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Old 04-16-2011, 03:44 AM   #1
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Bret Eaton Ellis' Ugly Rants

This guy was one of my favorite authors, five or six years ago. But when he tweets watching the TV series Glee is like "stepping into a puddle of HIV," I've reached the point where I can no longer separate the author as a person from his work.

Here's one article about his mean-spirited comments:
http://m.digitalspy.co.uk/ustv/s57/g...tter-rant.html

The guy has also made crass remarks about the It Gets Better campaign (there may be a legitimate debate re. the project, but he's hardly illuminated the issues through his name-calling, or counter attack: "it doesnt get better.")

He doesn't like to label himself as gay or even bi to the media, but he lived with his longterm boyfriend for a period of time (still does?). But he seems hostile to the gay community, his refusal to self-label being part of that perhaps. Self-hating gays can be the worst enemy to the community, e.g. closeted religious leaders and elected officials.

Anyway, I'm curious about other people's take on this. Is Ellis just plain a jerk, or is he a jerk trying to scrape up any publicity he can get due to his dwindling career (a double jerk--I thought his last book was so-so anyway)

And on a higher level: Can you separate the work from the author, when the author's personal decisions/behavior are deplorable? One example that comes to mind is Virginia Woolf, who has been called anti-Semitic by some.
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Old 04-16-2011, 04:14 AM   #2
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Urgh. That's quite gross. If he's doing it out of genuine douchery, or if he's just angling for publicity, it's creepy either way.

For me, I can't untangle an author's personal assholery from their work (the one exception would be in some cases I can deal with a sexist/racist author from a long-ass time ago). I can't bring myself to read the work of someone who has come out as anti gay rights, not even from the library...they are free to be bigots, but I feel equally free to avoid their work. Orson Sc0tt Card, Brandon Sanders0n, John C Wr1ght -- now I can add Bret Easton Ellis to my list. I also can't bring myself to read any of the kids fantasy novels that are published by a company owned by the LDS Church--specifically because they spent heaps of money fighting against gay marriage and I couldn't bear the thought of my own money going to such a thing--that's the Fablehaven series, Leven Thumps series, and Far World series. I would buy a book by an individual LDS author though, and indeed several of them have come out in support of the gay community.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:14 AM   #3
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Sounds to me like he has some personal issues to work out. Which — though I love his books — would explain a lot.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:35 AM   #4
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Brandon Sanderson? *googles*

Damn it all to hell. I'm so sick and tired of this.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:39 AM   #5
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Mara-based on what i read in an essay on his homepage he is anti gay marriage rights although he "has gay friends". He could have left that tidbit of information out and i would probably be fangirling over his books as we speak.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:46 AM   #6
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Brandon Sanderson? *googles*

Damn it all to hell. I'm so sick and tired of this.
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Mara-based on what i read in an essay on his homepage he is anti gay marriage rights although he "has gay friends". He could have left that tidbit of information out and i would probably be fangirling over his books as we speak.
The fact that his homepage requires Flash should have been proof enough.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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Meh. I met him once years ago (in the 90s) and he seemed pretty gay. A complete tool, but pretty gay. I have never been a huge fan.

I did like Orson Scott Card, although I've mostly grown out of him. I knew he was LDS, but has he actually spoken/written out against gay marriage? I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose. Still, he DID write one of my favorite fantasy books of all time: Hart's Hope.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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I did like Orson Scott Card, although I've mostly grown out of him. I knew he was LDS, but has he actually spoken/written out against gay marriage?
Did he speak out against gay marriage? Oh boy, did he. Anyone who thinks gays should be put in jail as examples for other gays to be more like acceptable, equal citizens (which gays are clearly not, in his eyes) is going beyong speaking out about gay marriage, into a whole different medieval sort of nastiness. It's worse that he claims to have dear friends who are gay.

In his long essay, he points out that people who are for gay rights seem to want to deny him the same freedom of speech because they don't like what he's saying, which I think is BS. I believe he has every right to write essays like this one. But I have the right to read it and decide what I think of him based on it, which I won't say here. Emphasis mine.

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Old 04-16-2011, 07:20 PM   #9
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I haven't read the other authors mentioned. But I think, in these lights, it's like choosing to shop or not shop at a store that you know has contributed to anti-LGBT political campaigns (Target anyone? -- although apparently they've made good).

I'd also liken Ellis to my recent decision to stop frequenting a pizzeria in the neighborhood where I work, because they've been very hostile toward teenagers in the community (the area is struggling with kids hanging out on the streets--largely without incident--because they don't have their own "space"). This pizzeria hand's down makes the best damn slice in the neighborhood, but I made the decision, for the sake of youth rights, to go someplace else from now on.

Actually, Ellis' books are not nearly as tasty, so it will be easier to stop myself from buying them.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:45 PM   #10
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I would say that Ellis comes across as a jerk in his work. Which is what counts for me. You can find better writers to enjoy and admire.

Virginia Woolf was raised in a time when anti-Semitism was the default position of her class, and when she was young she repeated some of the usual stereotypes about them, and there's the famous quote about hating the Jewish laugh (she may have been talking about her mother in law). But she married a Jew, hated Hitler (some in her class idolized him), wrote an anti-Fascist screed. And there's this other famous quote from the mid-30s, after a rant denouncing Christianity as egoism: "my Jew has more religion in one toe nail—more human love, in one hair."

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Old 04-16-2011, 08:39 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=shelleyo;6041510]Did he speak out against gay marriage? Oh boy, did he. Anyone who thinks gays should be put in jail as examples for other gays to be more like acceptable, equal citizens (which gays are clearly not, in his eyes) is going beyong speaking out about gay marriage, into a whole different medieval sort of nastiness. It's worse that he claims to have dear friends who are gay.

Bigots always pull this one. I've heard this many times. The old "I have Black friends,insert ethnic/racial group/orientation". If you know the color or sexuality of your friends and then make sure you put emphasis on this to a person that you meet of said group,well,hunny,we ain't fooled.





I CAN'T with authors when they display signs of bitchassedness in their personal lives. I will not read a racist, sexist,or homophobic writer,especially one living in our timeframe. I don't care how talented they are. There is NO excuse for this.

Calling "Glee" a puddle of HIV and this right here:

He doesn't like to label himself as gay or even bi to the media, but he lived with his longterm boyfriend for a period of time (still does?). But he seems hostile to the gay community, his refusal to self-label being part of that perhaps. Self-hating gays can be the worst enemy to the community, e.g. closeted religious leaders and elected officials.


Tells me that Mr.Ellis has some serious issues going on.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:44 AM   #12
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Ugh. This is why I hate entertainment news. I don't want to know anything about the writers and actors I enjoy (altho, as I said, I haven't read any new stuff by Card in years). Chances are better than not that they will say something that completely destroys my ability to enjoy them.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:13 AM   #13
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Sounds to me like he has some personal issues to work out. Which — though I love his books — would explain a lot.
You took the words right out of my mouth.
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:12 PM   #14
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Shame about Brandon Sanderson - I love "Writing Excuses", but I've never read his fiction. I suspect his style of fantasy wouldn't be my kind of thing anyway.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:34 PM   #15
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Shame about Brandon Sanderson - I love "Writing Excuses", but I've never read his fiction. I suspect his style of fantasy wouldn't be my kind of thing anyway.

My impression of Sanderson, from the one post he made on the subject, is that he believes what he's supposed to because it's the LDS position, but he hasn't really thought deeply about it and seems open to change. He's relatively innocuous compared to Card, who's consistently bilious and hateful on the subject.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:08 PM   #16
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Miles was generally a really mean and unpleasant guy to be around.

He was still a genius (and a terrible human being).

Bret Easton Ellis has plenty of company when it comes to being a douche. The bar was raised high long before he came along.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:38 PM   #17
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My impression of Sanderson, from the one post he made on the subject, is that he believes what he's supposed to because it's the LDS position, but he hasn't really thought deeply about it and seems open to change.
That's good to hear.

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He's relatively innocuous compared to Card, who's consistently bilious and hateful on the subject.
Indeed. I still think OSC's book "How to Write Fantasy & Science Fiction" is one of the best on the topic, but I hesitate to endorse anything else by him, for that reason.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:02 PM   #18
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Nightimer, you make an excellent point (and I also love Miles Davis' music, but didn't know those things about him).

The difference with BEE and other controversial writers, artists, performers, etc. is that they're not dead.

I mean, I can kind of distance myself from the ickiness of Davis, or let's say Truman Capote (who by many accounts, sounds like he was a very unpleasant person to be around, though gay himself, certainly not a crusader for gay rights, though on ther other hand, you have to consider the times) or even Lewis Carroll (possibly a child molester). I guess it's because they're no longer around to answer for the shitty things they did.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:17 AM   #19
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The thing about OSC is, he's taking an active political role in denying me basic rights in this country, using the money he's making as a writer. That's when I draw the line and say, no way am I *ever* giving this guy a single penny by reading his books.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:18 AM   #20
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Ohhhh dear, I didn't know that about Orson scott Card (why spell his name with numbers in?). That ... that kind of influences some of the illustration work I've been trying to get. Thanks for the information. Sigh. Must remember, do not work with evil.
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:07 AM   #21
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(why spell his name with numbers in?)
To foil the Googlebots - this site is wide open to Google and gets quite high rankings. If, for example, you Google my name, my AW posts appear on page 3 and sometimes higher. Spelling things with numbers foils Google's spellcheck algorithm.
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:36 AM   #22
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I haven't read the other authors mentioned. But I think, in these lights, it's like choosing to shop or not shop at a store that you know has contributed to anti-LGBT political campaigns (Target anyone? -- although apparently they've made good).
No, they really haven't. They made a standard back-handed apology and didn't do anything to balance out their actions. Lady Gaga pulled out from an exclusive distribution deal for Born This Way because of it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:40 AM   #23
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A few years ago I was planning on reading OSC's Ender's Game based on the recommendation of an AWer I trusted. When I heard about his vitriolic posts about gay people, I decided that I would feel dirty even if I checked out the book from the library. If an author doesn't support gay marriage but is not vehemently ANTI-gay, I might still read them, depending on how badly I want to read their book and who recommended them to me. But not when they've posted public, disgusting screeds, i.e. OSC and JW (don't want to give either of them more Googlejuice).
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:30 PM   #24
Shadow Dragon
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I always do my best to separate the art from the artist. If I think a story is good, I'll check it out. Regardless of the author's personality.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:49 PM   #25
Stellan
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Originally Posted by Kitty Pryde View Post
For me, I can't untangle an author's personal assholery from their work (the one exception would be in some cases I can deal with a sexist/racist author from a long-ass time ago). I can't bring myself to read the work of someone who has come out as anti gay rights, not even from the library...they are free to be bigots, but I feel equally free to avoid their work.
That's how I feel, too. Sometimes I wish they came with warning stickers, so I can avoid giving money to people who'd prefer I not exist.
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