Esther’s Space- journey through my life

September 26, 2007

Fight Club (the book), I love you too- not that love means anything anyway

Filed under: p()5t^^()d3,~]\[ — estherspace @ 11:50 pm

Okay, I have to admit it, before we left class, la professora pointed at certain words on the board, said some others, and told us to keep them in mind when reading Fight Club to see what we came up with regarding how the two work together. I can see the moment, but I have no idea what those words were.

I think that I should also mention that today I am playing the believing game and will henceforth prove that Fight Club is, indeed, postmodern.

Today I will be thinking about the concept of Jameson’s ‘postmodernism is not a style but instead a cultural dominant.’ (4) What I take from this phrase is that we are not able to recognize postmodernism as a thing we can take or leave depending upon our preferences, but instead it is the current state of society. Jameson also insists that postmodernism is primarily characterized by a fragmentation of the concept of history, where people create a conception of the past based on small pieces of actual truth intermixed with fiction. A great source for understanding Jameson can be found here.

Do we have this with Fight Club? Or at least in the first few chapters? Some examples of ‘history’ manifested:

  • “Where would Jesus be if no one had written the gospels?” (15)
  • “Everything, including your set of hand-blown green glass dishes with the tiny bubbles and imperfections, little bits of sand, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple hard-working indigenous peoples of wherever, well, these dishes all get blown out by the blast.” (41-42)
  • “What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women.” (50)

I’d like to investigate the idea of “where” the narrator comes from, and his impression of how he fits into history. The above statements are many a number of assumptions about historicity. These include the idea that one must be ‘important’ to be recorded in history, and if this record is not made, that person was never actually important, everyone, at some point, had an ancestor that was ‘native’ (and, by this implication, primitive), and ancestor that we cannot actually trace (and are not interested in doing so) so it remains as an assumed idea, and that this particular generation has been lacking in male role models, which implies that previously there were at least some.

In looking at these three quotes (creating a metaconcept based on a collection of fragmented ideas, anyone?), it seems to be clear that the narrator’s concept of history is largely based on a sense of history that is largely commercialized and influenced by so many factors that it subject to such skepticism and no longer retains any value that would be present in something that is ‘pure’ history (assuming that Jameson believes that there is a pure history, even if we cannot access it). This skepticism is illustrated by the first quote, in which he discusses the Bible, which is supposed to be a collection written by the Apostles and, pardon the phrasing, from a credible source. Due to the fact that he lives during this time period, he has been raised to understand the Bible not as a direct source, but instead as one of a number of possible truths.

In Fight Club, the narrator is largely removed from a direct ‘organic’ link to history. Instead time, naturally, has added layers and the idea of perspectives on truth. This has obviously led to a great deal of confusion. Hence the narrator’s problem; since he does not have the ‘traditional markers’ that would help him conceptualize his place in history and society, he is lost in chaos.

But this is not over yet. Please take note of this photo, of pillow fight club. I’m guessing these people did not take Fight Club as a whole, but instead parceled it up, put the pieces back together in a new way but with the same title, and have effectively replaced memory with a concept of what was (or must have been).

pillowfightclub.jpg

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