Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Blank Literature

Blank Literature

Blank fiction and the blank generation, terms that describe a society milieu that become a cult symbol of the 1980's. The term itself comes from the title of Richard Hell's album Blank Generation. Writers like Bret Easton Ellis exemplified this transgressive genre that saw society as a constrictive and binding construct, as a consequence a feature that defined the genre, was that the narrative saw its protagonists breaking free from conformity. However this social rebellion was primarily linked to the more self destructive and self motivated forms of rebellion. Sex, drugs and violence became a key component, the characters themselves, narcissistic, vacant and nihilistic. As such it can be seen that these attributes are connected to their need for a sub culture of society. Mental illness, addiction and more sinister issues such as incest, pedophilia and sadistic violence make existing in society impossible. Blank fiction then can be seen as a place where the blank generation could exist outside society but still in some way connected too it. 
For example, Bret Easton Ellis's novel American Psycho features a wealthy, attractive and powerful young man, a yuppie, going about his life in a way that is seemingly in simpatico with mainstream society. This is however a facade for his depraved and increasingly powerful obsession with murder and mutilation. This theme of internal revolt is evident in much of Ellis' work that becomes in itself a key symbol for blank literature. The novel Less Than Zero uses a different angle to explore the literature of the blank generation, in the novel the protagonists Clay, rather than being a key participant in the actions and motivations of blank literature, takes the place of voyeur, he witnesses the apathy and amorality of the blank generation. Less Than Zero focuses more on the blank generation and its presence within youth culture, as the novel explores a group of young people motivation almost solely by the their illicit needs and desires wherein drugs and sexual acts become entertainment and the more sadistic and perverted the better. 

It can be seen that blank literature questions the 1980's youth cultures sense of self, the consumer culture and financial boom have created a sense of loss and meaninglessness. It could be said that the relevance of it being a time of Post Cold and Vietnam War is crucial to the significance and creation of the blank generation, in that, there is no war, no purpose, no victory. America during the 1980's and leading out of the 1970's was dealing with a national shame in regards to Vietnam, they needed to reinvent and in the vacuum the blank generation formed. 





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