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September 05, 2005

The importance of being self-indulgent

David Amsden reviews Brett Easton Ellis' new novel, Lunar Park and writes a spirited defense of self-indulgence.

For all the clichéd jokes about writers and their egos, we still feel the collegiate desire to equate the act of writing (as opposed to the writing itself) with something holy and pure—an impulse closer to that of the selfless humanitarian aid worker than the self-centered rock star. Which is ludicrous. Writers are rock stars—playing on a stage in their minds to a sold-out show of themselves, hoping to make enough noise that others have no choice but to listen and, ideally, start singing along in vague recognition. In so many Great American Novels, this urge is precisely what we admire: that the writer had the gumption to universalize the personal, to publicly and articulately act the way the rest of us do in front of the mirror.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 5, 2005 08:47 AM

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