Boys playing with dangerous chemicals.

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 03:09:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Form Submission from

EMAIL_SUBJECT: Guest Book Signature
Name: Jim
Age: 23
City?: Ny
State?: NY
Country?: USA
Findout: Another web page
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!!!


      Dear Jim,

      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,

      Richard Geib

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 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 for them.

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.