Bret Easton Ellis is back with a novel, Splinters, more than fourteen years after his last literary foray, and four years after his powerful essay, White. In an interview given to World, he points out the difference between being 17 in 1981 and today: “I think the big difference is that at the time we wanted to be adults. The world was made for adults. It was not not a world built for children. And we wanted to enter this world, that of sex, cocktail parties, professional careers, and finally get out of this suffocating little trap of adolescence and childhood.”
There is only a great writer to open the steep paths of reflection and suddenly, at the turn of a banal promotional interview, offer enough to feed a chronicle!
Until the 2010s, childhood and adolescence were seen for what they are: a period of transition, a passing state, an apprenticeship, but also a period of salutary doubt, thwarted innocence, stubborn desires. , painful disappointments. A time of freedom, certainly limited by the school, the parents, the prohibitions, but a free time because devoid of adult responsibility, a dress rehearsal time, a draft time. Since then, frenzied individualism has given birth to a generalized infantilization that manifests itself in a glaring absence of humor and a sickening sentimentality. Yet this infantilization is thwarted, not to say contradictory.
On the one hand, childhood and adolescence are overpriced through feelings and emotions that must now be taken literally. The child and the adolescent have always had things to say to us, but it is now a question of considering their feelings as having the same value as the knowledge of adults, erasing the profitable limits, those which precisely allow innocence almighty to cling to reality and learn to live life with its impossibilities. The child should no longer be contradicted since he knows – punishing him by sending him to his room to think about his stupidity is mistreatment. The child king has become tyrannical, and the adult jealous of so much power also prefers his feelings to reality, his feelings to reality. The schoolboy, the schoolboy, the high school student and the student know as much as their teachers and professors, and their micro-experience must be considered in the same way as the erudition accumulated over the course of their studies. Criminal jamming of the transmission which prevents the possibility of apprehending the world by noting its healthy ignorance and of offering oneself the priceless gift of intellectual ambition, that of the discovery of the unknown, which is obviously not to be found in a experienced, as exciting, sordid, difficult, pampered as it is by individuals with milk teeth of 12, 15 or 20 years old!
We “sanitize” the lives of children
At the same time, the disproportionate importance and the illegitimate place given to these transient human states that are childhood and adolescence burden them with a weight far too heavy to bear and send them directly to psychologists, psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, who in return force-feed them problems that are not their age and psychotropic drugs that damage them for the rest of their lives. Because how can we imagine for a moment that a 14-year-old “child”, surely still a virgin, is capable, from the height of his healthy immaturity, of going to the prefecture to choose his sex, as Spanish law has just decreed in one of these political moments that will be a national disgrace in a few years? While, at the same time, the law considers that a minor cannot have consensual sexual intercourse!
We consult “children” to rewrite books to avoid offending others, and we forget that they need to be offended, hurt, shocked to advance healthily on the path of adults. We “sanitize” the lives of children, but we forget to warn them against the difficulty of living.
We are adults to become to make finite-brained adult decisions by considering this as progress, when it is a terrible regression to refuse children to live the lives of children who do not know and question everything, and teenagers to move in a world of uncertainties, flawed choices, uncontrollable hormonal surges, feelings without consequences. In The Devil in the body, Raymond Radiguet writes: “If youth is silly, it’s because they haven’t been lazy.” I am for lazy youths who give birth to fulfilled adults!