The Consumption Economy
American Psycho is a cautionary tale that tugs at the heartstrings of American culture. The American economic model is so ‘successful’ that only select countries who have prospered through alternative models like Germany can dare raise a finger against it. To shield it even further against criticism, this book was published at a period of unprecedented economic growth.
American psycho makes a compelling case against such growth built on the back of massive consumption (Howell 45). Corporations seek to be in control of the consumer’s critical faculties using tasty commercials and illusory packaging. Their end objective is to create highly addictive habits that ensure their products fly off the shelves. If you thought such habits are the reserve of the gullible, the book is quick to caution that even well educated university professors fall for this trap.
American Psycho blames all these on the role of signs, semiotics and signifiers. They developed the ‘prosperity cult’ Americans are well-known for. This common pursuit has in turn ensured greater conformity among Americans. However, their application is also selective; thus, giving rise to classes of the obscenely rich and the poor. Furthermore, they define modes of dress and even look down upon a pitiable condition like obesity in favor of an anorexic standard of beauty.
In conclusion, signs, semiotics and signifiers are not entirely destructive. They add meaning to our lives and offer others a window without which they