Patrick Bateman: There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there.
In an epic meditation on intangibility that has never been made in such detail or with such care, Jonah Goldberg points out that colorless, tasteless, odorless Mitt Romney can beat Obama when it comes to “the kids” because it’s hip to be square:
The trick for Romney isn’t to pander to young voters. He’ll never beat Obama and the Democrats at that game. But Romney can turn things to his advantage. He needs to contrast himself with Obama in ways that highlight Obama’s desperate need to seem cool to compensate for his failures. Nothing turns off young people more than pretending to be “down with the youth” as it were.
Indeed, Romney should take some lessons from Ron Paul on this score. There is quite literally nothing hip or cool about Paul, but of all the politicians this cycle, he probably generates the most excitement among young voters. Now, part of Paul’s appeal Romney cannot copy. Paul’s esoteric and conspiratorial theorizing about the Federal Reserve, for instance, won’t help Romney in the general election.
But what Romney can learn from the 76-year-old Paul is the appeal of authentic nerd chic. It’s cool to be really into your issues and interests. And one of the things that distinguishes the millennial generation is an understanding that nerds — Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs et al. — get things done, and get rich as a result.
Or, put another way:
Patrick Bateman: I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust.
(thanks to Dana S. for the heads-up)