"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."

I've reread Bret Easton Ellis's first novel Less Than Zero (Vintage, 1998) again for the first time in almost twenty years. Appreciate its ability to portray horror in the diurnal mundane. Several moments in the book were structurally flawed, redundant. That first sentence accomplishes a great deal, especially evoking that city's sound and movements, car-driven culture, words have reached their postmodern uselessness. As the final images (un)convincingly reveal (news reels) a dystopia: "Images of people, teenagers my own age, looking up from the asphalt and being blinded by the sun."

MTV repetition (the Latino Factory) a construction of false images and illusory pronounciations of the city. Rimbaud nihilism in movie (video) vignettes, let the medium be invaded by the counterfeit, essayistic in its prose attitude. A feeling-less book.

"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence." (II)

"The mass is a matrix from which all traditional behavior toward works of art issues today in a new form. Quantity has been transmuted into quality. The greatly increased mass of participation has produced a change in the mode of participation. The fact that the new mode of participation appeared in a disreputable form must not confuse the spectator." (XV)

(Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction")

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