Esther’s Space- journey through my life

September 15, 2007

Alex, I’ll take ‘schizophrenia’ for $200

Filed under: p()5t^^()d3,~]\[ — estherspace @ 10:06 pm

Mark this Moment: E + FC= ist2_419124_painted_hearts.jpgist2_419124_painted_hearts.jpgist2_419124_painted_hearts.jpg

According to schizophrenia.com, this brain disease can be manifested by:

“Psychosis,” a common condition in schizophrenia, is a state of mental impairment marked by hallucinations, which are disturbances of sensory perception, and/or delusions, which are false yet strongly held personal beliefs that result from an inability to separate real from unreal experiences. Less obvious symptoms, such as social isolation or withdrawal, or unusual speech, thinking, or behavior, may precede, be seen along with, or follow the psychotic symptoms.

Jack, meet Tyler. Tyler, you know Jack. (His name is Jack, isn’t it? He does refer to himself as such, right? On imdb, he is only referred to as the narrator.) Apparently, Tyler is real, at least in Jack’s reality. Being a modernist, I would like him to be real for me, too. For much of the movie, I was happy to enjoy gazing upon Brad, I mean Tyler. (Very important insertion: Pitt & Norton will be filming another movie together very soon, according to ABC news)When Marla started to get confused, things fell apart. So, who’s the dude in charge of this operation?

At the end of the movie, we see the showdown between Tyler and Jack for control of Jack’s body’s mind. Here’s the clip:

I can’t believe he shot himself. But, if it’s real, it’s real. But, back to the subject issue. So, for most of the movie, it would appear that we have two subjects, of varying power, but slowly Tyler becomes more and more powerful, taking over the narrator’s mind completely at times. His ability to do so, and then Edward Norton’s character reclaiming his mind, or at least the greater part of control of it, seems to prove, as we saw in Written on the Body, that it is not possible to have more than one primary subject. Due to the construction of language, it is not possible to have two voices equally sharing the power simultaneously. Is there a language in which this is possible?

Interestingly, in order for the primary subject to remain most powerful and ‘in control’, he must battle his ‘dark side’ ::cough:cough:Star Wars:cough:: First, the narrator creates his not side, Tyler. Then, by feeding it and cultivating its growth, the part of him that is not becomes real, or it becomes him (or he becomes it?). However, in the end, he realizes that that was not who he was after all, it was just a mask, a mask that had to be destroyed in order to re-gain his original self. Correction. Who he was before no longer exists. What I am trying to explain is that he is sort of re-gaining the power over his mind and body through re-defining who he is. Which, of course, is always changing, and therefore there is no permanent self. (damn it, I think that’s my modernism peeping through) It’s also important to track the Jack/Tyler power struggle; it’s a see-saw relationship, meaning, not two subjects, but instead alternating subject and object being used. Let’s get some theory in here.

Simon Malpas– Our friend Simon enjoys the concept of identity primarily as a performance. Interesting. So, in this scenario are Jack and Tyler two equal voices competing to be the mask that is the main character, and in the end they come together to form a ‘new’ character?

Jean-Francoise Lyotard– his greatest love is the idea of postmodernism being the ability of artists to create new rules that illustrate that our current forms are outmoded, and have these new forms point to an idea that we cannot currently articulate, due to our outmoded forms and rules. Or, in his own words, “The postmodern…puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself…” (class handout 81). So, what is being pointed at here? Well, I think there are a few concepts. Remember that the book was released in 1997, a whole 10 years ago, and times have changed, I think that two important ideas that were presented include the loss or need to re-define or re-find masculinity (for and by men), as well as financial/economic future of our nation. That’s all I’ve got there.

One the other side of the argument, this film is not postmodern at all.  There is no unclear concept that is being gestured at.  Instead, using the modernist ideals, we can see that the film is full a number of metanarratives, mostly from Tyler, (such as the things you own begin to own you, if we destroy the credit card companies we will bring the debt threshold to zero, making everyone equal, we were raised by a generation of women, I’m not sure that’s what we need now) that collectively respond to the current crises of masculinity, and individual financial stability.  So, no ‘unknown’ here.  I think I like this idea better.

I almost forgot to mention our dear friend Marla. “Marla… the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it, but you can’t.” (narrator). Marla is a victim of these two characters, and of this story. She is oblivious to the controlling aspect of Jack/Tyler’s life, Fight Club, she needs validation at every turn, and doesn’t seem to have much to offer beyond a body capable of having intercourse. Let’s just say she’s not a main character. When the narrator tried to convince her to leave town because he thought that the members of Tyler’s army saw her as a threat, I was confused. She was of no consequence in their plans. I think this may have been a ploy by the producers to up the romantic part of this drama. And then, after being dragged, kicking and screaming, into an empty office building by men in ski masks, placed in front of a seeming whacko who just shot himself in the head, Marla chooses to hold hands with him and enjoy to destruction taking place. Right. This lady needs counseling, or at least some real personality besides the generic ‘weird’ the movie gives us with her fly-away hair and gaunt frame.

I feel like I ‘get’ it. I’m sure once we get to class we’ll totally transgress my understanding, but here, on this level, I own it. boo-ya. If not, you may be hearing from me again soon.

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