Ah. Fight Club.
The movie Roger Ebert didn’t quite get. He gave Fight Club two and a half stars. I know he’s dead and you have to respect the dead, but he was off about this one.
This was a movie that appealed to the generation that came after rather than the one before. Fight Club intitally struggled to find an audience.The book was lining up warehouses until David Fincher decided he wanted to make a movie out of it. Marketers had trouble advertising this satirical film. They couldn’t figure out how to entice audiences to check it out. Its box office numbers reflected that. Dark comedies are one of the harder genres to make trailers for. But after the home release, it gained its own almost Project Mayhem-esque cult following.
This movie is fucking hilarious and revels in absurdity. It’s about a guy so bored with his life that beats himself up and starts a cult, and then shoots himself in the head. The humor is lost on some audiences that focus on Tyler Durden’s philosophy or get turned off by the violence. If you listen to his words and nothing else, the movie comes off as propaganda for the destruction of capitalism and modern civilization. This movie gets much better with rewatches after the twist is out of the way. You can focus on Tyler as a malevolent force rather than his own person. His nihilistic philosophy is extreme and not to be imitated. Which of course had led to people seeing him as a wise man
The contemporary erosion of the masculine identity is a theme this movie examines. There’s the scenes with the protagonist at the testicular cancer help group. Here we have this man, Bob, with giant bitch tits hugging and crying. By the end of the movie, he’s dead. And his name was Robert Paulsen. In life he had lost everything because of his cancer. In death, he was to be remembered. He was a name repeated by the members of Project Mayhem. Just an interesting arc I noticed this time around.
The men in the film are these lost souls doing mindless work. What are they supposed to be? What are they as men supposed to do? They go back to the basics. They beat the living shit out of each other. And through this violence they bond. The violence is a way to express their rage at the world that’s told them they were special when they were not. It’s almost an after thought to everything else going on in this film. As I think about it, it’s more about how isolation, repetition, and lack of direction can drive a person insane
The writing is so strong in this film. The movies does commit a huge screenwriting no-no. It’s narrated by the protagonist. But like most writing rules, that one is meant to be broken. To take the narration out of this would be akin to ripping out a person’s spinal cord.
Below I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes.
“When people think you’re dying, they really really listen instead of waiting for their turn to speak.”
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”
“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I wonder if another woman is really the answer we need.”
“The condom is the glass slipper of our generation.”
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we’re free to do anything.”
“Working jobs we hate to buy shit we don’t need.
I have not read the book by Chuck Palahniuk. I’ll get to it one of these days.
Palahniuk is writing Fight Club 2 now. It will be a graphic novel. I’ll definitely pick that one up. I want to see where he takes the characters as the story was mostly focus on young men in their 20s and 30s. Palahniuk is now 53. What more does he have to say about masculinity with these characters? Will Tyler Durden return? Will we find out the Narrator’s name?
Good luck to you, Mr. Palahniuk. I look forward to Fight Club 2.
“OH MY GOD! GIRLS HAVE IT SOOO EASY! COACH GAVE THEM 15 POINTS!!!!”
-Twelve-Year-Old Me when a shutout kickball game became a tie.
In seventh grade kickball on Fridays, we’d play boys vs. girls. The boys always won in a slaughter but it was not a cakewalk. We’d have to kick with our left feet if we took an early lead. The gym teacher would give the girls more points if the gap got too big. One game we weren’t allowed to run. The concept of male privilege would have been as lost on Twelve-Year-Old Me.
It would be five years later that I’d faced with this idea of male privilege. My twelfth grade sociology teacher taught a class on the struggles of women through out time. I was slightly smarter at seventeen than five years prior so I took notes and paid attention in class. I was a good student. I had no trouble accepting that women hadn’t cruised through history. But then my teacher dropped this bomb at the end of her lesson.
“Even today men have it much better than women.”
My hand zipped into the air! I had to ask a question.
“You said men have it better. How can men have it better if you can be drafted to go die in a war just cause you were born a guy?”
My pencil was all ready to scribble down her answer. My brain prepped to soak in that sweet knowledge she was about to lay on me.
“I don’t think anyone should be able to be drafted.”
And then she gave us worksheets and that was it! I was left confused. I wanted to see her after class, but then decided to talk to my friends about video games in the hallway instead. So that question remains unanswered.
Do men have it better than women?
Virtually everyone would say it’s axiomatic that men have it better than women. I remain skeptical when it comes to the Western World.
I love reading crime statistics. That was a favorite hidden hobby of mine back when I was seventeen. I used to compare the trends of violence over the years to the portrayal in the media. It was like the more violence went down, the more violent stories were covered on television. Quite the dangerous inverse proportion.
One thing I’ve learned from all my fun time researching is that men are much likely to be the victim of a violent crime than women. They are far more likely to murdered, beaten, robbed, and a bunch of other nasty stuff. The only violent crime women outrank men is rape.
Men more successfully kill themselves more than women. Men die more on the job more than women. Men are more likely to end up in prison or become homeless. Can you say someone has it better if society is more likely to drive them to be a violent criminal? I’d have some trouble.
If you look at the tops of society, you will find men soaring. Men are more likely to be doctors, CEOs, and a bunch of other kickass stuff. But not many people look down and see the bodies of men laying on the ground. Men get to soar to the top, but they also sink.
I wouldn’t go as far to say women led easier lives. They have different equally as bad crap to deal with. I have trouble in general saying anyone has an easier life than another. It’s easy to observe someone else and pick out the good parts and not see what you might have over them. You might also miss what sucks about their life. Grass is always greener.
If you think I’m absolutely wrong and that men objectively have better lives than women, I’m open to hearing out your opinion. I’d love to have a discussion about it.
This list not by me, but damn do I wish it was.
1. Sing the Batman theme incessantly.
2. In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sexual favors.”
3. Specify that your drive-through order is “to go.”
4. Learn Morse code, and have conversations with friends in public consisting entirely of “Daaaa Dit Dit Daaa Dit…”
5. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
6. Amuse yourself for endless hours by hooking a camcorder to your TV and then pointing it at the screen. <
7. Speak only in a "robot" voice.
8. Push all the flat Lego pieces together tightly.
9. Start each meal by conspicuously licking all your food, and announce that this is so no one will "swipe your grub".
10. Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 98 copies.
11. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.
12. Sniffle incessantly.
13. Leave your turn signal on for fifty miles.
14. Name your dog "Dog."
15. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep them tuned up."
16. Reply to everything someone says with "that's what YOU think."
17. Claim that you must always wear a bicycle helmet as part of your "astronaut training."
18. Declare your apartment an independent nation, and sue your neighbors upstairs for "violating your airspace".
19. Forget the punchline to a long joke, but assure the listener it was a "real hoot."
20. Follow a few paces behind someone, spraying everything they touch with Lysol.
21. Practice making fax and modem noises.
22. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and "cc:" them to your boss.
23. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
24. Invent nonsense computer jargon in conversations, and see if people play along to avoid the appearance of ignorance.
25. Erect an elaborate network of ropes in your backyard, and tell the neighbors you are a "spider person."
26. Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with the prophesy."
27. Wear a special hip holster for your
28. Do not add any inflection to the end of your sentences, producing awkward silences with the impression that you'll be saying more any moment.
29. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears.
30. Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the ink cartridge across the room.
31. Give a play-by-play account of a persons every action in a nasal Howard Cosell voice.
32. Holler random numbers while someone is counting.
33. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you "like it that way."
34. Drum on every available surface.
35. Staple papers in the middle of the page.
36. Ask 1-800 operators for dates.
37. Produce a rental video consisting entirely of dire FBI copyright warnings.
38. Sew anti-theft detector strips
into peoples backpacks.
39. Hide dairy products in inaccessible places.
40. Write the surprise ending to a novel on its first page.
41. Set alarms for random times.
42. Order a side of pork rinds with your filet mignon.
43. Instead of Gallo, serve Night Train next Thanksgiving.
44. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a "croaking" noise.
45. Honk and wave to strangers.
46. Dress only in clothes colored Hunters Orange.
47. Change channels five minutes before the end of every show.
48. Tape pieces of "Sweating to the Oldies" over climactic parts of rental movies.
49. Wear your pants backwards.
50. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints by the cash register.
51. Begin all your sentences with "ooh la la!"
52. ONLY TYPE IN UPPERCASE.
53. only type in lowercase.
54. dont use any punctuation either
55. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets.
56. Pay for your dinner with pennies.
57. Tie jingle bells to all your clothes.
58. Repeat everything someone says, as a question.
59. Write "X – BURIED TREASURE" in random spots on all of someone's roadmaps.
60. Inform everyone you meet of your personal Kennedy assassination/UFO/ O.J Simpson conspiracy theories.
61. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, its gone now."
62. Light road flares on a birthday cake.
63. Wander around a restaurant, asking other diners for their parsley.
64. Leave tips in Bolivian currency.
65. Demand that everyone address you as "Conquistador."
66. At the laundromat, use one dryer for each of your socks.
67. When Christmas caroling, sing "Jingle Bells, Batman smells" until physically restrained.
68. Wear a cape that says "Magnificent One."
69. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
70. Stand over someone's shoulder, mumbling, as they read.
71. Pretend your computer's mouse is a CB radio, and talk to it.
72. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce "no, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
73. Drive half a block.
74. Inform others that they exist only in your imagination.
75. Ask people what gender they are.
76. Lick the filling out of all the Oreos, and place the cookie parts back.
77. Cultivate a Norwegian accent. If Norwegian, affect a Southern drawl.
78. Routinely handcuff yourself to furniture, informing the curious that you don't want to fall off "in case the big one comes".
79. Deliberately hum songs that will remain lodged in co-workers brains, such as "Feliz Navidad", the Archies "Sugar" or the Mr. Rogers theme song.
80. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head. like a parakeet.
81. Lie obviously about trivial things such as the time of day.
82. Leave your Christmas lights up and lit until September.
83. Change your name to "AaJohn Aaaaasmith" for the great glory of being first in the phone book. Claim it's a Hawaiian name, and demand that people pronounce each "a."
84. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
85. Chew on pens that you've borrowed.
86. Wear a LOT of cologne.
87. Listen to 33rpm records at 45rpm speed, and claim the faster speed is necessary because of your "superior mental processing."
88. Sing along at the opera.
89. Mow your lawn with scissors.
90. At a golf tournament, chant "swing-batabatabata-suhWING-batter!"
91. Ask the waitress for an extra seat for your "imaginary friend."
92. Go to a poetry recital and ask why each poem doesn't rhyme.
93. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions, and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something
about "psychological profiles."
94. Stare at static on the TV and claim you can see a "magic picture."
95. Select the same song on the jukebox fifty times.
96. Never make eye contact.
97. Never break eye contact.
98. Construct elaborate "crop circles" in your front lawn.
99. Construct your own pretend "tricorder," and "scan" people with it, announcing the results.
100. Make appointments for the 31st of September.
101. Invite lots of people to other people's parties.
I’m nearing my mid-20s. The time is coming for me to answer a serious question. Will I have kids?
I don’t have to answer that question today but it’s still on my mind. As a man, I’ll be fine to have children for many years. I’d say it is better have a kid while I still have my vitality. I don’t want to be sixty having a thirteen year old bitching at me.
Once you have a kid, you are no longer the center of your life. It’s all them. They are what you leave behind. I take creating a life very seriously. Who am I to bring a new person into existence? Who am I to raise someone to be a part of society? What authority do I have on life? I’m still figuring things out. I’ll always be.
What if I have a child and it’s a catastrophe? Am I not to blame if my child suffers and leads a despondent life? What if my child hurts others? Do I take the blame for being a bad parent? What if they are disabled? What if they are severely disabled to the point where they can’t interact with the world? Should I have a child if I don’t know if I can bare that?
It’s the ultimate responsibility. It is also not all doom and gloom. Children bring light to a life.
Six months ago, I babysat my then seven month year old baby cousin. I sat him down on the floor. He was learning how to crawl. I put Thomas the Tank Engine in front of him then moved it a couple feet away. He started pushing off with his stubby arms. He crawled backwards. I moved him back to his original spot and put the train a bit closer. He pushed off again and ended up farther away. He has never gone forward in his life. He didn’t cry. I moved him back and he went backwards again.
His goal got farther and farther away from him. But he kept going. I found this to be so profound at the time. Now he can walk. He can follow me. Soon he’ll be able to run and be a huge pain in the neck for everyone. And it all started from going backwards a thousand times. Yet he ended up forward in the end. It seriously made me rethink some of my own personal philosophy.
Children have much to give back to their guardians. A year ago, I learned towards never having children. But today I’m not ruling it out.
So long as someone else changes the diapers.