hmm, a lot of reasons.
this is the post:
so many people who are attempting to be counter-culture and progressive and liberal don’t like fight club because they think it’s an oversexed white male dominance fantasy and that’s exactly right. that’s what fight club is cutting at and making fun of
that boxy chested dudebro with the tyler durden poster in his dorm is the one the joke is on. it’s written by a queer man as a jab at over-privileged anxious 90’s white men with sexual frustration that they can only channel and expel by beating the shit out of each other
and actual stuff is happening around them, their actions have consequences, there is art and science and cancer going on around them and they wanna blow junk up and the narrator realizes this in the end and destroys that side of his personality because it went too far
that’s the punchline that’s the point of fight club y’all
and the thing is, I get it, I really really do. And it’s not wrong, that interpretation of Fight Club is totally legitimate because - Death of the Author
but here’s the thing, us saying “NO I know they think it’s about this but this is what it’s really about so it’s okay! it’s satire!”
(see also: it’s always sunny in philadelphia)
the problem with this, is that it’s not very effective satire, in fact I would say it’s very harmful satire and therefor deserves its criticism - progressive liberal bullshit or not.
Chuck Palahniuk is a white cis gay man. You cannot use his status as a gay man to say that he’s actually spinning this really elaborate joke on straight men and their masculinity. (Especially since, like, have you read his other books? Because I have read every single book he’s ever written and I invite you to do the same and examine all of his white male protagonists)
You can’t just say “Oh well he’s gay so he MUST be saying this!” that’s not how that works.
Palahniuk is certain that there are some things in life that men innately enjoy and should be given - given back - cultural permission to express. “If we try to suppress that completely, it is going to erupt in some horrible uncontrolled way. In a culture where we have condemned all forms of violence as invalid and not needed, violence still comes up. It comes up in hyper-violent ways, like in school shootings.”
The notion that men must be allowed to be men or else all society - women included - suffers, is consistent with the mantras of the American men’s movement and the mytho-poetic prescriptions of its patron saint, Robert Bly, the author of Iron John. Palahniuk also seems in sympathy with the argument that conventional manly virtues have been done down in the keyboard-driven, postindustrial economy, and he has not missed the irony that while men’s interest in violent sports today causes concern, women’s incursions into the same territory are often applauded. So when men box it is mindless violence and when women box it is liberation?
For Palahniuk the male protagonists of Fight Club are human spirits in revolt against the deadening destinies society that allots them. (x)
this interview also starts with the headline: “The writer of Fight Club thinks that men need to reclaim masculinity - with their fists. But, Dave Hill finds, he’s really just a softie at heart”
And again, death of the author is a thing but the other thing is, men are not made uncomfortable by Fight Club. They aren’t. Which was the original argument, that Fight Club s clever because it is a satire of violent heteronormative masculinity that actually makes men uncomfortable BUT IT DOESN’T. It empowers them, it reinforces them. And I can tell you this from experience.
When I was in college, I took a class on “literary sabotage”, taught by a straight white man in his 40s, and the class breakdown was about 80% white straight men. (I know right). We read about 8 books, all written by white men. Palahniuk was the only gay author.
Now I had to sit in this class and listen as every single male - including my professor - talked about how great Fight Club is because it finally gives men of the late-20th and early-21st centuries a forum to vent about the frustrations of masculinity. Without a single trace of irony. And the satirical aspect? was not only ignored but violently rebuked when someone (another woman) brought it up. It made them angry. And if you brought up the homoerotic undertones of the novel? It was laughed off and waved away. “It’s just men being intimate in their most primal sates - it’s something women can’t understand, it’s not gay" - actual thing my actual classmate said. And it’s backed up! by what Palahniuk says!
So I wrote a paper, more or less exactly like what this tumblr post says, only with quotes and stuff from Palahniuk with the argument that he lost control of his own pet project and it actually should be taken as satire, intended or not. And I got a C-. In four years of college, and 4 years of high school, I got something other than a B or an A on a paper. And I’m not so full of myself that I don’t think I can get a C-, that’s not what I’m saying, but this paper had no actual markings or corrections on it. Just A C-, with no explanation. While every single male in my class got As and Bs and pages full of positive commentary. I wonder what they wrote about.
So. yeah, that’s my issue with it.
My friend had her daughters at a zoo when she heard, “Ma’am, there’s a lemur on your baby
i never really liked
until i found out
what it tastes like
when you write it in frosting
on top of a cake