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David Fincher's Fight Club Was A Warning, Not A Call To Arms – SlashFilm

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This article breaks the first and second rules of “Fight Club” and contains spoilers
The protagonist of David Fincher’s 1999 film “Fight Club,” based on the 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name, is still incredibly relatable. Alternately called “The Narrator” or “Jack,” based on his jokes from the perspective of a man named Jack’s organs and body parts, he’s a sad sack of a man in a dead-end cubicle job with a boss who drives him nuts. Played by Edward Norton with a perpetual frown, he’s miserable and tries to buy things to fill the hole in his soul, lying awake at night staring at informercials in the throes of insomnia. Anyone who’s ever had a crummy job and felt like their life was going nowhere can sympathize with poor Jack. It’s easy to see how he’s seduced into a cult by the charismatic and enigmatic Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who he meets on a long flight and ends up forming an underground fight club with. What’s frustrating is that too many audiences are enchanted by Tyler’s words themselves. 
In tough times, people tend to turn to anyone who can give them purpose and a sense of belonging. Tyler’s rules, fight clubs, and later Project Mayhem cater to men who have felt emasculated and abandoned by society in some way, and it’s terrifying to see how online personalities and influencers are using the same tactics to recruit angry and afraid men. As intoxicating as some of Tyler’s promises might be, “Fight Club” is a warning about sliding into extremism, not an instruction manual for anarchy.

One of the challenges of breaking down the satirical warning elements of “Fight Club” is that the novel’s author is pretty ambiguous about the moral implications of Tyler’s vision for the world, which promotes that men live strictly according to traditionally masculine ideals. In an interview with Huffington Post, Palahniuk revealed that he doesn’t think the novel is a critique or celebration of violent masculinity, because he feels that such violence has purpose in certain confines (like, say, a fight club.) When asked if he felt that fans were misinterpreting the material by taking Tyler at face value, his answer was interesting:
“No, not really. Because they are kind of recognizing the phase where they discover their personal power through acting out against the world.”
What Palahniuk describes is a phase I went through around the time I first read and watched “Fight Club,” circa 2002 or so when the film was on a free HBO weekend. Tyler’s anti-capitalist notions felt revolutionary, and his rejection of working a 9-5 when I was a teenager staring down decades of cubicle work was enticing. As a teenager, “Fight Club” was a part of my personality. It was only a phase, though, because I grew older, learned more, and realized that Tyler’s lessons were just as much of a problem as the things it preached against. The anti-capitalism aspect is still worth listening to, but Tyler’s misogyny, lack of personal accountability, and penchant for violence are issues that need to be addressed. It’s okay to be an apathetic anarchist when you’re 16, but not when you’re 36. 

Tyler’s concerns about capitalism hold weight, and “the things you own end up owning you” is worth thinking about and taking to heart, but he also spouts nonsense like “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need,” which has been quoted by all kinds of men’s rights activists and “alpha male” self-help gurus pushing the idea that society is forcing out masculinity and creating a whole generation of effeminate men who are somehow lesser than their forebears. Incels (the “involuntarily celibate”) quote the character frequently in an effort to prove that sad, lonely men shouldn’t be underestimated. (These same men also love and misinterpret “Taxi Driver,” “Joker,” and “American Psycho” without a single sliver of self-awareness.)
While Palahniuk has said that he doesn’t see the novel’s message as gendered (yes, really), some fans had a very strong response to the ideas presented in “Fight Club.” The movie version is even more enticing, because who wouldn’t want to be 1999 Brad Pitt, with lean muscle, sick thrift store drip, and a whole helluva lot of swagger? He’s charming, he’s funny, he’s impossibly good-looking, and Fincher’s much more satirical film gives him plenty of opportunities to be a rebellious and violent masculine ideal. He’s Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver” but with all of the right moves, he’s the Joker without clown makeup or desperation. He’s the ultimate ideal for lonely men who long for an (imaginary) time when they would be assigned a job, house, and wife when they graduated high school, and he’s the template for some of our own world’s most toxic public personalities.

It’s not news to anyone that America has a real problem with lonely, angry men committing violence. There are many contributing factors to why today’s men feel so alienated and aggrieved that need to be addressed at a systemic level, but plenty of people trying to make a buck are ready to try and capitalize on that pain. Using much of the same language as Tyler (but cleverly leaving out the anti-capitalism), media personalities and influencers seek to appeal to men in need of help. Instead of getting mental health support or forming healthy bonds with other adults, they’re turning to conspiracy theorists peddling supplements like Alex Jones or influencer and alleged sex trafficker Andrew Tate. 
While it might be hard to see the allure of Tate or Jones if you’re not buying into what they’re selling, it’s easy to see Durden’s appeal. He’s the ultimate cult leader, with a message that appeals to our base instincts and the promise of a found family among the men you fight. Even in death, you will be remembered, with your name chanted by your fellow space monkeys in honor. By understanding how easy it is for young men to slide into ideologies like Tyler’s, we can better understand how they are becoming radicalized by men like Tate and Jones and hopefully offer better solutions. Deradicalization is incredibly difficult, but stopping people from going down the wrong path in the first place can be much more doable.

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The first and second rules of fight club are that the members are not allowed to talk about fight club. The men all do end up telling their friends and co-workers, of course, as the fight clubs grow in size, and there’s a camaraderie between them that eventually translates over to their terrorist organization, Project Mayhem. The secrecy serves multiple purposes, including making them feel like they’re a part of something exclusive, but it also correlates to how men are expected to deal with life in general. Traditional western rules about masculinity dictate that men aren’t supposed to show or share their negative feelings, other than anger, and male companionship has a whole set of norms to avoid being accused of gay tendencies. (Palahniuk, a gay man, absolutely knows what he did when he wrote about a bunch of sweaty, shirtless men slapping their meaty bodies together.) Regardless of gender, people generally want to be heard, accepted, and have physical contact with others, but many men feel that they are prohibited from those things or they won’t be perceived as “manly.” Before founding the fight clubs, the narrator was visiting support groups for terminal illnesses in order to feel heard, because he believes that when people think you’re dying, they finally shut up and listen. 
Straight men need healthy outlets for their frustrations and they need the same kinds of support systems that women, queer, and gender non-conforming people have created for themselves without fear of being chastised for having close bonds. Otherwise we’re going to keep losing them to the cult of toxic masculinity and its many false prophets, and they’re getting louder every day. Remember, guys: you are not your masculinity, and if you want to be a unique and individual snowflake, you can.

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Fight, shooting at Rocky Mount motorcycle club leaves 1 man dead – WTVD-TV

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) — A man was shot and killed during an altercation at a motorcycle club, Rocky Mount Police said Monday.
Officers responded just after 9:30 p.m. on Sunday to All Round Huzlerz at 309 Tarboro St. Shots were fired during the fight and 55-year-old Donald Joseph of Rocky Mount was struck. He died at the scene from his injuries.
Police said Joseph was shot by "a known individual" but did not release a name nor mention anyone in custody.
No other injuries were reported.
The Rocky Mount Police Department Criminal Investigations Division continues to investigate. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Rocky Mount Police Department at (252) 972-1411, call Crimestoppers at (252) 977-1111 for cash rewards, or Text-A-Tip (text RMPOL and your message to 274637).
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Tiger women ready for ACC Challenge – Rivals.com – Missouri

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Mizzou women’s basketball is halfway through its non-conference schedule and sits at 5-2 before its matchup with Virginia. The Tigers will take on the Cavaliers in Charlottesville Thursday afternoon at 4:00 in the ACC/SEC Challenge. Virginia enters the matchup with a 4-2 record and has losses to #25 Oklahoma and #7 LSU.
Mizzou is coming off a loss in the Daytona Beach Classic to Kent State and looks to gain its first road win of the season. The Tigers’ first road game resulted in a loss earlier this season to SLU.
“Disappointed in our trip to Florida, it just didn’t feel like our offense,” head coach Robin Pingeton said. “We’ve got four players averaging double figures, but our offense didn’t travel with us. You’ve got to be really strong on the defensive end, especially on the road. I thought our transition defense has definitely made some strides, really pleased where that is, I like where that’s trending”.

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Heading into this game Mizzou is averaging 80.6 points per game and is being led by Hayley Frank with 17.9 points per game. To this point in the season Mizzou is shooting 47% as a team from the field and 39% from behind the arc. Defensively the Tigers are allowing just 68.1 points per game.
Pingeton spoke highly of the Cavaliers ahead of the matchup on Thursday: “Virginia is really talented. They’ve got good size, good athleticism, and a good balance in their inside-out game”.
Virginia currently averages 17 offensive rebounds a game and is limiting opponents to scoring 61.5 points per game. Pingeton believes the way the Tigers have to fight this is with more grit on the defensive end and by taking these matchups personally.
“I think we take a lot of pride in our offense, and we’ve got to get to that point where defensively we’re really taking it personal,” she said. “We have to be finding ways to be gritty in our rotations and putting out fires for each other and it comes down to not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight the dog. We’ve got to have a mind shift, our mentality is just got to be a little bit grittier on that defensive end”.
Mizzou must get better every week as the season goes on, Pingeton believes. The Tigers expect this game to be a battle, but they will not do anything different than what they are capable of according to Pingeton.
“It’s just continuing to do what we do and improve in the areas that we need to improve on. It’s these days in practice that lead up to Virginia, that we’ve created better habits and awareness and a sense of urgency. In regards to our rotations, be more disruptive. To our attention to detail, getting a body and making sure we’re getting somebody boxed out. Low man always wins on the boards. It’s some of those kinds of things that we have to continue to be mindful of in practice”.
Thursday’s game will be televised by the ACC Network.
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Morning news brief – KUCB

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A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is making his third trip to the Middle East since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. His trip began at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where Blinken said diplomatic work by the U.S. is responsible for the current pause in the fighting in Gaza.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
ANTONY BLINKEN: We’ll be focused on making – doing what we can to extend the pause so that we can continue to get more hostages out and more humanitarian assistance in.
MARTÍNEZ: NPR’s Michele Kelemen is traveling with the secretary. She joins us now. Michele, so what is he hoping to accomplish on this latest trip to the Middle East?
MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Yeah, so he’s going to Israel and the occupied West Bank, where he’ll meet with Palestinian officials. And he has a few goals, A. The U.S. wants to expand the hostage deal that has seen some, but not all, of the hostages freed by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners released in Israel and a pause in the fighting. The U.S. wants to see all those hostages out and for the pause to be extended. Blinken also wants to ramp up international aid to Gaza and make sure Israel does much more to protect Palestinian civilians in the next phase of its operation against Hamas. You know, thousands of Palestinian civilians have been killed so far in Gaza. And then he also wants to start talking about the day after.
MARTÍNEZ: So what is the U.S. saying about what happens to Gaza when the fighting stops?
KELEMEN: So Blinken has set out kind of a few broad markers. The U.S. doesn’t want Israel to reoccupy Gaza, and it doesn’t want Palestinians permanently displaced. He talks about the day after and the day after that. The only way to resolve this is to have a Palestinian state with Gaza as part of that. But there are a lot of doubts about how the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank, can reestablish itself in Gaza. Those are the kinds of things that he wants everyone in the region to start talking about. He also wants to make sure that the conflict doesn’t engulf the whole region. Blinken is going to see some Arab foreign ministers when he goes to the climate conference in Dubai at the end of the week, and that will be part of that discussion.
MARTÍNEZ: Now, Blinken was at NATO headquarters today, or is at NATO headquarters today, to talk about Russia’s war in Ukraine. So what are NATO allies saying about the state of that war?
KELEMEN: Well, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that Ukraine has had some big wins in the past year and that Russia has, in his words, fallen backward. He says Russia is weaker, but he says Russia should not be underestimated. It continues to launch drones and missiles at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure ahead of what could be another really tough winter. So he says Ukraine needs continued support from all of the allies, and that was the big focus of the meetings here today. They also talked about Ukraine’s pathway to NATO membership, and they held a first high-level meeting of the so-called NATO-Ukraine Council.
MARTÍNEZ: Now he has one more high-level meeting on his schedule ahead of a stop in Israel. Tell us about that.
KELEMEN: Yeah, he’s going to North Macedonia, which is hosting a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. That’s a 57-nation group that has historically played an important role in human rights in the countries of Europe and the former Soviet Union. Russia’s foreign minister is expected to be there, so Ukraine and the Baltic states are boycotting. But Blinken decided to go ahead with the visit, though he’s not expected to have any one-on-one encounters with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
MARTÍNEZ: That’s NPR’s Michele Kelemen, traveling with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Michele, thanks.
KELEMEN: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
As Blinken heads to the Middle East, President Biden focuses on his domestic agenda today.
MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. He’s traveling to Pueblo, Colo., to tout his administration’s investment in clean energy jobs and is expected to take some swipes at right-wing Republicans.
FADEL: NPR White House correspondent Deepa Shivaram is in Colorado with Biden. Hey, Deepa.
DEEPA SHIVARAM, BYLINE: Hey, Leila.
FADEL: So why Pueblo? What’s going on there?
SHIVARAM: Yeah. Well, there’s a couple reasons. First, he’s going to visit a plant owned by the largest wind turbine tower manufacturer in the world. The South Korean-based company is called CS Wind, and they say that thanks to Biden’s major climate and jobs bill, they’re adding hundreds of jobs in the state in the next few years. And secondly, Pueblo is in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which is represented by right-wing Republican Lauren Boebert. She’s one of former Trump’s biggest supporters and has been a prominent critic of President Biden, particularly on this climate and jobs bill, which she says should be repealed. So that’s why Biden is in Pueblo today – to prop up his big legislative wins and to, as you said earlier, take a swipe at right-wing Republicans he’s been so critical of. Biden is expected to talk about how he thinks Boebert and Republicans like her are a threat to the progress that he says his administration has made.
FADEL: Now, we’ve heard Biden criticize right-wing lawmakers. He calls them MAGA Republicans repeatedly. But he doesn’t often go after individual members like this in their own district. What’s the thinking here?
SHIVARAM: And this is an interesting move. I talked to Adam Green, who leads the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. It’s a left-leaning political advocacy organization. He’s been meeting with the White House and White House officials lately to talk about the president’s economic messaging. And he says one of the things Democrats need to do more of is lean into the fight on issues with extreme Republicans, whether it’s about health care or jobs or the economy.
ADAM GREEN: In order for the public to understand the difference between Democrats and Republicans on things like jobs or lower-priced prescription drugs, we need to see a fight.
SHIVARAM: And Green says that, generally speaking here, people love drama. It gets more attention. And he says for Biden to go to Congresswoman Boebert’s district and pick a fight with her specifically is a good strategy because of how loudly critical she is of Biden.
GREEN: So this particular trip, in particular, might be outsized in its influence and is a good down payment on a larger strategy of picking smart fights with Republicans.
SHIVARAM: This idea that we’ve been talking about of drawing contrasts with Republicans is something that we’ve heard the White House try to do when it comes to selling Biden’s economic agenda, but this is definitely a more pointed way of going about it. And you have to keep in mind, Leila, this comes at a time when recent polls have shown that the public still doesn’t approve of how Biden has been handling the economy. So 11 months out from the election, it’ll be interesting to see how this larger strategy here of picking smart fights, as Adam Green says, could impact public opinion, especially because this district has a really tight race. In 2022, it was super close. So it’s a potential place for Democrats to flip the seat blue next year.
FADEL: Now, this trip was supposed to happen last month but got postponed because of the crisis in the Middle East. Does this mean Biden is turning his attention back to domestic issues now?
SHIVARAM: Yeah, that’s right. The president was supposed to make this trip out in about mid-October but canceled at the last minute. But the White House says the president’s been working across, quote, “a range of issues.” In addition to this Colorado trip, he’s traveling more domestically in the coming weeks. They just announced two upcoming trips to Philadelphia and the Boston area.
I will note, though, that during this trip in Colorado, you know, the conflict in the Middle East is still top of mind. There are still protesters that are calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel that the president’s motorcade has passed by. Of course, we’ve seen some folks who are also supportive of the president as well. And as Michele Kelemen just noted, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, heads to the Middle East today, which is the last day of the extended cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
FADEL: NPR White House correspondent Deepa Shivaram, thanks so much.
SHIVARAM: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTÍNEZ: Annual climate negotiations kick off tomorrow in the United Arab Emirates.
FADEL: Countries are currently not on track to meet the agreed-upon limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming. What does that mean, and what would the U.S. look like if warming goes beyond that benchmark?
MARTÍNEZ: Lauren Sommer from NPR’s climate desk is here to tell us. Lauren, so if the world goes past 1.5 degrees to 2 or 2.5 degrees Celsius, that difference might seem small on paper, and it sounds small when I just said it, but what would it actually look like on the ground?
LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: Right, yeah. I mean, half a degree kind of seems minor, but it makes a massive difference in terms of extreme weather in the U.S. and, you know, as a result, the cost to lives and property – because, you know, that number – 1.5 Celsius, which is 2.7 Fahrenheit – it’s an average. It takes into account all the temperatures across the planet all year. But warming doesn’t happen evenly, and the U.S. is actually heating up faster than that.
MARTÍNEZ: So does that mean if the planet goes beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, the U.S. would get hotter than that?
SOMMER: Yeah, exactly. So say the world reaches 3 degrees Celsius, which is 5.5 Fahrenheit. Parts of the U.S., like Alaska and northern states, would heat up much more – twice as much in some cases. And when it’s hotter, that affects the severity of the weather, like extreme storms.
MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. And the U.S. has seen some very destructive hurricanes in recent years. Would that trend keep getting worse?
SOMMER: Yeah, hurricanes, tropical storms are getting more intense. But, you know, so are storms in general because a hotter atmosphere, it can hold more water vapor. I talked to Deanna Hence, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and she says that means clouds can drop more rain.
DEANNA HENCE: Every time we have a heavy rainfall event, it’s more likely to be even heavier than what we’re typically used to seeing.
SOMMER: Hence says, you know, that could mean 30 to 40% more rain in the eastern U.S. from those extreme storms. And that can overwhelm storm drains and infrastructure, and that causes flooding even if you don’t live next to a river.
MARTÍNEZ: Wow. I know the U.S. saw some pretty extreme heat waves this year. How much worse do you think those could get if the Earth warms, say, more than 1.5 degrees Celsius?
SOMMER: Yeah, right. I mean, that trend keeps going. So if the world warms 2 degrees Celsius, the Southern U.S. could see more than 30 extra days above 95. That’s a month more of days like that.
MARTÍNEZ: Wow. All right, so world leaders meet this week to negotiate how to avoid a future like this. Is it inevitable, really, at this point that the Earth goes beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius?
SOMMER: Yeah, I mean, if countries don’t change course. So if we keep burning fossil fuels at the same rate, it looks like the planet will go beyond 1.5 sometime in the next decade. But Deepti Singh, who is an assistant professor at Washington State University, says, you know, it’s not too late.
DEEPTI SINGH: We’re not destined to some catastrophic climate. We know that we can have a future that is more equitable and less volatile if we limit the warming through our actions today.
SOMMER: She says every fraction of a degree matters to limit the impacts of climate change. You know, it’s not all or nothing. So 1.6 is just as important as 1.5 degrees when it comes to the planet’s future.
MARTÍNEZ: That’s Lauren Sommer from NPR’s climate desk. Lauren, thank you.
SOMMER: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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