Patrick Bateman“ is a fictional character from Bret Easton Ellis‘ 1991 novel „American Psycho“, but the model for today’s very popular memes is „Patrick Bateman“ from the 2000 film adaptation of the same name, played by US actor Christian Bale. The memes show snapshots and film clips, which are then provided with individual sayings, with their own music or other effects.
„Patrick Bateman“ memes have been experiencing a lot of hype especially since the beginning of 2022. In these, the character Bateman is stylised into a cultivated and secretly admired person. At the same time, the character Bateman shows enormous abysses that can be seen as representative of social criticism.
Since the much-hyped „Patrick Bateman“ memes are currently taking social media by storm, but many people are unaware of why „Patrick Bateman“ from „American Psycho“ is experiencing such a great deal of hype at the moment, the following article is intended to explain this in detail.
Who is „Patrick Bateman“? Explanation
„Patrick Bateman“ is the main character of the novel and film „American Psycho“. He is a good-looking, successful young investment banker from Manhattan. He has an obvious double life. During the day Bateman indulges his consumer desires (he lives in a luxury flat, always wears designer suits, etc.), more or less plays the successful employee and at night he becomes a sick serial killer. However, he combines both aspects of his life perfectly, without this being noticeable to outside people in the film (such as colleagues, his lawyer or the police).
Superficiality, neurotic approaches as well as brutality and controversy therefore determine the everyday life of „Patrick Bateman“. On the one hand a charismatic and exemplary young yuppie, on the other a mentally ill serial killer with a problematic personality. Bateman therefore serves – also in connection with the varied scenes in the film – as an ideal template for creating memes.
Interpretation of the character „Patrick Bateman“ and the film „American Psycho
The character Bateman is understood by many people as the downfall of American (representative of Western) society and its superficiality. Accordingly, the anti-hero Bateman forces viewers to question their moral values and norms. Consumer culture, self-centredness, neurosis, sexuality and violence are the main aspects of Bateman’s personality. He is therefore admired and hyped by young people in particular. Bateman thus indirectly serves as a figure of rebellion against older generations – as is the case, for example, with rock stars in the past or rappers today.
The brutality and uniqueness of Bateman’s character as well as the present circumstances in the film are so macabre that it is perceived as funny and entertaining. Many see Bateman (apart from his murderous fantasies) as a desirable and exemplary character who has „made it in life“.
Origin and creation of „Patrick Bateman“ memes
The origin of the Bateman character lies in 1991, when the novel „American Psycho“ was published by US writer Bret Easton Ellis. However, „Patrick Bateman“ only became really popular with the film of the same name from 2000, in which he was played by actor Christian Bale.
The novel and the film are set in the late 1980s and focus on the yuppie scene of the time, which was characterised by drug consumption, expensive suits, power-related office jobs, sex and, in places, sick perversions.
In the course of the 2000s and 2010s, some clips from „American Psycho“ were initially popular in forums, in which „Patrick Bateman“ pointed his finger at things or swung an axe. From the late 2010s and early 2020s, Bateman was then increasingly incorporated into memes, before also serving as a main component of memes since 2022.
Use of „Patrick Bateman“ memes
The character „Patrick Bateman“ is now primarily used to create memes in the form of images or short films on social media. In addition, however, he is also popular with YouTubers and in certain scenes. All three main areas of use of the „Patrick Bateman“ memes will therefore be shown in more detail in the following subsections.
On social media, „Patrick Bateman“ memes are mainly used on the platforms Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to depict various everyday situations in a humorous way. For this purpose, individual images or scenes from the film are provided with individual sayings or other effects and published.
YouTubers, on the other hand, prefer to use scenes from the film „American Psycho“ and incorporate them into their own videos in order to react to certain situations or circumstances and to integrate funny elements. This is less of a meme, as the scenes in question are usually not edited or provided with slogans.
Career and finance scene
In the career and finance scene, „Patrick Bateman“ memes are currently also very popular, as they mark the ideal ideas of young careerists in a macabre way (apart from the murderous aspects of his personality). „Patrick Bateman“ stands for wealth at a young age, success in his job and possesses an aesthetic body along with other amenities.
Social classification of „Patrick Bateman“ memes
Today, „Patrick Bateman“ memes are mainly used by people between 15 and 30 years of age, who can thus be assigned to the „Millenials“ and „Generation Z“ generations. At the same time, they are also understood by the older generations „X“ and „Y“, who were the main target group of the film „American Psycho“ in 2000. Younger or even older target groups are less likely to understand the „Patrick Bateman“ memes or even not to use them.
At the same time, the „Patrick Bateman“ memes are a well-known phenomenon, since social trends repeat themselves every 25 to 30 years. The novel and the film „American Psycho“ are between 23 and 32 years old. That’s why they are in vogue again right now – the cycle for the complex social trend at the time is therefore repeating itself again exactly now.
Conclusion on „Patrick Bateman“ memes
In summary, „Patrick Bateman“ memes are a phenomenon of the younger „Millenials“ and „Z“ generations and are currently very popular on social media, YouTube and in certain scenes. They are used for humorous evaluation of various everyday scenes and are provided with their own slogans, music or other elements. The dark and schizophrenic character Bateman is secretly adored, especially by young people, and represents a rebellious element towards older generations.
Related to the „Patrick Bateman“ memes are, for example, the „First World Problems“ memes and the „Distracted Boyfriend“ memes. They all address and criticise, to a greater or lesser extent, the complacency and self-promotion as well as the moral downfall of Western societies.