Fight Club Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fascism

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Fight Club ed norton on phone
I love Fight Club. The film is a powerhouse in directing, writing and acting and is a staple of any decent film studies course. But I hate that I’ve been thinking about it on a regular basis lately.

Fight Club a humorous yet scathing criticism of consumerist society, the idea of masculinity and support groups. It almost gives a voice to those isolated and disillusioned folk who don’t really know their place in the world. We need to know our place, but are not willing to base our actions or looks on what the current zeitgeist is. We need you to need us, but accept us for our individuality.

The narrator doesn’t have a name because we are the narrator, a lot of us are either working in a dead-end office job or are constantly trying to fill in a missing void. The narrator fills his void with Ikea products, which my old film teacher referred to as “Ikea Porn” (the act of looking through an Ikea catalogue and lusting over the products as if they can give us true satisfaction).

We all throw money around in an attempt to fill our void. Coincidentally, I do it with films. I fill my void with movies because I feel that is the easiest way to define me, yet no-one will actually see my collection because I’m an introvert, much like our humble narrator. No-one will see his cross-trainer or his handcrafted Scandinavian furniture because he isn’t psychologically capable of wooing a woman or making friends and he seemingly has no intention of doing. Companies such as Apple will release, essentially, the same product every year with the difference being that the new thing is a bit smaller or thinner and people will lap it up for the sake of social status. The battery on Apple products will always be garbage and they will always break easily, so why put up with it? A lot of these new products are like the cars that the Narrator’s company manufactures: Faulty as hell, but we don’t care as long as we look cool using them.

Also, I think that if you look inside most political tyrants or evangelists and you’ll see a Tyler Durden in there somewhere, you’ll see a charismatic yet strong leader bent on destruction using the guise of happiness. Tyler doesn’t treat one’s diseases with theatrics and shouting to the heavens, he treats our masculine insecurities by allowing members of a men’s only club to beat the crap out of each other. It’s a quick fix and leaves them open to manipulation and destruction, it reminds me of the old Hitler Youth camps. I love watching Tyler Durden, but his ideals are reckless and tribal. I think it’s good sometimes to “let the chips fall where they may”, and I definitely agree that “we are not the car we drive”, if the film was made in 2013 the line would probably be about how we are not the food we Instagram or how many fucking festival wristbands we wear. Alas, that seems to be the world around me at the moment. And to finish off my point, there are many Tyler Durden’s in the world and there are a lot of Project Mayhem’s following, and that thought scares the shit out of me.

The fight clubs he sets up in the film are still around today, but under the moniker of cage fighting. Sure, there are codes and conduct which I respect but cage fighting is the most primal of male behaviour, it’s essentially two (possibly steroid ridden) bags of meat pounding the crap out of each other for dominance.

Didn’t the cavemen used to do this? Have we really evolved at all? WWE may be (definitely steroid ridden) bags of meat pounding the crap out of each other, but it’s scripted, it’s a show, like a very, very sweaty opera. I’ll take sweaty art over sweaty brutality any day, thank you very much.

I love Fight Club. I love that it sticks the finger up at the zeitgeist and in a way sticks up for the disillusioned little man, but it’s 2013 and it seems like countries are going through a midlife crisis and going to war to prove how manly they are. I’m looking at YOU, America. I’ve always thought of America as Scrappy Doo, the younger character constantly trying to prove itself by starting a fight under the guise of policing the world. Or, another way of looking at it, America is Tyler Durden, and the UK is the humble narrator. Basically, the world seems to be one big Fight Club.

I love that Fight Club is relevant today because it’s a great film. Simple as. And it’s very a philosophical and theoretical satire that can make us look inside ourselves and think very carefully about who we are as people. I hate that Fight Club is relevant today because it seems haven’t really evolved or learned since the movie was made.

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Rhys is a 20-something university graduate with no real sense of direction, so he writes about stuff to fill some kind of void. He has a love for German beer, Mexican food and Stana Katic.

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