not so easy.
I recently bought (on sale - victory!) and watched Fight Club for the very first time. Having read the book a few times, it wasn't exactly what I expected. There were little variations, but these slight changes didn't accumulate to the point where they undermined the whole plot and/or meaning; they were tasteful and well-placed. Nonetheless, they threw me off the storyline a little, so in the middle of the movie I snatched up my copy of the book and began flipping to the parts I needed a refresher on.
Something jumped out at me as I frantically searched for the bit where Edward Norton's testicles are in danger of being severed. One of the short reviews on the inside cover of the book referred to Fight Club as being "apocalyptic". While this does make sense at some level (after all, the world is taken over by Project Mayhem, all 'rules' of society are ignored, and a few important things explode), I don't think it'd be one of the first words that would come to mind when you look at the entire picture. Anarchy is probably the front runner in that category. How else do you describe the essential domination of the world by an underground organization that has expanded so rapidly and become so much more than itself that it doesn't even have a leader anymore? I think apathy would probably be the next, considering the focus on a philosophy that's something like existentialism and vaguely reminds me of Ayn Rand's objectivism. Everything is insignificant, and the destruction involved is a raw and shocking taunt aimed at society, exposing and rubbing in that meaninglessness. Then comes nihilism. This relates closely to the apathy and is definitely a huge part, especially in relation to self. Thoughts and concerns for any and all aspects of personal well-being are simply not considered, because they are completely unimportant. In fact, just the opposite is encouraged and deemed necessary. Self-destruction is the first step to enlightenment, because once you let go of your delusions of importance and realize that you are truly insignificant, you can find the things that have real meaning and destroy (even if not physically) the rest.
Fight Club is a shocking, thought-provoking, and disturbing portrayal of the scariest thing we as humans can imagine - what we might actually believe, somewhere deep down (it's not that outrageous, if you think about it), what may actually not be some ridiculous idea, but the truth that we've been talked out of all our lives.
"Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."
While I was in Colorado, without phone reception (mostly) and without the usual distractions of everyday life, I found myself watching people more closely. Not in a creeper way, though; more of a prolonged observation. I guess the stark setting of the state made me more aware of the people around me. It seemed like everyone was exaggerated, to the point of becoming caricatures of themselves. There was the aging hippie at Fiddler's Green with the pretty face, bare feet, celebratory cigarette (she was there to see Aerosmith and ZZ Top - who wouldn't celebrate?), and crocheted shirt that probably showed too much skin but somehow looked completely natural on her. There was the tired but determined-looking World War II veteran on the airport shuttle, with his khaki cords, a heavy ring with two initials inscribed on it, and a weathered black Camel leather bag. There was the mournful, dark-eyed woman on the same shuttle ride, with an expensive gold cross at her throat and a regal, aquiline nose. There was the middle-aged rich woman on the very same shuttle (believe it or not) who prattled on at an obnoxious volume in her false aristocratic drawl, about everything from 'Daddy' to boat rides and hunting to imitation designer handbags to her genuine designer boots to how the standards of first-class travel have fallen considerably. There was the eternal free spirit chef at an organic diner outside of Nederland, who, gesturing with her be-ringed hands, described how she had lived in Florida, then New York, then Ward (in Colorado), and how she had left at least one ex-husband and a few kids in each. There was the smooth-talking, slightly sunburned barista in a Denver Starbucks who had experienced a long week of work, wanted to know if i was excited for the weekend, and then suavely asked me how I'd picked up an accent so quickly and what I did when I wasn't on vacation in Colorado (nice.). There was the Russian bartender who skillfully (and rather suspiciously) skirted telling us why she had moved out to Colorado between asking us incessantly if we wanted another drink and marching authoritatively around the bar. There was the friendly young girl with unmatched earrings in Nederland who had recently opened up the Buffalo Bill Confectionary, a coffee/candy shop based in one of Buffalo Bill's old railroad cars, who explained to us with a huge grin how she came to visit a friend and 'just kind of stayed'.
It was an interesting trip.