeit with key factors of the book such as drug abuse, sex and pimping being removed which made the film more moralistic than the actual book. I feel that this takes away from what Ellis was trying to portray, as he wasnt sugar coating what certain aspects of society were and although there are some extreme cases, they cannot all be seen as unrealistic. 

By comparing Less Than Zero with shows such as 90210 you are comparing two completely different aspects of American society. They are both showing extremes from different sides of the spectrum with 90210 being alot more easier for people to stomach than the graphic nature depicted in Less Than Zero.

"Within literature we see writers such as Bret Easton Ellis, Chad Kultgen and Chelsea Handler (with her memoirs) portray a youth of wrong-doings, one-night stands, broken hearts and feeling awkward in social situations. The TV shows are entertaining in their own way; personally I love nothing more than seeing a stroppy fifteen year old not get the $1200 shoes she was after, but then again I also have a soft spot for Handler’s superb delivery of her late night encounters."

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