While many poke fun at the novel and film for being excessively ‘edgy’ and pessimistic, there’s no denying that many of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho predictions have come to pass. Here are some of the most frightening realities told in the book that we’d rather ignore:
Caution: Major cynicism ahead!
Keeping Up Appearances
Throw on a suit and tie, show up to work every day, and discuss the weather with your colleagues. That’s usually all it takes to convince others you’re a smart, successful, and perfectly normal member of society. But behind locked doors, we’re often lonely, frustrated, apathetic, and in Bateman’s case, a volcano of lust and hatred ready and eager to erupt. No matter how terrible we feel, we’re compelled to wear our socially acceptable masks in the office, which in many instances is where the root of our problems lie. A recent job satisfaction survey found that over 52 percent of Americans are unhappy with their careers, a remarkable difference from 30 years ago, when over 60 percent of Americans enjoyed their work.
The Endless Cycle of Materialism
From unreasonably large televisions to fancy cars to sparkling jewelry, many of us work meaningless jobs to buy meaningless things. We sometimes want things for the sake of having them. And while we may not reach Patrick Bateman’s level of detachment, we’ve likely let our morals and ethics slip to pursue primal desires. The stories of people being assaulted, trampled, and even murdered during Black Friday frenzies don’t help dispel Ellis’s world views, either. Materialism is one of the most accurate American Psycho predictions that’s likely to hold true well past our lifetimes.
Everyone Loves Empty Words
From Miss America pageants to scripted presidential speeches, anyone can say they want to save the world, and we’ll gladly applaud them in righteous agreement. Afterward, our words evaporate and we go about helping ourselves in a vain attempt to fill the emptiness of our daily grind. Well, that sure sounded like the tirade of an angsty freshman philosophy major, but for many, it’s not far off. We say what others want to hear to keep our jobs, avoid conflict, and fit in with the crowd, a crowd which in Bateman’s case is comprised of people he couldn’t hate more.
How many of our co-workers do we actually know by name? Do we really care about their existence outside (or even inside) the office? Chances are, we have at least a couple of people we wouldn’t mind having lunch with, but otherwise, we don’t really care. While we likely haven’t reached Bateman’s level of blatantly cheating with a co-worker’s fiancée, sometimes apathy is just the name of the game. We miss or simply choose to ignore warning signs of a co-worker on the verge of losing control. In Bateman’s case, he openly threatens to kill people, but they simply shrug off his threats.
We cap off this list of scarily accurate American Psycho predictions with a theme we could ramble on about for ages: greed. We’ll just pick a recent example out of our proverbial hat…Martin Shkreli.