meows and movies

i think it’s all the testosterone

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is that this is my third attempt at this entry. I had it finished once, my machine froze, and then I had to do it again. Halfway through the second attempt, the machine froze again. I’ve figured out it was my CD. I’m not playing it this time.

But I’m tired of typing the following paragraph:

Cal is home. He’s got a microchip implanted in his fur as some sort of tracking device the shelter put in. He’s got a diode sticking out of his fur. Since he’s never going to leave the house and I’m sure Taylor will try and remove it, I’m asking the vet to take it out today to avoid any Cattaca jokes.

Taylor saw Cal and immediately said, “Hey, I’m Taylor! Are you my new friend? What does your butt smell like?” Understandably, Cal was upset by this quick meeting and went into a big hissing and growling fit. Taylor just looked at him. “What’s his problem?” At first Taylor was cautious, but when he saw that Cal is a bit of a stumbly cat, what with his tail being gone, Taylor calmed down. Now he’s winning all of the staring matches. He really surprises me. Cal will keep doing that scared singing and fluffing, but Taylor just keeps his cool and watches him without emotion. He’s like Christopher Walken. I think Taylor is going to keep his alpha male status. He knows all he has to do with Cal is “sweep the leg.”

Pamie hits “save” and takes a deep breath.

Now I’ll talk about what I wanted to talk about: Fight Club. Keep in mind there will be spoilers.

I loved it. I really did. It was the first time since Natural Born Killers that I wanted to go out and do something after seeing a movie. Eric and I went out for coffee to talk about it. I was having a problem with the “message” of the film, and I thought that Eric would be the right person to talk to, since when I met him he was practically Amish– he had no television, rarely saw a film, and only listened to his few CD’s. He said that pop culture was more my thing because he was a “serious theatre actor.”

But I still dated him.

Regardless, Eric also owns a Fugazi t-shirt that says “You are not what you own.” He’s worn the shirt so much that it no longer says “This is not a Fugazi T-shirt” on the front, but rather “This is no Fugazi shit.” I prefer to stick my hands through the holes in the chest and call it “This is not a t-shirt.”

“So,” I asked him, “if you aren’t what you own, or what you do, then what are you?”

“Exactly.”

“No, really, I mean, if you aren’t defined by the people you associate with, and the things in your life, then what are you?”

“It shouldn’t matter, that’s what they’re saying.”

“But it does.”

“Why do you care what others think?”

“It’s not what others think, it’s how you see yourself. You define yourself by the things in your life.”

“You aren’t your job.”

“Well, to some extent you are. Maybe you aren’t your car, but even the car you choose to drive says something about who you are.”

“Is that what you want?”

“No, I want us all to have Infinities, but that’s not going to happen. You are defined by what you own and what you do. It’s stupid to say that you aren’t.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, because I know that while Brad Pitt was memorizing his lines for his ‘Starbucks is shit’ and ‘Fuck IBM’ monologue, he was driving his Beemer into the movie lot while sipping a double skinny mocha latte.”

“Probably.”

“Most probably.”

“But who you are wouldn’t change if the things in your life went away. If your job went away, if your house went away.”

“Sure they would. They would all change. That’s the point.”

As Eric went on about being who you are and not what someone tells you to be I realized the real point of Fight Club: the film is about thought control. It’s about mind control and cults and manipulation.

[db]

“I am Tiger Woods.”
–Nike Campaign
Last night I saw a special on HBO that made it all clear for me. It was a documentary on a religious group who had all joined this church at different times in their lives. They all had one thing in common: they had all experienced satanic abuse as children. That seems sad, right? Well, they all didn’t know they had experienced these things until joining the church. Through the church they had remembered things they had “forgotten” about when they were children. They all remembered their parents forcing them to make animal sacrifices and eat babies and drink blood. And once they remember these things the church forbids them to talk to their parents anymore, because the demons will make them change their minds. It went so far that one woman realized that it was her father that had done all of this abuse on all of the church members, including her husband, and then all of the church members then realized that it was indeed her father that had made their parents make them drink blood and eat babies. When asked how all of these people that didn’t know each other as children all found their way to this church to then realize that they were all involved in Satanic worship as children by one woman’s father they explained that the Lord brought them all to this place.

It’s the power of manipulation. Fight Club shows the same thing. Cults can make you find a sense of piece and unity. When Edward Norton’s character can’t sleep he finds release in Self-Help groups. It’s close to the same thing. These are people with pain and confusion and they get together and hold each other and cry and they love each other and support each other. Edward Norton finds a release and then he can sleep. Marla finds the same thing in the group. When they split up the groups later, they don’t do it by days of the week, but rather by the disease or disorder. The rougher the disorder, the closer the group. The sense of love and family is stronger, and that’s what Marla and our narrator need. That’s where they get a release.

And then it’s even stronger in Fight Club. Tyler/Edward Norton had all of the signs of cult leadership.

[db]

“People ask me where I get my credentials I get them from me. I get my credibility from the deathless person I am. Credit yourself by staying alive. Credit yourself that you are sacred here. You are precious. You are valuable. There’s not another like you. Other companies can always find somebody to take your place. Well that’s not the company I run. I run a company in which nobody can take your place!”
–People Unlimited
 

[db]

My life has certainly not been a dull one, but there was always this one thing that would nag me wherever I was and whatever I was doing: “Am I doing what I SHOULD be doing?”. This would sometimes literally almost eat me alive. I’d feel lost, confused, upset, grumpy – in short, I would be miserable for days, months at a time. I just couldn’t figure it out. I knew I was providing for my family, being a good father and husband; a solid citizen, you know? Nothing wrong with that, so why did I feel so damned bad about it? I should be very happy; why am I not?Scientology helped me answer these nagging questions once and for all. I realized that while I was being responsible for most things, I was neglecting the most important part of the picture – myself and my own personal goals as an artist. Stability and a decent life were simply not enough. I have an important purpose of my own – to spread creativity and beauty to make others happy. I realized that the times in my life when I was happy with things were only when I was pursuing this purpose. Using Scientology, I rearranged my life so that I could pursue my artistic goals without having to give up anything else. I simply looked everything over and discovered what the ideal life would be, and started working towards it.

Now I am truly happy and that nagging is gone. Everyone around me is happier, too, and that’s probably the best part of it. Our lives are going better than they ever have. We’re making more money, having more fun, looking toward a very bright future. And it’s bright because of Scientology!

L. Ron Hubbard is truly the best friend man ever had!
Life Changing Experiences

[db]

This film is Natural Born Killers and Animal Farm in one. Edward Norton meets Tyler just like any other normal person. He seems intriguing. Why is it when he loses everything that he calls Tyler? Because he’s an effective leader. Okay, so really, there’s that “plot twist” that says he never really called him at all. At first I felt that plot twist was an easy way out. Then I realized what it truly was. Eric explained it as the Id and the Ego at odds. What it really did was show us how cult leaders are always questioning themselves but we just write it off as genius. When we don’t understand something that we’ve put that much time and effort into, we always look for an answer. We do it with “Sixth Sense.” We accept that ending because we’ve enjoyed the film. After all of the violence and sex and energy in Fight Club, we want to do the same thing. It plays on our willing suspension of disbelief.

[db]

The Potter’s House has many rules which are enforced on the members. These rules are not debatable within the group, and those who break these rules are told they are disobeying God. To disobey any church rule is to disobey God.Many of these rules were not supported by any Scripture, or were supported by a Scripture misinterpreted or taken out of context to support them. Some rules were enforced beyond the scope of the Scripture used to support them.
–Potter’s House: Church or Cult?

[db]

Tyler barks out rules to the Fight Club like Snowball. It’s the rules that keep the club together. In Fight Club you have the ultimate cult: rules, brotherhood, order, dominance, exclusivity, power, and secrecy. Why are there no women in this film? It’s a “brotherhood”.

[db]

Napoleon himself appeared at the meeting on the following Sunday morning and pronounced a short oration in Boxer’s honour. It had not been possible, he said, to bring back their lamented comrade’s remains for interment on the farm, but he had ordered a large wreath to be made from the laurels in the farmhouse garden and sent down to be placed on Boxer’s grave. And in a few days’ time the pigs intended to hold a memorial banquet in Boxer’s honour. Napoleon ended his speech with a reminder of Boxer’s two favourite maxims, “I will work harder” and “Comrade Napoleon is always right”maxims, he said, which every animal would do well to adopt as his own.On the day appointed for the banquet, a grocer’s van drove up from Willingdon and delivered a large wooden crate at the farmhouse. That night there was the sound of uproarious singing, which was followed by what sounded like a violent quarrel and ended at about eleven o’clock with a tremendous crash of glass. No one stirred in the farmhouse before noon on the following day, and the word went round that from somewhere or other the pigs had acquired the money to buy themselves another case of whisky.
Animal Farm, chapter IX

[db]

“His name is Robert Paulson.”
Fight Club
This film isn’t about violence. It isn’t about angry white males bashing out against society in a pre/post-millenium uproar. That’s the excuse. That’s what pulls you in. What makes you stay is the power of mental manipulation. This film is constantly reminding you with a Brechtian “You are watching a movie.” It does it when you see the little blips and burns in the film. There’s extra cells imbedded in the screen right where your focus has been drawn. Sometimes it threatens to melt and come off the screen. “It’s only a movie,” it warns you. “It’s okay to laugh.”

That’s why the self-help groups are treated with humor. Bob has “bitch tits” so we can elevate ourselves above him. We can look down on this pitiful creature as we look down on Boxer for being so blind and following the cause. We laugh at him to feel better about ourselves. “At least I’m not that poor bastard.” The same goes for Chloe at the cancer group. We laugh at her reverberating “vibrators” so that we feel better.

Cults are all about making yourself feel better than others.

That’s how they get you to be exclusive. You know you’re doing the right thing.

In Fight Club, if you go against the rules, your balls get cut off. Extreme, yes, but another way of showing thought control.

[db]

They wrote that they knew I’d gone back to the satanic cult, that I was a sick person who would never be allowed back into The Group, that the belongings I’d asked to have sent to me had been destroyed in a basement flood. I sobbed when I read it. I felt completely alone.
I was trapped in a Therapy Cult
I loved Fight Club because when it was over I wanted to talk about it. I’m sure there will be mini-Fight Clubs starting up around the nation now, and I think that’s pretty funny. I think that’s just what they want.

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