Tropics of media published an article called 'Generational Narcissism?: Less than Zero, Gen X, and Why Millenials Really Aren’t All That Bad.'
Less than Zero highlights the lives of rich youths in Los Angeles and displays how their wealthy lifestyles create a dependency to a harmful behaviours that includes drugs and sex.
Ryan Reft in the article explains that this lifestyle leaves the characters feeling empty and unfulfilled. He says that "To say that pretty much every character seems vacant in the novel would be selling vacancy short." This shows the idea of a blank generation, a term showing hopelessness for youth culture.
Reft also talks about how the youth culture in Los Angeles has shifted from a place of hippies to the new destructive culture that is presented in the novel. He writes that "Clay’s L.A. indeed has moved. The game is no longer “peace, love, dope” but rather “dope, sex, and death.” This shows the drastic change in the culture and presents America as a constantly changing scene.
Later on in the Article, Ryan Reft discusses Bret Easton Ellis and his take on the current culture when he wrote Less Than Zero. He describes him as being very admiring of the time period that he writes about and even though he shows the culture as being so destructive and toxic, he still views it positively. He writes "With or without social media, Ellis and others saw youth culture in this hyper-self absorbed nihilistic light. While Ellis certainly means to be brightlining Clay et al’s negatives, he also enables their worst habits and glorifies them." The fact that Ellis brings so much attention to the bad attributes of Clay and his friends, almost makes them aspirational.
From reading this article it is clear to see that the youth culture represented in Less Than Zero is very problematic and damaging however this is done in such a way that it is glorified and the time period written about by Ellis is almost strangely admired.