The Gang Starts A Fight Club!
This week Andrew, Holly, and Alison step into the ring to duke it out over director David Fincher's 1999 film adaptation of Fight Club. There are no show notes but there is a fun little thematic review under the audio. Give it a read, listen to the episode, and let us know what you think! Theme song by Andrew Hansen.
You can listen to the episode on iTunes, your favorite podcatcher, or right here.
David Fincher's vision of Chuck Palahniuk's uber-male fantasy novel contains exactly the amount of violence the title would have you believe. The issue is that this violence does not accomplish anything particularly constructive. Sure, Edward Norton's character finally grows enough as an individual to overcome his split personality Tyler Durden, but what about the rest of the world that has been built in this movie?
In the podcast we talk about how Fight Club is MRA (men's rights activists) fodder and it absolutely is. There is a growing movement of men who have taken to the internet to share their disgruntled feelings about our society's shifting views on what it means to be a 'true man.' These internet warriors decry feminism as emasculation and PC culture (politically correct, not personal computer) as a threat against the aggressive and domineering identity that fits their ideal male identity. While fight club may be an enjoyable and entertaining movie experience for most, it's easy to see how impressionable and resentful men look at Tyler Durden's obsession with sex and destruction and see male values that have been stolen from them.
What makes Fight Club different from other violence fantasies though? I just watched man-machine Arnold Schwarzenegger mow his way though a city a few weeks ago and thought nothing of it. The difference is how this aggressive identity is presented. I admit that during the first half of Fight Club I was on board with the listless consumer mentality that Norton's character struggled with. When Durden shows up he helps build on Norton's tension with quotes that pseudo-intellectual parrots were certainly vomiting back to their friends well into the new millennium.
This agreeable introduction to Durden's character is what allows the viewer to stay on board when his destructive and sociopathic nature is revealed. This same insidious method is how the MRA, 'alt-right,' and other groups used wrongly perceived suppression to grow their numbers and gain sympathy. Not many people will come right up to you and say that women/Jews/blacks/etc are the reason you have been kept down; a much more effective strategy in recruiting is starting with the simple question, "Don't you feel like something has been taken from you?" Once that base has been established it's much easier to build up.
So when I've spent the first half of a movie agreeing that I too feel trapped by a career, possessions, and pointless goals, why wouldn't I agree when Durden says, "We're a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need."