Monday, July 15, 2013

What's That Smell?

I would propose that there is little honor in getting your ass kicked.  Sure, there are some great fighters out there (Ali, Lion-O, The Rock), but I'm sure Sun Tzu has some sort of Art of War quote about either manning up and having an equal-to-better chance against your opponent, or changing the parameters in order to have an equal-to-better chance against your opponent... or just giving up.  Therefore, I propose that if I'm getting my ass kicked, there is only really one honorable person to do it to me.


And I don't mean that in some sort of nambsy-pambsy metaphor, as in "Oh, I wasn't as emotionally ravaged in life as Ana Lucia so when I had to fistfight her I didn't give it my all, therefore I beat myself." I mean getting an ass kicking myself by myself in the only way worth doing it.  Dissociative personality disorder expressing itself in a parking lot.  Sound familiar?  It's from the cinematic anthem to mediocrity and consumerism of my generation.

Fight Club.  Fucking Fight Club.

I am Jack's sense of self-loathing.  Oh, and Jack is you.
If I'm going to suffer the indignity of an ass kicking, why not go all out?  Why not just go stark raving mad--have a complete break from reality, start living in an abandoned house, and fuck up the world?  Tyler Durden is an expression of rage against everything: society, belongings, how we relate with others, and how we feel about ourselves.  He represents a fresh, clean start.  No stretch, of course, that he sells soap.

Yet even in that, there's a bit of self-loathing appropriate for the notion of me kicking my ass.  Tyler "dies," and that genie is put back into the bottle.  Indeed, as he passes on, or disappears, or recedes as the Narrator's mind heals (hey, newsflash: the Narrator isn't named, because he's the audience), Tyler almost notices his own corrupt self for the first time.  "What's that smell?" he asks, fading away.

So maybe there is no honor in it.  Or maybe the honor is that once  Tyler Durden kicks your ass, it's only a matter of time before you kick his ass back.

The irony being that you're only beating yourself up.

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