Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 03:09:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Form Submission from www.rjgeib.com
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How is life treating you?: It's not treating me to enough adventure...
I read your review
of Fight Club on Amazon and I was impressed by some of the intelligent
things that you said but puzzled by some of it as well. I really think
that the book points more at taking a responsible attitude toward leadership
in the face of a society that is impossibly focused on following where
it's lead. It's definitely a satire of how we live today.
Your comment about Columbine made me think that we have to try to understand
how and why kids are trying to have an effect on their surroundings in
a violent way. It IS the same way the characters in the book were. Given,
those aren't the best ways to go about it, but that's also the point of
the book, that in reality we can't (morally anyway) have any real effect.
And thus, some would say, there isn't anything worth fighting for. It comes
from a rejection of what most people call religion (which may be bad or
may be necessary for the next step in cultural (r)evolution.) It's a lack
of concrete moral consequences combined with no chance of creating any
change without tainting the end result (means & ends) that leads to things
like Columbine. Kids just don't care anymore. Why should they? They're
gonna' be ignored the same way they always have.
And...I hate to say this...but I think you give people too much credit
for being able to ignore media in relation to consumerism (not violence
in movies, etc.) Most people are subject to the whims of advertising executives,
look at how pervasive it is in the cities... everywhere... It wouldn't
be if it weren't so effective. It's inescapable. Have your students count
all the different instances and modes of advertising that they encounter
in one day. I'm sure the number will be staggering. I'd honeslty like to
hear what the results would be. We act like hogs without thinking about
how people are living in 3rd World nations or in countries whose innocent
populations we actively punish when their governments misbehave in Corporate
America's eyes, e.g. Cuba and Iraq. (check out voices in the wilderness,
I can't remember the URL...)
This is long so I'll just say that it's nice to see intelligent thought
instead of just advertising on the internet (amazon in particular.) It's
the last free medium we have, let's hope it's put to good use. Support
free radio and internet. Down with the FCC. Free Mumia, end capital punishment.
Go vegan, Go!!!
We cannot have any real effect on society
if we don't like the way it is heading? We are sheep led by the advertising
executives wherever they want to do? You give too much credit to external
factors and not enough to the individual's ability to use reason. My
friends and myself might wear Nike shoes and have IKEA furniture in
our living rooms; but we do not stay up at night with insomnia because
our lives are unbearably empty. If "Fight Club" deliberately exaggerates
to make a point, then I can note the moral of the story and ignore
its overwrought, exaggerated morality of mayhem as social policy.
The large majority of my students watch
TV yet still know the difference between right and wrong. After the
Columbine shooting I took a long look at all my students (past and
present) to see if they were a "lost" nihilistic generation, and I
came to the conclusion they most likely were no better or worse than
previous generations. Most of them know the difference between right
and wrong. Some are plenty troubled young adults, but most are decent
and hardworking teenagers who will go on to become successful adults
in their own time -- and some of them are truly outstanding already!
Your comments are alarmist, as is "Fight Club." The book touches on
important issues -- and then jumps into the deep end of the pool and
drowns in ridiculousness.
I read your comments and the opinions in
the book and conclude that if there is anything more juvenile than
advertisers or retailers who think there is nothing more to life than
buying or selling, then it is those who find themselves so much up
in arms about it. I don't stay awake at night fantasizing about what
I am going to buy in the future. I don't watch TV and don't care much
about it. I ignore the celebrity circus of Hollywood and hardly make
it the measure of my own person; and I don't blame "society" for my
problems. THAT is the appropriate response. To hate something
is to give it power over you; the proper response to foolishness should
be indifference -- which is what my response to "Fight Club" is now
almost, after having thought about it for a few days. Brad Pitt lecturing
me about the evils of consumer society? Come on!
You can check out my final comments on
the issue (as opposed to cursory ones at Amazon) at the following URL:
In my classes we have been recently studying
and discussing Jesus in the desert being tempted with bread and power
by the devil. Truly man does not live by bread alone, as "Fight Club" shows
well before it becomes absurd and risible; nevertheless, if excessive
materialism is a poor foundation upon which to settle your life, nihilism
is even worse. I don't doubt most adults (as opposed to the boys posing
as "adults" like Durden and his compatriots) who see this movie will
come to the same conclusion.
Tyler Durden would have it that all young
people today in America are being conditioned to become the vacuous
adults of tomorrow because of absentee fathers and general adult negligence.
That ain't happening in my classroom, and it didn't happen in my household
when I was growing up. News of the death of our "soulless, ahistorical
society" are exaggerated, to say the least.
Be well over there in New York.
Very Truly Yours,
Subject: Right on brother
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 22:08:13 -0400
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.71.1712.3
I have e-mailed people I know and love about five times in my life. This
is the first time for someone I never met.
I read your "Fight Club" review on an Amazon.com website, and man I could'nt
agree with you more. People my age today(I am twenty-four) act like there
is nothing to live for and just continually flush their potentialy great
lives down the toilet. When I saw the film(last night) I could'nt get over
how many people thought it was "good", in a positive message sort of way.
The film was descent, but hardly uplifting.
I also noticed the list of great thinkers and leaders you had in your
review, names lost on folks my age, and that really is the part that sucks
One last thought, I am not a big guy, but grew up in New York and Tampa
Florida, and I fought alot. Most young folks today can't handle any sort
of grit or violence, much less something like these guys were doing. When
someone raises a fist, they turn to lambs. But man they loved this film.(I'm
sure they don't know there is a book)
Sorry if I'm rambling, I was just impressed that one other person knows
the difference between men and boys.