Off Leash 5.5


Columbine Survivors Talk About the Wounds That Won't Heal, Westword

“Sadly, Columbine has become a case study in the long-range trauma inflicted by such an event. In the months after the shootings, reporters wrote frequently about the challenges faced by the most seriously injured Columbine students, a wealth of inspiring stories about healing and recovery. But there’s been surprisingly little written about the less obvious wounds some survivors still grapple with to this day, including panic disorders and PTSD, depression and substance abuse.” —Alan Pendergast

The Dispossessed: Edouard Louis confronts the French elite’s contempt for the poor, The New Republic

“‘The ruling class,’ Louis writes, ‘may complain about a left-wing government, they may complain about a right-wing government, but no government ever ruins their digestion, no government ever breaks their backs.” For his father and those like him, on the other hand, ‘politics was a question of life or death.’” —Brian Goldstone

Psycho Analysis: Bret Easton Ellis rages against the decline of American culture, Book Forum

“The prose in White is shapeless, roving, and aggressively unedited. One waits in vain for an arresting image. Several passages recycle or embellish material from the past few years, including a baffling 2011 essay for Newsweek on the difference between ‘Empire’ and ‘post-Empire’ celebrity that reads like Marshall McLuhan without the rigor. For a man who prides himself on roguish individuality, Ellis uses a laughably derivative vocabulary, a mélange of Breitbart talking points and weirdly apolitical antiestablishment ideas, as if he has just discovered Nietzsche on his older brother’s bookshelf. He bemoans ‘the democratization of culture,’ he calls social media ‘Orwellian,’ and he regularly tosses off words like ‘groupthink,’ ‘corporate,’ and the dreaded ‘status quo.’ The Man, man. ‘Social-justice warriors never think like artists,’ Ellis declares, as if this is a sentence. Like his hero Joan Didion, Ellis believes that style is everything; what a shame he has written a book with so little of it. —Andrea Long Chu