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Why review comics? or, the Fight Club syndrome

Boy, I sure hope this is coherent.

I was watching Fight Club the other night, because Fight Club is freakin’ awesome.  My wife didn’t want to put one of the kids to bed because she was watching Fight Club, because she also believes that it’s freakin’ awesome.  I said to her that not only is it a great movie, it’s one of those movies that I can’t even conceive of someone not liking.  She agreed.  This is why we have a perfect marriage.

Then I was reading some reviews over at The Savage Critic(s).  I enjoy reading the reviews at The Savage Critic(s), because they’re always pretty interesting, even Abhay’s (which often become incoherent).  But it’s rare that I find something that I want to buy simply because they tell me to buy it.  I always read Chris Sims’ The Week in Ink, because it’s the face-kickingest review on the comics blogaxy!  But again, I don’t think Sims influences me in any real way.  I like his reviews because he’s very funny.  Jog, of course, is probably the gold standard when it comes to reviews on-line.  I often zip over to Spot’s World or Comics Fairplay (Heidi buys way too many comics that she doesn’t like, but her posts are oddly compelling) or any number of other comic book blogs that focus on reviews.  It’s not that I’m really expecting anything earth-shattering, but I do wonder if there are people who like what I like or, if they like something I don’t (or vice versa), why we’re at odds.  But it’s rare to find something I don’t know about or haven’t at least thought about reading.

So why do I review comics, especially those I buy on weekly basis?  I’m not terribly good at it, for any number of reasons.  I probably write them up too quickly and so I miss things that I would usually catch on a second or third reading.  I don’t know enough about art to really give it a fair review (some people would say I don’t know enough about writing to give that a fair review, but I don’t think that’s true), and occasionally I simply provide a plot summary.  Most of this has to do with the time in which I do them, because I like to get them up soon after they’re released.  The longer reviews I do, for bigger works and for Comics You Should Own, I think work better, because I take the time to go over them several times to make sure I’m not missing anything (and I still make mistakes, but oh well).  The weekly reviews are a bit of a different animal, though.

What I try to do with the weekly reviews is simply tell people who read this blog what’s out there, give a basic summary (if it’s something that is new or somewhat obscure) and give my basic impressions of the issue.  The reason I do that is to let people know if there’s something out there that they might enjoy but haven’t heard of yet.  It’s surprising to me, when I talk to some people at my comics shoppe, how few of them even dare try something outside of Big Two Superhero Books.  Not only haven’t they heard of something as relatively mainstream as, say, Dynamo 5, but they won’t even try it after the concept is explained to them.  It’s a frickin’ superhero comic, for crying out loud!  I realize that reviews don’t really sway many people, but I also know that people have left comments here that they were encouraged to try something just because I let them know it existed.  I’m not singling myself out, either – everyone who posts here has had that kind of effect on at least one person.  Heck, I bought Kampung Boy and Alias the Cat because MarkAndrew gushed about them (I think he did – his writing is Burroughs-like, so I’m often too bedazzled by what he writes to fully comprehend it).  That’s why reviews are helpful – not to get you to buy something you’re not inclined to buy (although some reviewers probably believe that), but to let you know that there are things out there that might align with your tastes.  If you like Fantastic Four, you might like Noble Causes but not know it exists.  If you saw Frazer Irving‘s art on Silent War and wanted to see more of it, you might like to check out Gutsville or The Simping Detective.  If you never thought philosophy could be interesting or fun, you definitely should read Action Philosophers!  Some people have read it and not liked it, and that’s fine – at least they checked it out.  There are people out there who never heard of the comic, and that’s a shame.  That’s really all I’m doing with reviews: giving you a general idea what it’s about and whether it’s written decently and drawn competently, and let you decide.  That’s all I can do, really.

Which brings me, sort of, back to Fight Club.  I first saw David Fincher‘s masterpiece in Portland in 1999 at one of the excellent brew pubs/movie theaters that sprinkle the landscape in the Rose City (or at least did back then – I haven’t lived there since 2001).  So we drank some beer, ate some pizza, and marveled at the movie.  It’s one of those movies that I can watch over and over – we bought the DVD and watched the commentary more than once, for crying out loud.  It’s so much better than the book, too, which is kind of astonishing (and the book is decent, just not in the same league as the movie).  I admit, I’m a fan of Fincher – I actually like Alien³, and Seven is another one of those movies I could watch over and over – so I’m not surprised I love Fight Club so much.  I’m stunned whenever I watch the movie.  The three leads give unbelievable performances (I’d say they’ve never been better, but they’re all very good actors who have done a lot of good work), the direction is staggering, the script is brilliant (and Bonham Carter‘s ad-libbed line, “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school,” might be the greatest line in movie history), even the clothes are great (I would kill for Brad Pitt‘s wardrobe in the movie, although I’m not cool enough to pull most of it off).  The twist is surprising but not out of left field, and it follows through to its logical conclusion (with regard to Project Mayhem’s plot, not Edward Norton shooting himself – I’m still not clear how that worked).  In fact, I can’t even comprehend how people can’t love Fight Club as much as I do.  What’s wrong with those people?  (I feel this way about a few movies, including The Fisher King – damn, what a great movie – and The Usual Suspects, but Fight Club happened to be on when I started this post, so it became the comparison movie.)

However, I recognize that, as misguided as they are, there are people who don’t like Fight Club.  I may pity them because they don’t recognize true greatness, but I have to admit they exist.  I also recognize that good reviews of the movie will probably not change their minds.  The only way I can imagine people not liking Fight Club is because they haven’t seen it yet.  Maybe they don’t know of it, and must be told about it!  It’s the same way with comics.  There are plenty of comics that I like but realize why others might not.  Some people just aren’t into superheroes, so no matter how good a superhero comic is, they just aren’t interested.  Others don’t like certain genre types, like science fiction, so they just won’t like that.  I get it.  Most serial comics can be hit-or-miss, even the ones I like a lot.  Every writer or artist might simply have a bad issue or be bound by the terms of the bigger company crossover or just general editorial constraint.  So I’m usually not to baffled if someone dislikes a monthly comic I like.  When some people don’t like certain graphic novels, however, I’m stymied.  Three books this year are so good I can’t believe people would read them and not enjoy them: Alice in Sunderland (review here), Exit Wounds (review here, way at the bottom of the post), and Super Spy (review here).  I know those are the trendy picks of a lot of people for best graphic novels of the year, and there’s a reason: they’re excellent.  I get that Alice in Sunderland is a bit didactic, which might put people off, but the art is so spectacular that it makes up for it, and Talbot’s “story,” while more of a lecture, is so interesting and conspiratorial (in that everything ties back into the north-east of England somehow) that we can forgive the lack of a traditional narrative plot.  It is 30 dollars, which is steep, but you can probably find it cheaper on-line.  Exit Wounds and Super Spy are also brilliant, in their own ways, and are much cheaper than Talbot’s epic.  As with Fight Club, the only reason I can think of that people wouldn’t love these comics is that they haven’t read them.  And if they haven’t read them, it’s possible they haven’t heard of them.  All we’re doing here at the blog is bringing stuff to your attention.  It’s terribly fun to open up a discussion of “One More Day,” but it doesn’t give you any reason to seek out new comics.  I do like reviewing stuff that everyone reads, because then the opinions come fast and furious and more people chime in.  It’s fun, because the more people who read something, the more opinions they have.  However, the most gratifying comments are when someone writes that they had never heard of something and they want to check it out now.  We here at the blog have all gotten those comments, and I hope I’m speaking for everyone when I say those are really cool.  Similarly, I have heard of some comics from commenters here or reviewers at other sites that I have sought.  And everyone is happier for it!

I guess I don’t have much more of a point.  Yes, I’m aware that I take a long time to state a simple truth.  But that’s what I do, right?  It’s very cool to have conversations (such as they are) about various comics here, because out here in the Basin, you don’t often run into people who look too far beyond whatever the Avengers are up to this week (there are a few, true, but it’s always nice to get a wider range of opinions).  So I’ll keep reviewing almost everything I read, because I think it’s good to get the word out about all kinds of comics.  Grass-roots movements will eventually end superheroes’ stranglehold on the industry!  (Okay, maybe not, but it’s nice to dream.)  And I hope 2008 is another good year in comics.  There’s no need to be grumpy, because there’s too much good stuff out there!

55 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm

At last!!!
Someone who thinks Se7en is a classic!!!
Way to go!

Tell me, did you like Zodiac?

there are people who don’t think Seven is a classic?

Alas, Tom, the children and a dearth of babysitters means that we don’t go see movies very much anymore, so I missed Zodiac, even though I was dying to see it. I’m looking forward to it showing up on HBO or some other cable channel in the near future (it should be about time, unless I missed it). I heard a lot of good things about it.

Great post. I have discovered a wide range of things I really enjoy by reading CSBG, the ISB, and Dave’s Longbox.

I love Fight Club, but I’m not such a big fan of Se7en. Everything about it is incredibly well executed – great acting, great directing, etc. But, when all is said and done, what’s the point? (Love it or hate it, that’s not a criticism that can at leveled Fight Club, IMO.) I love dark stories that have underlying themes that make you think, but Se7en didn’t really seem to be intended as anything but entertainment. (Maybe the theme was that Kevin Spacey is evil? I don’t know.)

I’ll just continue swimming against the current here and say that Exit Wounds was a huge disappointment – about five or ten pages from the end it felt like the writer gave up. The whole wrap-up to the story was really weak, and left me baffled, considering how good it was up to that point.

I’m curious if you’ve read Cairo (I can’t remember if you reviewed it or not) but that might be my pick for graphic novel of the year.

My library system just got Alice in Sunderland and I was first to get it out after waiting and waiting since your review and others which corroborated it. I’m completely agreed on all your points on Alice. It’s amazing how much it demands your near total absorption despite how relatively didactic it can be at times.

Exit Wounds I liked but not nearly as much as others seem to like it. I can’t explain why.

I never talk comics with anyone except for the little I do on this here blog.

I was watching Fight Club the other night, because Fight Club is freakin’ awesome. My wife didn’t want to put one of the kids to bed because she was watching Fight Club, because she also believes that it’s freakin’ awesome. I said to her that not only is it a great movie, it’s one of those movies that I can’t even conceive of someone not liking. She agreed. This is why we have a perfect marriage.

Ahhh, this is why, despite us having nothing in common on the surface, I ultimately like and respect you Burgas. I truly judge people on how much they like Fight Club. In fact, I usually find that whenever I find someone to be insufferable or dickish and I;m not exactly sure why we can’t get along, I probe further and find out that they hate Fight Club. Then that explains everything. People who don’t like Fight Club are like the lowest of the low.

I totally agree with you that Fight Club is extraordinary. If you can believe at the first time I wasn’t really watching the screen (rather cleaning and reviewing my stuff) because I didn’t even know anything about it. But after awhile the more I listened to what E. Norton was saying the longer I stared at my TV to see what was going on. Of course after that I went outside and let some three bastards beat me up a little to check how it feels. :-)

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm

I can tell you Zodiac wasn’t bad, considering it was based on a true story, but far too long for my taste. Fincher was trying to be as faithful to the story as possible.

Comparing it to Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, The Game, Alien3, well, let’s say that Zodiac is far less entertaining and very little action.

If you’re a history or true-life story buff, then it’s right up your alley!

BTW, Mr. Burgas, Zodiac’s available on DVD, if you’re allowed to rent them. ;-)

T.: You know I think you’re cool, even though you’re kooky! That’s a great way to judge people: “Do you like Fight Club?”

Ah, Tyson, I will struggle to understand you! I did like Cairo very much, and would probably put it up there with those other three. I reviewed it here, but it kind of got lost in The Goon and Black Dossier reviews.

Tom: that’s good to know. I hadn’t seen a commercial for it coming out on DVD. Now I’ll definitely have to check it out!

Briefly on the topic of “do reviews make people buy books?”

In my case, yes. But not yours. To clarify, yours are fine, but no single review will make me buy a book. I have a set of regular reviewers who I follow and whose tastes generally overlap with mine, if 2 or 3 or more of you agree, I know I’m onto something.

Without reviewers like you, my dollars would be blindly spent based on marketing dollars, knowledge of a product, or the opportunity to hold and read a bit of the book in question. And I live in the boonies of northern Canada, so no comic shop within spitting distance (2.5 hours west, 4.5 hours east).

So, please, continue with the knowledge that you can and do make a difference to my spending dollars.

Oh, and i couldn’t stand seven – seemed like it pandered too often . Went for the easy cinematic trick over something interesting and clever. But it was a while ago… But Fight Club and Usual Suspects: genius.

Keep it up; thanks,

That came across a bit harsh, when I was going for clever (I never learn). I was trying to say that no SINGLE reviewer matters particularly much, so “you don’t matter”. But to be clear, YOU do matter – I follow what you say and consider it.

Just want to make sure that you don’t think that I don’t like and appreciate the work. I do. I just cannot (apparently) write particularly clearly after a few drinks…

cheers,

A thread like this just forces the contrairian in me to mention that I don’t especially like Fight Club that much. I don’t especially hate it, but I found it even harder not to laugh at than the ridiculously over-the-top Sesevenen.

Also, if you sincerely judge people based on their taste in movies… man, it sucks to be you. Some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met don’t even watch movies. Oh well, enjoy agreeing with each other, I guess.

The twist is surprising but not out of left field, and it follows through to its logical conclusion (with regard to Project Mayhem’s plot, not Edward Norton shooting himself – I’m still not clear how that worked).

(Should i say SPOILER WARNING here?)

I’ve thought about that part a lot too, one explanation might be that by shooting himself he finally embraces the fatalistic side of his personality Tyler Durden sprung from. He susrvives the shooting by missing his brain, Tyler does not because he is now merged back into the overall personality. In the shot when he sees the towers drop he knows he can’t stop it, but I also think he doesn’t care about that anymore, he’s just enjoying the fireworks and therefore doesn’t ‘need’ Tyler anymore.

By the way, Lynxara, I think you’re taking ‘judging people by taste in moviers’ a bit too literally. I took it as slightly tongue in cheek, at least.

@Tyson: I’ve read Cairo and thought it was entertaining but seriously, best OGN of the year? Sentences, which came out around the same time at Vertigo is much better in plotting and character development imo and has some astonishing artwork. I liked Cairo but the story felt very rushed to me, the kid is thinking about blowing himself up but wanders around with a magical sword for a couple of days and suddenly he’s a peace-loving guru? The transition was a bit forced, same thing with the journalist and the student. The place where the character development did feel natural was with the smuggler and the Israeli soldier, I think the book excelled in those parts.

Anyone read the first volume of ‘Tales From The Farm’ by Jeff Lemure? I’d never heard of him but that was one of the most pleasant surprises in comics for me this year. Very impressive OGN from Top Shelf about a farmer and his nephew who comes to live with him after his sister (the nephew’s mother) dies.

Also, if you sincerely judge people based on their taste in movies… man, it sucks to be you. Some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met don’t even watch movies. Oh well, enjoy agreeing with each other, I guess.

I don’t judge people by their taste in movies that much, just by their opinion on Fight Club in particular, which is more than just a movie. We can disagree on movies till the cows come home and that’s fine, but when someone says they hated Fight Club or it had no redeeming qualities, I steer clear of them.

As for the people who are interesting but don’t watch movies, I would not judge them because they’d have no opinion on Fight Club, having never seen it. But if I showed the movie to them and they hated it, our association would be over.

I saw Fight Club with a friend of mine, and we ended up talking about it for hours. There are only 3 or 4 other movies that can prompt that level of conversation.

Unfortunately, that means I broke the first rule and talked about Fight Club. They’re coming for me.

Greg: I bought Elk’s Run and Rex Mundi (is trade paperback #3 ever coming out?) based on your recommendations, and Stagger Lee because of a write-up it received on this blog. All 3 are excellent.

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 2, 2008 at 6:48 am

To Mike Loughlin:

For your info, Dark Horse just released Rex Mundi Vol. 4 last month (or year), and all 3 vols. should be available from your comiic shop’s distributor.

Go forth, and enjoy reading!

T.

Tom beat me to it, Mike, but yeah, the third and fourth volumes are out.

Mr. Witt: I knew what you meant, sir, and that’s a good way to do it. I rarely base buying something on ONE review, unless it’s someone I know shares my tastes almost exactly. That’s why I’m glad there are a ton of review sites around – I might not get to them all, but usually I can get a well-rounded opinion about certain books. But I’m glad that I can help!

J: I have read Tales From the Farm, but haven’t reviewed it yet. I’m waiting for the trilogy to be released. Ghost Stories is the second book, and it’s also very good (slightly better than Tales From the Farm, if you ask me).

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 2, 2008 at 7:41 am

Apologies, I didn’t mean to beat you to anything, after all it’s your column. ;-)

[…] I couldn’t agree more… Posted on January 2, 2008 by boxwatcher So I sit down to surf the net and I come across a link on Wednesdays haul for the comics blog Why Comics Should be Good.  I’ve never read it before but the title of the article is “Why review comics? or The Fight Club Syndrome“.  I’m reading it and the writer, Greg Burgas, spends some time slurping the movie Fight Club.  I’m okay with it since I love that movie as much as the next guy.  But then he starts to getting to talking about his reviews and why he does it and he says this:  That’s why reviews are helpful – not to get you to buy something you’re not inclined to buy (although some reviewers probably believe that), but to let you know that there are things out there that might align with your tastes.  If you like Fantastic Four, you might like Noble Causes but not know it exists.  If you saw Frazer Irving’s art on Silent War and wanted to see more of it, you might like to check out Gutsville or The Simping Detective.  If you never thought philosophy could be interesting or fun, you definitely should read Action Philosophers!  Some people have read it and not liked it, and that’s fine – at least they checked it out.  There are people out there who never heard of the comic, and that’s a shame.  That’s really all I’m doing with reviews: giving you a general idea what it’s about and whether it’s written decently and drawn competently, and let you decide.  That’s all I can do, really.   […]

I really enjoyed Fight Cluhb, but no force on earth will convince my wife to even try it.

As for Alice in Sunderland – I’m torn. On one had everyone says it’s fantastic. On the other hand it looks just like the sort of thing I really hate. I don’t really like Talbot’s art, and out of the works of his I’ve read (His LoTDK two parter, Luther Arkwright, Legacy of Luther Arkwright and A Tale of One Bad Rat), the only one I liked at all was The Legacy of Luther Arkwright which I thought was merely not bad. Also it looks like a hell of a lot of work for something that I won’t really like (as opposed to Hush which I didn’t expect to like much, but breezed by inconsequentially enough that I didn’t mind not liking it much)

Maybe one day if I see it going for under a fiver I’ll pick it up so it can sit in my to-read pile for a few years.

Actually, Fight Club did very poorlt at the box office, so, in theory, there are millions of people that dislike it. I have no idea what’s going on inside their minds.

Those millions who didn’t see it can’t be counted as people who disliked it.

I would love to sit down with all of you and explain precisely why ‘Fight Club’ is not a particularly good movie, but, since I know that you won’t listen, I’d prefer to laugh at the idea that it is being discussed in this article as if it is remotely obscure.

I like how most of the comments here have been about Fight Club. I think it’s a terrific film. I didn’t like The Usual Suspects.

Anyway, I agree with you about reviews– and may I add that I find your reviews particularly helpful in this day and age, especially since I rarely get out to a comic shop on anything resembling a normal schedule. And yes, sometimes I feel like we’re all kinda preaching to the choir– because there’s a lot of people out there who buy comics and don’t ever venture into the comics interweb. Alas.

Tom – Thanks! I’ll have to order vols. 3 & 4.

Tyler had taken control of the narrator’s life. The narrator was living a life without meaning and his subconscious used Tyler (his id) as a means to create meaning and purpose in his life (which turned out to be a violent rejection of the possessions that were substituting for meaning in his life). The narrator shooting himself is an existential act proving that he has control over his own actions (even if that act had caused his death, it would have been the final proof that he was in control). In doing this, the narrator has confronted and assumed full responsibility for his actions (those that he did as Tyler) and the repercussions of those actions. Once the narrator knows and accepts the actions as his own, it is immediately clear that Tyler does not exist.

I would love to sit down with all of you and explain precisely why ‘Fight Club’ is not a particularly good movie, but, since I know that you won’t listen, I’d prefer to laugh at the idea that it is being discussed in this article as if it is remotely obscure.

I’m laughing at the idea that you somehow think someone here actually said it was remotely obscure.

In regards to whether a review does or does not make me buy a comic, a bad review will keep me away (if it’s not in my pull box), but a good review won’t mean I’ll pick it up. It’s a combination of remembering to look for something as well as limited income. Maybe the new Uncanny X-Men was meh, it’ll still be purchased because I needs to know what happens. For me. At the same time, I know Scott Pilgrim is awesome because everyone tells me so. I do not yet own it. Tear.

In regards to Fight Club, I thought it was amazing when I saw it at 17. Rewatching it at 24, it was pretty much all flash. Snazzy camera angles cannot fix the fact that what it is about isn’t what it is about. I applaud Chuck Palahniuk for succeeding in making the gayest big hollywood movie five years before Brokeback Mountain(great movie!). Fight Club seems at odds with it’s point. Do we agree with Tyler Durden’s half baked “How do you know yourself till you’ve been in a fight” philosophy? It all sounds a little “Sophomore year roommate” to me. Because the ending(spoiler) with the toppling buildings strikes me sadly naive. A more interesting movie would have dealt with the fall out of such a huge disaster. What did Ebert say about Fight Club? Oh yes:

“It’s macho porn — the sex movie Hollywood has been moving toward for years, in which eroticism between the sexes is replaced by all-guy locker-room fights.

“Is Tyler Durden in fact a leader of men with a useful philosophy? “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything,” he says, sounding like a man who tripped over the Nietzsche display on his way to the coffee bar in Borders. In my opinion, he has no useful truths. He’s a bully–Werner Erhard plus S & M, a leather club operator without the decor. None of the Fight Club members grows stronger or freer because of their membership; they’re reduced to pathetic cultists. Issue them black shirts and sign them up as skinheads. Whether Durden represents hidden aspects of the male psyche is a question the movie uses as a loophole–but is not able to escape through, because “Fight Club” is not about its ending but about its action.”

Ebert goes on to ask whether the film disagrees with Tyler Durden. Clearly on paper Durden is the villain, but on film, played by Brad Pitt, he’s much more appealing. I guess that’s a good performance if you can make people agree with an ideological stance that they’d completely shun if presented with in their real lives.

That said, it isn’t the worst thing ever. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton have since moved on to better films, and Fincher’s Zodiac stands as a career defining triumph. But frankly, Fight Club is vastly overrated.

Fight Club in particular, which is more than just a movie.

You’re right. It’s a book, too.

But other than that? No, it’s not anything more.

This thread is a good example of the reason why rules 1 and 2 exist.

Fight Club in particular, which is more than just a movie.

You’re right. It’s a book, too.

But other than that? No, it’s not anything more.

I feel the same way about comics.

When FIGHT CLUB first came out in theaters, I was there on opening night with two good friends, my girl, and one of her friends. Halfway through the movie both of my good friends walked out, my girl was bored out of her mind, and her friend was asleep.

Me? I was on the edge of my seat, enjoying every damn detail of that movie. Needless to say, that girl and I didn’t last together much longer, lol.

I feel the same way about comics.

Oh snap, it’s an “apathy-off!”

I feel the same way about comics.

All comics? I would have to disagree. Art can be more than entertainment, Fight Club just isn’t. Its “philosophy” is short-sighted and nonsensical.

lol, I hope it was obvious I was amping up my snark there. I hate it when people tell me something I loved was crap. I’ve grown up, but The Crow and The Matrix and Edward Scissorhands still have a lot of emotional resonance. Ditto Se7en (although that version of the title deserves some derision) and Fight Club. I didn’t change my life philosophy after watching them, but they were “heavy” (See Back to the Future for context) in my world view. I don’t know what kind of joyless asshat you have to be to dump on something that was significant to someone else, but after spelunking through comic book forums the last year or two, I’m starting to get the picture…

Kudos to Greg for a great post.

And Brian, thanks for fixing my code again. Can you point me at the secret web page where the correct syntax for that kind of stuff is? I’m just smart enough to believe there is such a place, but too inept to find it.

I don’t know what kind of joyless asshat you have to be to dump on something that was significant to someone else

The problem here is not people who dislike things that other people like. It’s people who get offended because someone else doesn’t like what they do. Art criticism shouldn’t be taken personally by anyone, though the artist has the only real excuse for it. After all, they’re the only person the art represents.

If it hurts your feelings that I don’t like Fight Club, the problem isn’t on my part.

I’m of two minds there, Dan.

I totally think it is wholly unreasonable for people to get personally insulted when someone rips something they enjoy.

That said, if you know that knocking something in a certain manner WILL offend people, and you can knock the book with all the same points, but in a manner that will NOT offend people, I do not know if it is not worth putting the extra effort in and framing your knock in a manner that will not offend.

It’s what I try to do, at least.

Your retort smacked of trolling. Trolls are asshats in my book. If that qualification offends you, the problem isn’t on my part.

I think there’s a happy medium between, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Fight Club is nothing more than a book and movie” and “ZOMG FIGHT CLUB IS EVERYTHING I’M GOING TO GO ASK SOMEONE TO PUNCH ME NOW, W00T”. If you want to further argue this, see my previous comment about trolling asshats.

And someone warn me if I’m overusing the word asshat here. I know this is supposed to be semi-family friendly, but I just don’t feel words on the level of “jerk” convey my point well enough.

I would recommend that everyone who commented on Fight Club the movie read the original Palahniuck book. If you think you love the movie and haven’t read the novel it’s based on, then you’re missing the real twist ending, which is much more complicated than the way depicted in the film.

I would also remind everyone that Fight Club is about fatherless manboys who, with no war of their own to fight, end up beating themselves up. It’s more than just a movie or a book, it’s a cultural time capsule.

Thanks for mentioning my blog. It’s nice to know that I do actually have some readers, and that some of those few are high-profile like you. I haven’t posted lately because I’ve been playing too much Playstation, but look for some new reviews from me by the end of the week.
Jonathan

The twist is surprising but not out of left field, and it follows through to its logical conclusion (with regard to Project Mayhem’s plot, not Edward Norton shooting himself – I’m still not clear how that worked).

Tyler had taken control of the narrator’s life. The narrator was living a life without meaning and his subconscious used Tyler (his id) as a means to create meaning and purpose in his life (which turned out to be a violent rejection of the possessions that were substituting for meaning in his life). The narrator shooting himself is an existential act proving that he has control over his own actions (even if that act had caused his death, it would have been the final proof that he was in control). In doing this, the narrator has confronted and assumed full responsibility for his actions (those that he did as Tyler) and the repercussions of those actions. Once the narrator knows and accepts the actions as his own, it is immediately clear that Tyler does not exist.

When it comes to Fight Club as presented in the movie, it seems worth emphasizing that the first half of Edward Norton’s journey takes place in the first 15 minutes: He can’t sleep. He starts going to the 12-step survivor classes. He pretends to be a loser like all of the other survivors and cries with them. He sleeps better than a baby. Every night he dies and is reborn.

Reluctantly he is thrust back into the real world. Helena B. Carter shows up, and by getting in on Norton’s action, someone else now knows what a faker he is. The experience is ruined for him. He can no longer sleep.

The cycle or death and rebirth is interrupted. When the other characters are confronted with their own mortality, with gun or with car, they know then what they want to do. Everyone knows except Edward Norton. This is the vacuum in Norton from which Brad Pitt emerges.

So, the next 2¼ hours of the movie is Norton’s complex machinations to save the World as he himself was saved in his nightly resurrection. Brad Pitt is Destruction. Killing Brad Pitt is Resurrection. That’s the point of Edward Norton shooting himself.

The Fight Club itself is merely Brad Pitt replicating the Cult of Consumerism, which he makes his means to save the world.

Hahahaha, I just *knew* Apocada would not be a fan of Fight Club. That just validates it more in my view. ;)

>I don’t judge people by their taste in movies that >much, just by their opinion on Fight Club in >particular, which is more than just a movie.

It’s okay, I suppose…but it’s no ‘Condorman’, or ‘Hawk the Slayer’, that’s for sure!

Bilbo Bagshot: I once punched a guy out for saying that “Hawk the Slayer” was rubbish.

Tim Bisley: Good for you.

Bilbo Bagshot: Yeah, thanks. But that’s not the point, Tim. The point is I was defending the fantasy genre with terminal intensity, when what I should have said was “Dad, you’re right, but let’s give Krull a try and we’ll discuss it later.”

“Krull” is pretty awesome also, it must be said.

Adam said: I would recommend that everyone who commented on Fight Club the movie read the original Palahniuck book. If you think you love the movie and haven’t read the novel it’s based on, then you’re missing the real twist ending, which is much more complicated than the way depicted in the film.

Quoted for truth, as I always tell people the exact same thing. I love the Fight Club movie adnd thought they did a great job, but the ending in the book is far more interesting.

To keep the good will rolling may I just say that, until reading the post here, I had never heard of the Action Philosophers!

A quick minute, and a peak at the free teaser previews, later and I’m now another satisfied customer.

Thanks Greg for the sideways introduction!

Heck, I bought Kampung Boy and Alias the Cat because MarkAndrew gushed about them (I think he did – his writing is Burroughs-like, so I’m often too bedazzled by what he writes to fully comprehend it).

Hey. Thanks!

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I think.

No problem, pspealman. Glad I could help!

And I liked both Kampung Boy and Alias the Cat, Mark, so you did a fine job convincing me to buy them.

For those wondering as to the lack of recent postings on my own site, I can explain: my wife has needed our router hooked up this past week or so. It seriously eats up my bandwidth. To the point that posting to Blogger becomes impossible.
I still enjoy reading your stuff here!
acespot/Spot/Jonathan

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