Monday, January 28, 2008

American Psychos

If you have watched American Psycho lately, as I have, you may have noticed that the film and the main character bear a striking resemblance to today's New York. In 1991, when the book was published, and 2000, when the film came out, Patrick Bateman was a caricature of the 1980s Wall Street yuppie with a sleek condo on the Upper East Side. He was specific to a certain time and place.

Watching the movie today, his specificity washes away. In 2008, Bateman's condo could be anywhere in Manhattan (and many places in Brooklyn), he could work in an office in Times Square or Soho, and his malignant narcissism is no longer a pathology of the few.

In today's New York, the American Psycho is an everyman.

1.


Bateman's kitchen is an orgy of stainless steel and overperforming appliances, features greatly fetishized in today's popular condos. Below is the gleaming metallic kitchen from Blue:



2.


Bateman's condo shows off the cold emptiness of luxe condo aesthetic. But his windows are small compared to the floor-to-ceiling "oculi" enjoyed by 21st-century yunnies and seen here at 459 18th Street:



3.


Bateman is obsessed with his looks. He wants his body to be hard. So do the people who will live in The Platinum, according to their advertising images of steely cyborgs:


11 comments:

ShatteredMonocle said...

Scary stuff. At least Bateman didn't hang out in the L.E.S.

john said...

bravissimo, mr. moss, if that is your real name.

L'Emmerdeur said...

These places don't say "sex" to me. They say "work 16 hours a day, your social life is exclusive to the internet, with infrequent calls to a dominatrix who will put you in your place for $600 an hour".

Then again, that would be interesting. The yunnie life, as we know, is much more boring - shopping, boring bar-hopping with boring people, Law & Order marathons...

OK, now I want to kill myself. J, you are the Jim Jones of the internet!

Anonymous said...

Bate man actually lived on the UWS- specifically the "American Gardens" building on 81st st. In the eighties there were thousands of Batemans running around Manhattan...now there are hundreds of thousands!

Alex in NYC said...

I never saw the film, nor did I read the book (just seemed like it was trying too hard - I dunno, maybe I'm missing something). In any event, I can see from your stills, however, that Bateman may have lived uptown, but had an eye for downtown -- he has a Robert Longo painting (the businessman in distress) on his wall. An omen of his kind's subsuming of downtown culture?

Anonymous said...

People are selfish and narcissistic today because our culture revolves around self indulgence, cable tv, and a lack of neighborliness. Before the high rise buildings we had walk ups, people knew each other and helped each other. That is all gone. The funny thing is that American pshyco is a popular DVD to own among yuppies.

Sam said...

did anyone else see the real estate display ad in yesterdays' nyt for one of these condos, it featured a woman about to embrace a man and the tag line "Bring him downtown."

one.illnewsjunkie said...

Although I was in kindergarten at the time, I know from my early memories and family the late 80's were a turbulent time in New York- but also an interesting time where conquering capitalism (which is what runs this town) was balanced with a wide varity of almost subversive artistic values. Now it seems the funniest parts of American Psycho ring all too true. The scene when the vapid self important WASP's compare their business cards has me in stitches everytime- but with the proliferation of blandness and the increasingly transient overprivliged WASPy middle American white bread jerkoffs into this town- it's not quite so surreal anymore.
How do interesting people take back Gotham?

john said...

i highly recommend the book "Deep Economy: the wealth of communities and the durable future."

i get depressed seeing how the world and NYC is going, but this will soon collapse (already begun? judging from the intensity of the illusions id say so), and we need to have something to stand FOR in place and growing to replace this system/mentality/life that is so aggravating and violent.

this book is the future, i really believe that.

Anonymous said...

These places really are like the apartment in American Psycho--thanks for the lead-in. I agree--it is a matter of time til the narsissists feel the recession that we are in--no one really is safe

christopher cummings said...

that was a big reason why i left Brooklyn, the LWS is just as much as the UES forchristsake. The thing that i see is its all the same now and way too expensive, dirty, and crowded, but you can find a hot chick with style anywhere in the city, not so much Brooklyn.