And It's Caffeinated
December 14, 2011 10:03 AM   Subscribe

You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything esle. You use FIGHT CLUB brand soap.
From the real-life Omni Consumer Products Corporation, a product development company focusing on "licensing, defictionalization, and reverse-branding". Previous products include Brawndo, Tru Blood and Stay Puft Marshmallows (giant monster mascot not included).
Disclaimer: This post is NOT intended to help sell the product, just to inform you that it exists in this atrophying universe. Previously.
posted by oneswellfoop (84 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've seen this soap for sale around the net and I find it ironic that a company that uses such language is selling merchandise from Fight Club, an up front capitalist diatribe if ever there was one.
posted by DuchessProzac at 10:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


is it made from the fat asses of rich women?
posted by ninjew at 10:10 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for Ouroboros™ brand hula hoops.
posted by kmz at 10:11 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The soaps that the Fight Club guys churned out did not have Fight Club emblazoned across the front. Because 1) you do not talk about Fight Club, and 2) YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.

Fake.
posted by phunniemee at 10:11 AM on December 14, 2011


I'm waiting for Ouroboros™ brand hula hoops.

I prefer Hudsucker brand.

You know...for kids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


" Introducing the only soap made with electrolytes, caffeine, and punching"

I don't see human fat that has been sucked out of fat asses in this list.
How disappointing.
posted by nickthetourist at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fascism has such a pleasant aroma!
posted by koeselitz at 10:15 AM on December 14, 2011


If you dig far enough down into the layers of irony, you will ultimately reach Grandma's Lye Soap.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see any beers there.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2011


I'm holding out for Repo Man brand genuine Food.
posted by tommasz at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Whatever, Dr. Manhattan said I'm a thermodynamic miracle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


All respectable smart-ass aesthetic choices until Tru Blood. Seriously, what do people see in that crap?
posted by Mooseli at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah but I'm made of stardust, so nyeah!
posted by symbioid at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "I'm waiting for Ouroboros™ brand hula hoops.

I prefer Hudsucker brand.

You know...for kids.
"

Where's UKnowForKids when you need him?
posted by symbioid at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2011


Related: AdBusters has their own brand of shoes
posted by finite at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2011


cool i am never safe from the spectacle even in the shower
posted by beefetish at 10:37 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


We here at Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems appreciate cross-branding synergistics more than anyone.
-Buckaroo Chiclitz.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Lemme just say that with Fight Club, American Beauty, Magnolia, etc., 1999 was a fucking awesome year to be 18/19 years old. The whole world was as pretentious as I was!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2011 [30 favorites]


All respectable smart-ass aesthetic choices until Tru Blood. Seriously, what do people see in that crap?

The drink, the books or the show? I haven't tried the drink, but the books are awesome fun, and the show isn't bad if you don't take yourself or it too seriously. I guess it boils down to "your thing sucks but mine don't!"
posted by usagizero at 10:42 AM on December 14, 2011


Oddly enough, I saw someone wearing a T-shirt that bore the OCP logo just a couple days ago. I guess these pretenders couldn't license the original logo from the Robocop people.
posted by adamrice at 10:45 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


i want Torgo's Executive Powder!
posted by sexyrobot at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Makes me want to make a movie revolving around a fictional "Omni Consumer Products Corporation".
posted by glhaynes at 10:50 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I liked that thing in that movie, but tragically, it wasn't some bullshit I could put on a shelf and look at every now and then."
posted by Legomancer at 10:51 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just change up the hexagram order to avoid infringement and market your own Dharma products.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:52 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


i won't be truly impressed until i can buy homer's "product in question" from his i-need-an-idea dream sequence.
posted by fetamelter at 10:53 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see any beers there.

Can anyone tell me why in Italy you see actual Duff beer for sale all over the place? I don't remember seeing it as much elsewhere in Europe.
posted by CheeseLouise at 11:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holiday Inn was originally a fictional creation of the 1940 Fred Astaire / Bing Crosby film of the same name. (Wikipedia states without citation that the real hotel derives its name from the film, though it's not similar in any other respect.) People magazine was a fictional publication in the 1966-71 TV series The Name of the Game. There must be many more.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2011


On a related note, Staples is starting to sell Dunder Mifflin paper.
posted by malocchio at 11:27 AM on December 14, 2011


koeselitz: Fascism has such a pleasant aroma!
This is not the first time I've seen the word "Fascism" or "Fascist" used to describe Fight Club and I honestly have no clue where that characterization comes from or what it's intended to communicate, and I'd be interested in anything that bothered to elucidate instead of just chanting the F-word.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:30 AM on December 14, 2011


A google search for 'fight club fascism' yields lots of interesting looking discussion, but I'll have to note that in the film it was anticorporate and antigovernment, and Fascism was overtly pro-both. Mussolini: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:34 AM on December 14, 2011


So does Chuck Palahniuk get a cut of this? Cuz that's kind of weird.
posted by fungible at 11:51 AM on December 14, 2011


They also sell a "Sex Panther" cologne that does not appear to contain any actual panther, nor the subtle notes of "dirty diaper filled with Indian food" that earned SP its fame.
posted by anthom at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do they sell gift cards for Dimpus Burger? I wouldn't mind driving all the way to Spurbury, VT in order to cash in those cards...though I hear there's meow a speed trap outside of town, so I'd better keep my driving under the speed limit.
posted by stannate at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2011


Products with this kind of honesty make me go a big rubbery one.
posted by 4ster at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2011


This is not the first time I've seen the word "Fascism" or "Fascist" used to describe Fight Club and I honestly have no clue where that characterization comes from or what it's intended to communicate, and I'd be interested in anything that bothered to elucidate instead of just chanting the F-word.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:30 AM on December 14 [+] [!]


Mr Durden's utopia may be libertarian, but Project Mayhem is very heavily influenced by and modeled after fascist organizations.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2011


However (Spoilers?) the book and movie kind of land on the "anti-" side of the whole Project Mayhem thing.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, I will pay $15 for your bar of soap.

No, I will not pay $10 for shipping on your $15 bar of soap.
posted by bpm140 at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2011


George_Spiggott: A google search for 'fight club fascism' yields lots of interesting looking discussion...
I've done this today and many other days, and what I usually find is flat assertions that Project Mayhem, as depicted in the film, was fascist. This assertion is made with no specifics, no historical parallels, no examples, no goals shared with acknowledged fascist orgainizations, and without even a hint about what precisely is meant by "fascism" in this context.

I agree with your point about "anticorporate and antigovernment." Project Mayhem was also not apparently nationalistic or authoritarian, in fact it was very much the opposite of both.
posted by Western Infidels at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2011


It's a violent paramilitary group that preaches regenerative violence as a crucial part of life, and mobilizes around that, using it to unite marginalized young men (stripping them of name and individuality) and harness their energies toward destructive attacks, where the agenda is the explicit overthrow of the standing order.

It's actually pretty damn textbook, and really contrasts with his dream of an open, libertarian society.

Fascist.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Western Infidels: “This is not the first time I've seen the word "Fascism" or "Fascist" used to describe Fight Club and I honestly have no clue where that characterization comes from or what it's intended to communicate, and I'd be interested in anything that bothered to elucidate instead of just chanting the F-word... I've done this today and many other days, and what I usually find is flat assertions that Project Mayhem, as depicted in the film, was fascist. This assertion is made with no specifics, no historical parallels, no examples, no goals shared with acknowledged fascist orgainizations, and without even a hint about what precisely is meant by "fascism" in this context.”

I've read the book (and several other Palahniuk books) and seen the movie several times. It's kind of irksome to me that you feel nobody's ever elucidated this; I've done it here myself. Stagger Lee just did it again, and very concisely. What exactly do you find unconvincing in his reading?
posted by koeselitz at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2011


If I wanted to shove this thread (which is kinda about "defictionalizing" marketing - a term I LOVED from the Omni homepage) totally off the rails, I could comment that Corporatism is the intersection of a Venn Diagram showing Fascism and Libertarianism. But I won't.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2011


Well, I don't want Fop, goddamn it! I'm a Dapper Dan man!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:44 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]




Stagger Lee: It's a violent paramilitary group that preaches regenerative violence as a crucial part of life...
In half the movies in the cinema today, "the good guys" take all this as a given, without any examination or discussion. What does that make those movies? If this is a valid argument that something is "fascist," what's the point of singling out any one film? That can't be all there is. You're more-or-less arguing that Star Wars is fascist.

There seems to be a condescending assumption by critics that Project Mayhem was somehow the signal lesson, the thing viewers will glorify and remember, that audiences aren't sophisticated enough to notice that it spiraled out of the narrator's control and horrified him.

Suppose I agreed that Project Mayhem was fascist; shall we call Downfall a fascist movie because it depicted fascists?
posted by Western Infidels at 12:54 PM on December 14, 2011


I would absolutely agree that the film was highly critical of fascism.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:58 PM on December 14, 2011


Let me backpedal. heh

The film was relatively critical. It did take a certain enthusiastic glee in it, as did the audience, myself included. But we're absolutely meant to be uncomfortable with it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2011


It basically treats fascism the same way Trainspotting treats heroin.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stagger Lee: “It's a violent paramilitary group that preaches regenerative violence as a crucial part of life...”

Western Infidels: “In half the movies in the cinema today, "the good guys" take all this as a given, without any examination or discussion. What does that make those movies? If this is a valid argument that something is "fascist," what's the point of singling out any one film? That can't be all there is. You're more-or-less arguing that Star Wars is fascist.”

First of all, no, the rebellion in Star Wars didn't go out of its way to glorify devotional violence as a way of life the way Project Mayhem did. Project Mayhem was devoted to several things; one of them was namelessness / facelessness of members, another was a complete disowning of compassion and dignity. Also, the slavish devotion to the word of a single man. These things were not in Star Wars.

Western Infidels: “There seems to be a condescending assumption by critics that Project Mayhem was somehow the signal lesson, the thing viewers will glorify and remember, that audiences aren't sophisticated enough to notice that it spiraled out of the narrator's control and horrified him. Suppose I agreed that Project Mayhem was fascist; shall we call Downfall a fascist movie because it depicted fascists?”

Are you seriously suggesting that Fight Club didn't glorify Project Mayhem? Seriously? This is the impact it had on society: people saw it and wanted to be in a Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk himself admits this in his forward to the last reprinting of the book. It's pretty obviously what happened, regardless of anyone's intentions.
posted by koeselitz at 1:15 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


fungible: So does Chuck Palahniuk get a cut of this? Cuz that's kind of weird.

It's likely. At one of his readings several years ago, around the time the Fight Club video game was due to be released, he more or less said that he's willing to license his books for pretty much anything. I think his quote was something along the lines of, 'it's a check in the mail.'
posted by nickthetourist at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2011


Are you seriously suggesting that Fight Club didn't glorify Project Mayhem?

It totally glorified fascism, but I don't think it's fair to say that it supports it. I think the end was supposed to be a rejection of it.

But I could be entirely misreading the author's intent.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:20 PM on December 14, 2011


I don't really care how philosophically unimpeachable this venture is; I like that someone is doing it. It's a lot cooler than ZikZak.
posted by heatvision at 1:26 PM on December 14, 2011


Stagger Lee: “It totally glorified fascism, but I don't think it's fair to say that it supports it. I think the end was supposed to be a rejection of it. But I could be entirely misreading the author's intent.”

The ending of the book was (relatively) clearly a rejection of fascism. The ending of the movie was (relatively) ambiguous. And regardless of the author's intention, the movie ended up glorifying fascism to the vast majority of the audience. As I said, Palahniuk himself admits this, and says he's been unsettled by the fact that he's had weird letters and calls from all kinds of people suggesting that they're "part of Project Mayhem" and happy to do his bidding no matter how lurid. Well, he doesn't say "unsettled;" he seemed more enthralled by the fact of being at the heart of all of it, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt because I don't think he quite intended to endorse fascism.

Regardless of his intention, the film directly encourages that kind of thinking in most people who watch it. If you don't believe me, ask a few fans of the film if they think Project Mayhem is a cool idea.
posted by koeselitz at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think the fascism charge is a very good criticism. It makes Fight Club into a casually violent action film where a fig leaf allows us feel justified in indulging in blood lust - the bad guy knocks down an innocent elderly person or a child down, so we can enjoy the satisfaction of the hero blowing him away without feeling guilty. This is the only way we can truly enjoy a violent spectacle, and I think this is much more fascist. You have some external enemy who has to be eliminated to restore peace - the Jew, the Mexican, the Communist and so on.

But who is the bad guy in Fight Club? The primary victim is the protagonist himself, he is violent towards himself via his alter ego. When the violence is directed externally, it is against capitalism. The final victory is not the violent defeat of some concrete individual enemy who takes on evil attributes, but over empty buildings of credit card companies, the physical structures of capitalist society.

I have no problem with many of this description of Project Mayhem: the marginalized harnessing their energies toward destructive attacks, where the agenda is the explicit overthrow of the standing order. Yes, absolutely - why not? Discipline, ruthlessness, facelessness? What's wrong with that? These are laudable qualities of a revolutionary movement.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a violent paramilitary group that preaches regenerative violence as a crucial part of life, and mobilizes around that, using it to unite marginalized young men (stripping them of name and individuality) and harness their energies toward destructive attacks, where the agenda is the explicit overthrow of the standing order.

It's actually pretty damn textbook, and really contrasts with his dream of an open, libertarian society.

Fascist.


No. Fascism isn't just a word that means "philosophy that espouses violent revolution." It's a set of political and social beliefs. It's been awhile since I've seen the movie or read the book, but I don't especially remember any advocating a state run economy, or the idea of national identity as paramount. Both of which are defining characteristics of Fascism.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:28 PM on December 14, 2011


The word "fascist" kind of fell into that Godwin trap, where apparently we're never allowed to use it, ever. The word does not mean, "of or relating to Hitler," contrary to popular belief.

In this case, the Oxford English Dictionary is a little bit more nuanced than your definition:

"The principles and organization of Fascists. Also, loosely, any form of right-wing authoritarianism."

If that's too vague, we can read the wiki entry about it:

Fascism promotes political violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality.[4][8] It views violence as a fact of life that is a necessary means to achieve human progress.[9] It exalts militarism as providing positive transformation in society and providing spiritual renovation, education, instilling of a will to dominate in people's character and creating national comradeship through military service.[10] Fascists commonly utilize paramilitary organizations for violent attacks on opponents or to overthrow a political system.[11]

Fascism opposes class-based identity and society, it is thus both anti-bourgeois and anti-proletarian; and individualist based identity and society.[12] It is opposed to many ideologies, including conservatism, liberalism, and two major forms of socialism: communism and social democracy.[13] It opposes a variety of economic, political and social systems, it is opposed to democracy, parliamentary systems, is anti-clerical, and holds a distinctive opposition to capitalism.[14] It rejects egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism in favour of action, discipline, hierarchy, spirit and will.[15]
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:34 PM on December 14, 2011


Gygesringtone: “Fascism isn't just a word that means "philosophy that espouses violent revolution." It's a set of political and social beliefs. It's been awhile since I've seen the movie or read the book, but I don't especially remember any advocating a state run economy, or the idea of national identity as paramount. Both of which are defining characteristics of Fascism.”

But they're not the only, or even the central, defining characteristics of Fascism. I have to say that I appreciate the impulse to ensure that people don't misuse the term; it has indeed been misused perennially, to the point where anyone who asks us to do something we don't want to do or disagrees with us in any way is labeled "fascist." However, that's not what I believe we're saying when we call Project Mayhem "fascistic."

Fascism is not merely a nationalist movement bent on having a state-run economy. If that were the extent of what fascism means, then the most notorious and egregious fascist act in history, the holocaust, becomes merely incidental; but it's fairly clear to me that that act was fascist to the core. So there must be something deeper that defines fascism.

First and foremost, fascism is the notion that group identity – generally, the group identity of a nation or society – is the defining relation which shapes and determines all political and moral rights and wrongs. In the case of the Nazis, this meant that who one is as a German overrides all else – there are no moral categories beyond this identity, and it defines moral right and political justice. In a fascist system, you are called upon to surrender your own identity in the service of the identity of the group. You are warned of impurities which seek to threaten the group identity, and taught that you must disregard your own personal feelings and attachments to wage war against these impurities and purge them completely. You are trained to set aside compassion to commit acts of violence in the service of this war against impurity. You are trained to follow without question the edicts of a grand leader who embodies the culmination of the group's identity.

This is what fascism has meant historically, and this is what people recognize in Project Mayhem. I don't think it's really a stretch, personally. Project Mayhem's seeds were in "Tyler's" recognition that he was surrounded by "impurities," that his whole generation had been spoonfed lies and taught to be soft and to deny itself. Project Mayhem took as its goal the annihilation of those impurities, regardless of the cost or sacrifice involved. The mechanism for that annihilation involved absolute devotion and slavish discipleship to the leader, Tyler Durden.
posted by koeselitz at 1:48 PM on December 14, 2011


Regardless of his intention, the film directly encourages that kind of thinking in most people who watch it.

I don't know. I'm not really a big fan of Fight Club, but I'm not sure you can blame the movie for the exegetical failures of its audience.* The movie unquestionably glorifies the violent actions of Tyler and his cronies in the first two acts, but you'd have to ignore the entire third act where it blows up in the protagonist's face to come away from it thinking that the movie has anything positive to say about Project Mayhem. You can say that any amount of that type of glorification is problematic, but that would preclude you from using a very powerful device in the roster of tools you have to amplify the audience's discomfort at realizing that the whole enterprise of Project Mayhem is deeply awful. I concede that the movie toes that line pretty aggressively, which I think is one of its failings; still, from my point of view, there's no significant ambiguity on the subject of Project Mayhem by the end of the movie.

* I'm anticipating a counterargument that questions by what means a minority interpretation of a work can claim validity, to which I can only say I hope you've never argued that a particular favorite work of yours is under-appreciated.
posted by invitapriore at 1:48 PM on December 14, 2011


Regardless of his intention, the film directly encourages that kind of thinking [fascism] in most people who watch it.

But isn't that kind of the point? That fascism is seductive? Why wouldn't it be exciting to watch? You could probably make a film of the early days of Hitler and it would be seductive.

That's kind of what I've always liked best about Fight Club - that despite the kind of preening, macho bullshit that Tyler Durden spits out, there's something about it that yes, I can agree with that. He's got a point.

It's what makes it so scary and powerful - that no matter how smart we think we are, cultish ideologies have got a lot of pull and we can be sucked into them very easily.
posted by fungible at 1:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stagger,

Yes, and also (from the same Wiki article):

Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.[3]

Just because something has some characteristics in common with Fascism, doesn't make it Fascist. In order be Fascist you have to be militaristic AND nationalistic, not just the first.

If you want to make an argument that Fight Club espoused extreme nationalism, I'm willing to listen, but without that core philosophical element, you have something other than Fascism. This isn't some obscure complaint about it not meeting the exact description laid out by Gentile in The Doctrine of Fascism. There are three central elements to Fascism:authoritarianism, nationalism, and a marriage of radicalism with political violence. Having one of those three things doesn't make a movement Fascist, any more than the using yeast to ferment sugars in making wine means it's a type of beer.

On Preview:

But they're not the only, or even the central, defining characteristics of Fascism.

Nationalism is absolutely a defining characteristic of Fascism, see the wiki quote above, or for that matter, The Doctrine of Fascism.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:56 PM on December 14, 2011


Forgot my quotes, this is the quote, everything else is my own. "Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.[3] "

Apologies.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:59 PM on December 14, 2011


fungible: “That's kind of what I've always liked best about Fight Club - that despite the kind of preening, macho bullshit that Tyler Durden spits out, there's something about it that yes, I can agree with that. He's got a point. It's what makes it so scary and powerful - that no matter how smart we think we are, cultish ideologies have got a lot of pull and we can be sucked into them very easily.”

It should be noted, though, that that's not the point of Fight Club. It never was. It's not a cautionary tale about the dangers of fascism. According to the book and the movie, there is no caution there at all; nothing bad happens at the end. It's 'scary,' but it's hard for me to see that scariness as anything but a sheen of romantic bloodiness.

Palahniuk didn't intend it to be a morality play, anyhow. He intended it to be what he usually writes – "transgressive fiction." In other words, it's like Dr Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" – not serious, just getting some feelings out there that he really wanted to get out there.

Gygesringtone: “Nationalism is absolutely a defining characteristic of Fascism, see the wiki quote above, or for that matter, The Doctrine of Fascism.”

Ah. Okay. So Nazism wasn't really fascism, since it referred not so much to the German nation as the German people.
posted by koeselitz at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2011


This is going somewhere really weird.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other words: do you really think fascism at its core has nothing to do with identity?
posted by koeselitz at 2:03 PM on December 14, 2011


I think Palahniuk was more going for "masturbating while watching society burn" rather than "fascism".
posted by Burhanistan at 2:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


which part of "nihilism" don't you people understand?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, that's the nature of art and even pulp art: it has connotations the author may not have even intended. I think it's in there and it's what makes it work.

Any ideology can be turned into something ugly if given enough power. Jim Jones was a racial integrationist who believed in social justice, and that didn't turn out so well, even if you can appreciate the ideas.

You can say Palahniuk was just shitting out his inner Howard Stern but he's too smart for that.
posted by fungible at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2011


koeselitz: It's kind of irksome to me that you feel nobody's ever elucidated this; I've done it here myself.
Yes, you're right, who am I to open my mouth without first reading the collected works of koeselitz, going back these many years and more?

Your points in that thread are not quite as you've characterized them here. They are mostly capably answered there, too. I do think your reasoning there heavily depends on your expectation that a work of fiction will hand you a tidy concluding lesson on a silver platter. I think that's a mistake.
These things were not in Star Wars.
They're also things that were not, as far as I can see, part of your argument until you ret-conned them in. In any case, yeah, the Jedi were very much about glorious, exciting, spectacular applications of might-makes-right style devotional violence, just like more familiar Knights. And the rebellion certainly was organized around slavish devotion to the word of one woman, a royal, no less, a figurehead at the top of a military, authoritarian hierarchy, served chiefly by scores of nameless cannon-fodder.

It's a waste of time to pick apart the one example, anyway. Pick any other movie with explosions and battle scenes. Violence is almost always taken for granted as necessary and justifiable part of life, a thrill to be enjoyed without considerations like compassion or dignity, a service performed in the pursuit of the overthrow of the established order, an activity performed mainly by unattached young people whose self-identification becomes bound up in the group and in the violence itself, etc.

The characteristics you've identified as fascist are easily found. Are all those movies fascist too?
...people saw it and wanted to be in a Fight Club ... regardless of the author's intention, the movie ended up glorifying fascism to the vast majority of the audience.
With all respect to both you and the author, neither of you have the tools that would be required to draw either of these conclusions. The author doesn't meet or hear from the average reader/viewer, after all, he meets and hears from the rabid ones. Your situation is probably similar. I don't deny that some people hold these views, but "the vast majority" is not something either of you can possibly know.
posted by Western Infidels at 2:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next up from this company: Soylent Green.
posted by fearnothing at 2:35 PM on December 14, 2011


Ah. Okay. So Nazism wasn't really fascism, since it referred not so much to the German nation as the German people.

I'm not sure there was all that much of a difference between the two in the rhetoric or in the philosophy.

I'm not just pulling the nationalism thing out of air. It's in pretty much every definition of Fascism I can recall. Either explicitly as in Wikipedia "Fascism (play /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology", to implicitly as in Webster's "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition".

At any rate, I'm disappointed in the lack of Slurm from Omni Consumer.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:36 PM on December 14, 2011


After reading Stagger Lee and koeselitz's definitions of fascism upthread I'm really starting to regret siding with Ulfric Stormcloak.
posted by Zozo at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2011


Western Infidels: “Yes, you're right, who am I to open my mouth without first reading the collected works of koeselitz, going back these many years and more?”

I wasn't so much saying you were required to read all my comments; I wouldn't wish that on anybody. I was more responding to your implication that we would be utterly vague and unable to answer your question here, and that my initial comment was an uninformed, unthought, knee-jerk bit of fluff. I guess that's a rational assumption to make, given the nature of the jokey comment. My apologies.

“The characteristics you've identified as fascist are easily found. Are all those movies fascist too?”

If all the characteristics I've described are there? Yes. You're acting like I'm being vague about this. I'm not.

“With all respect to both you and the author, neither of you have the tools that would be required to draw either of these conclusions. The author doesn't meet or hear from the average reader/viewer, after all, he meets and hears from the rabid ones. Your situation is probably similar. I don't deny that some people hold these views, but "the vast majority" is not something either of you can possibly know.”

You're right, it's not fair of me to say that's what everyone else thought of the movie. I can't know that.

My dislike of Fight Club is based more in a dislike of transgressive fiction in general. I think it stumbles into something that is at least like a fascist ethos; Palahniuk didn't intend that, I grant, but it happens.

Gygesringtone: “I'm not just pulling the nationalism thing out of air. It's in pretty much every definition of Fascism I can recall.”

I'm not asking you to quote definitions from various and sundry sources. I'm asking you what fascism means. And – well, look; I'll just try to break down the distinctions as I seem them: there are many movements in the history of the world that have been nationalist. What distinguishes those nationalist movements from true fascism is a preponderance upon the nationalist identity as the definitional moment in life, overriding all other moral or political considerations. In Project Mayhem, the nation is replaced by a group identity; but in all other aspects the ethos is precisely the same. So I ask you – is it really so incredibly inaccurate for people to see something like "fascism" in it?
posted by koeselitz at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2011


"Nation" refers to a people, not only a state. The terms are mostly synonymous now, but prior to the 20th century there were many warring states that were all part of a nation of people, which condensed into a single nation-state under Cavour(Italy) and Bismarck(Germany). You still see this terminology used in terms like "Nation of Islam" or "Red Sox Nation."
posted by modernserf at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2011


Next thing you know, you people will be telling me Starship Troopers was anti-fascist. :)
posted by fungible at 2:44 PM on December 14, 2011


Which part of "don't talk about Fight Club" don't you people understand?
posted by jetsetsc at 3:14 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


It totally glorified fascism, but I don't think it's fair to say that it supports it. I think the end was supposed to be a rejection of it.

This all reminds me very strongly of the recent mefi discussion of Inglorious Basterds, as both movies seem to fall into the same traps, regardless of authorial intent (and I agree that Tarantino has a lot more evidence of critical intent than Palahniuk). Both films revel in violence and basically attempt to fight fascism with fascism (this contains the arguable assumption that the social order Durden is rejecting is itself fascist), and attempt to end on a rejection of their own methods. It's arguable whether either succeeds, and judging by audience feedback the popular reaction seems to be "fuckin awesome!!" but isn't that our problem, and not the work's?
posted by mek at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2011


I can’t support criticism of a film that basically says "It’s dangerous because most people aren’t smart enough to figure out the real meaning, like me".

>Lemme just say that with Fight Club, American Beauty, Magnolia, etc., 1999 was a fucking awesome year to be 18/19 years old. The whole world was as pretentious as I was!<

I don’t know, I loved Fight Club and I was in my late 30’s, and still like now. Magnolia was "eh" and I tried on 4 different occasions to watch American Beauty (because people kept insisting it was great) and never got more than 45 minutes into it, and that took every ounce of effort I could muster. I’m not seeing the comparison.

Also, discipline and Fascism are not the same thing, contrary to popular belief.
posted by bongo_x at 5:37 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let me know when they sell this. I want to shine through.
posted by Neale at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2011


Shit, let me know when we start talking about fake-brands-made-real again rather than fascism.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 PM on December 14, 2011


EmpressCallipygos, I'd like to get off the derail soon as well. But I'm not going to quite yet.

It's not my place to try to define fascism, necessarily, but Fight Club definitely presents a situation of a violence-based cult attempting a societal takeover through the extreme devaluing of individuality and rigid adherence to principles brought down in instruction via a charismatic and mythical leader with no accountability. We can debate what to call that all day long and avoid the fact that what is on the page and screen is pretty damned clear, and is troublesome.

If, you know, it's taken as a valid prescription.

But it isn't. The plot takes us through the life of an office drone working in one of the most soul-deadening jobs imaginable (monetizing peoples lives, but even then he has no real agency, he simply applies the formula) until he has a psychotic break and slowly begins to fight against his consumerist past, until he becomes lucid enough to understand what he is doing, and how what he is replacing it with isn't necessarily any better.

The "fascism" is glorified, yes, because most of the film is a primal scream against consumer culture, and a resonant one. My anecdotal experience is that most people who were affected by the film's message didn't start or join fight clubs of their own, or attempt violent overthrows of anything. Rather, they realized what they were living for and the meaninglessness of the jobs they were holding down in order to buy more shit they didn't need. (My sister is an example of someone who changed her career after watching the movie.)

But it moves on from there, and Project Mayhem becomes a sinister thing that the Narrator has to put an end to. From Bob's death onwards I don't think we're supposed to feel anything really good about the movement.

To me it's like the musical Urinetown (spoilers.) Mr. Cladwell has "solved" the water shortage crisis by bribing legislators into adopting an act where one may only use public pay-toilets which fill his company's coffers. Those who cheat the system are sent off to "Urinetown," which in reality is just being killed by the cops ignonimously. Caldwell's daughter Hope is kidnapped by rebels trying to change the system, and her love-interest (the hero) Bobby Strong joins up with her in order to bring the system down. The duo and the rebels kill Caldwell and his associates, take over Urine Good Company, and institute policies allowing the people to relieve themselves for free. And Hope basks in the public's love until the lack of water kills them all off.

Basically, take a bad situation, try to solve it, everyone is happy that the old way is gone, but the old way did have advantages of its own. Urinetown presents a false dichotomy as part of its humor (and it's a great show which I encourage everyone to see) but Fight Club really doesn't. The IKEA-path wasn't right, but neither is Project Mayhem. But I'm not sure Palahniuk cared to give us a "right" answer to that situation, so much as to have dirty fun in the playground of wrong answers.

Anyway, back to the subject, is there anyway caffeinated soap would affect you? Also, does anyone know what this smells like?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.[3]"

Just because something has some characteristics in common with Fascism, doesn't make it Fascist. In order be Fascist you have to be militaristic AND nationalistic, not just the first.


In the western world, identity politics have replaced national politics as the engine for action based on self-perceived group membership. Fight Club's equivalent of the "nation" in the definition of Fascism is The American Male.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, I'd like to get off the derail soon as well. But I'm not going to quite yet.

If you want to stop, why aren't you?



It's not my place to try to define fascism, necessarily


Then why are you trying to?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 AM on December 15, 2011


Anyway, back to the subject, is there anyway caffeinated soap would affect you?

I know cosmetics companies have been putting caffeine into various topical concoctions under some belief that it will expand capillaries and flush the skin (eg. in lip gloss). No idea if there's any actual science there, but it's not like that's ever stopped them.
posted by mek at 4:42 AM on December 15, 2011


Which part of "don't talk about Fight Club" don't you people understand?

On the Internet, the first rule of Fight Club is that you never fucking shut up about Fight Club.
posted by Legomancer at 5:34 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: “Shit, let me know when we start talking about fake-brands-made-real again rather than fascism.”

What exactly is so painful about this for you?
posted by koeselitz at 7:15 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


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