The truth about Fight Club.
July 25, 2001 5:14 AM   Subscribe

The truth about Fight Club. Popular film actually an updating of popular comic strip? (Major spoilers for the movie, if you haven't seen it.)
posted by matt8313 (27 comments total)
Well, it was a book first, and the book did have a certain similarity to C&H. Possibly reading a bit much into it to get there, though, but what the hell.
posted by Ezrael at 5:26 AM on July 25, 2001

Psst, guys - the first rule of Calvin & Hobbes is "do not talk about Calvin & Hobbes."
posted by UncleFes at 7:05 AM on July 25, 2001

aha! I was wondering what those stickers on the windows of pick-up trucks and muscle cars symbolized... seems that the ape-drapes and roid-boys do have a secret club!
posted by mb01 at 8:23 AM on July 25, 2001

actually the main idea for the book, Chuck Palahniuk has explained, came from a Nine Inch Nails song about pain being the only thing that's real ("Hurt")
posted by matteo at 8:33 AM on July 25, 2001

my friends and i just say "pootie tang".
posted by tomato at 8:36 AM on July 25, 2001

Anyone have a link to an interview or anything where Palahniuk says as much? That's an interesting comment and I'd like to have some verification before I go around telling everyone.

Regardless, this is the best link I've seen from MeFi in ages. Loved it.
posted by drywall at 8:49 AM on July 25, 2001

hrmm Watterson may suggest that he is Norton and Calvin is Pitt (Jack). That makes Hobbes... ?arrrgh.
posted by spandex at 9:09 AM on July 25, 2001

Hmmm... well, in Fight Club, Mr. Durden says, "You are not a unique snowflake," and there's that strip in which Calvin brings a snowflake in for show and tell, and talks about how it becomes an ordinary drop of water when brought into the classroom. This means:

a)Palahniuk thinks we have been irrevocably stripped of our identities by the institutions we have associated ourselves with, extrapolating a more pessimistic viewpoint from Watterson's.
b)Palahniuk disagrees with Watterson, saying we never were unique.


c)Palahniuk based Fight Club on Calvin & Hobbes, but hasn't read every strip.

I also recommend Palahniuk's other books, Survivor ,Invisible Monsters, and his newest, Choke. I personally liked Survivor(no connection to the TV series) the best.
posted by MonkeyMeat at 9:19 AM on July 25, 2001

whatever-dude always has some hilarious (though very vulgar) commentary on pop-culture... if you liked this, you should really check out the fight club/urkel comparison they have.
posted by lotsofno at 9:46 AM on July 25, 2001

Wait, I have a fourth option:

d) Palahniuk is a worthless, chic-nihilism-pushing hack, and the movie is a disastrous, chaotic melange of confused ideas and empty rebellion, and comparing Fight Club to Calvin & Hobbes is an insult to Bill Watterson!

And if Palahniuk really based the book off a NIN song, then he deserves to be pummeled endlessly. Oh, how very tragic.

That being said, I did like the link. :)
posted by solistrato at 9:47 AM on July 25, 2001

AAAHHHAAAA!I knew it. There IS someone else out there who hated Fight Club.
posted by bradth27 at 10:57 AM on July 25, 2001

I think there are quite a few people who hated fight club. They're called 'women'.

posted by justgary at 12:52 PM on July 25, 2001

I don't think there's anything wrong with using a NIN song for inspiration. (It's not based on the NIN song, it was inspired by it, which is a different thing altogether.) If pain was the only thing that's real, what kind of world would it be, and what kind of story would you write about that?

Picking up other people's throwaway lines and using them as the foundation for your work is what artists do.
posted by kindall at 12:58 PM on July 25, 2001

solistrato- funny, everything you said about Palahniuk is true, and you've actually enumerated most of the things I enjoy about his work ;)

I think Fight Club, for all its faults as a novel/movie, makes an interesting commentary on the decline of masculinity in recent years, which I'll spare you here, but can be found summarized on the web.

It's not just about nihilism- actually, it's more like Zen. Palahniuk sort of focuses on self-destruction (at least for his first 3 books) as sort of a means to the end of figuring out what you are underneath it all, when you take away your job/scandinavian furniture/left cheek. Anyway, I'm not disagreeing with you per se, I just found his work to be food for a lot of thought and thought I'd share.

As far as his writing goes, I think he's got a very entertaining style, but I'd much rather see him do poetry- he's got great rhythm, a warped sense of humor, and a flair for the ironic that I think would work well in short bursts. I do, however, find his characters (with exceptions) to be somewhat weak, and as far as plot goes, he keeps writing the same story. If his next book has another surprise ending, or is liberally sprinkled with beauty tips/ cleaning tips/ medical advice/ anarchist recipes, I'm gonna scream.
posted by MonkeyMeat at 1:30 PM on July 25, 2001

Why, that's Calvin and Hobbesism!
posted by hincandenza at 1:39 PM on July 25, 2001

This 'woman' nearly replaced Pulp Fiction with Fight Club as her favorite modern movie of all time.
posted by brittney at 2:26 PM on July 25, 2001

by your abortion! that's it!
(this discussion is too serious, this article is very tongue in cheek, don't you think?)
posted by elle at 4:15 PM on July 25, 2001

and that the survivor movie doesn't get made by those who have expressed interest is best.
posted by elle at 4:21 PM on July 25, 2001

justgary, you are *so* special.
posted by amanda at 4:22 PM on July 25, 2001

>>Palahniuk is a worthless, chic-nihilism-pushing hack

I met him briefly in person - he's cool. Good writer too, imho.

>>and the movie is a disastrous, chaotic melange of confused ideas and empty rebellion

The movie kicks ass -- even better than the book I'd say. Best American movie I've seen in ages.

>>I think there are quite a few people who hated fight club. They're called 'women'.

Not true. Go to a Palahniuk signing and test your hypothesis.

BTW if you think the film is about "gender issues" or some shit, you're not understanding it. It's about so much more -- the nature of happiness, rationality, democracy...
posted by johnb at 5:34 PM on July 25, 2001

Johnb~ my "women" comment was taken out of context. I was joking, which obviously the ;) failed to show.

However, if you're reading as much as I think you are into the movie then I have to disagree. When it comes to making a philosophical stance, the movie is both weak and cliched. It's a simple movie, not some deep exploration that requires 'understanding'.

That said, I thought fight club was amazingly entertaining, for both men and women.
posted by justgary at 5:47 PM on July 25, 2001

>>When it comes to making a philosophical stance, the movie is both weak and cliched.

I have a degree in philosophy - I know depth when I see it ;) (ahem, just a joke)

But seriously, name a stronger, more intelligent movie -- one that presents the same issues in a more compelling way. Name one and I'll go rent it. 99% of the movies I see are crap.
posted by johnb at 6:07 PM on July 25, 2001

You're debating with the wrong person John.

I loved fight club. I will soon own fight club. Not, though, because of any deep message it gave me. Yes, I agree, most movies are crap and say nothing. Fight club had a message behind it. But lines like, "the stuff you own ends up owning you" is cliched pop psychology. I agree with it, but I also knew it already.

Fight Club wasn't enlightening to me, it was just a blast to watch.
posted by justgary at 10:40 PM on July 25, 2001

OK fair enough - I didn't mean to compare Palahniuk to Leibniz or whatever. But I loved the movie despite the naive manifesto-ish aspects.
posted by johnb at 1:03 AM on July 26, 2001

Of course, I have no degree in philosophy, so you could be seeing something I don't :)
posted by justgary at 1:43 AM on July 26, 2001

hmm... though it doesn't even remotely have the same philosophy, has anyone seen perfect blue?
posted by lotsofno at 5:25 AM on July 26, 2001

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