Fight Club 9 years later
Being a relatively young film lover, I have not been able to experience many films that have changed with me as I’ve grown older. While I’ve become accustomed to having changing opinions of a certain movie as I’ve grown up and seen it more, this is generally only in the case of films that I loved as a child but found that they lost something upon further review (Goonies being the best example of this). I’m sure that there are films that will become more or less important for me as I experience some life-altering events (I’m sure that a film like Finding Nemo probably will be much more meaningful once I become a father, assuming I ever do), but as of right now, even though I feel that I’m an entirely different person from who I was ten years ago, I don’t feel I’ve changed enough to really see films differently. Fight Club is an unique exception.
“I wanted to destroy something beautiful.”
I can’t remember first viewing Fight Club, but I can remember the impact that it had on my friends and me. For the most part, we1 latched on to the most base, nihilistic part of the film, in the least anarchistic way we could. I wasn’t aware of the deep-rooted meaning behind Tyler and Co.’s actions; to me, “nihilistic” was an adjective used to describe a river in Egypt. We formed our own ‘”fight clubs’” which were really just impromptu wrestling matches. There were never any broken noses, busted teeth, or (except for in one minor incident) ruptured testicles, but it felt cathartic and invigorating nonetheless.
I had recently switched cliques within the school. Before the transition, if I had had a penchant for make-up, I suppose I would’ve been considered goth. When we were in junior high, my best friend and I wore old trench coats that we had dug out of our parents’ closets. This was long before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold unfortunately made national headlines; we wore them more out of an affectation of The X-Files than we did out of wanting to make any kind of statement. Suffice it to say, we were far from the most popular kids in the school.
Though I was never subject to beatings, or being stuffed into a locker, or any one of a number of psychologically traumatic inducing humiliations, I still suffered the stigma of not being one of Them. While my switch in friends wasn’t necessarily for the better popularity-wise, it did broaden my social network, (even if that term hadn’t yet entered our existence). We rallied behind Tyler’s “you are not…” mantra because it strove to vilify the people and style that we had come to envy and hate. The Fitch-bitch crowd seemed singled out because so much of their personality came from their clothes and style. The concept of an iconic figure turning against that group was extremely appealing. There were other figureheads spouting off anti-conformity rhetoric, but they were considered freaks by the conformists, and their followers were labeled likewise. Tyler Durden, for lack of a better word, was cool, and that was undeniable. Following him and his ideals didn’t just seem like the right choice, but the only choice. While we didn’t strive for anarchism, we embraced the notion that it was alright to follow your own path, even if by doing so we were conforming to an entirely different standard in a separate-but-equal way. “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake” may seem like a rather bleak worldview, but it was a breath of fresh air to us. After all, we thought we were invincible.