Fight of the Fight Clubs

December 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm (compare and contrast)

The movie Fight Club and the novel Fight Club are both highly violent, dark but humorous love stories. They are both the story of the relationship between two men, Tyler Durden and the Narrator, and the way underground boxing clubs change their perception of their lives. Both the movie and the book are profound works, with much to say about the state of society today and one’s place in it. The novel Fight Club and the movie of the same name, though similar in theme, dialogue, and character relationships, have distinct differences, such as the character of Tyler, the chronological composition, and the ending, that allow both the movie and book to stand independently as meaningful works.

Both the movie Fight Club and the book Fight Club explore many of the same themes, such as existentialism and anti-materialism. Both the movie and the novel portray Tyler’s doctrine and lifestyle in the house on Paper St. as very existential. Tyler has a monologue in which he explains that if there is a god, it’s entirely possible that he doesn’t care about or like the Narrator, and in that case, nothing the Narrator does matters. In the novel and the movie, Tyler preaches anti-materialism to the Narrator by encouraging him to give up his possessions. Tyler also delivers his anti-materialistic message through the Space Monkeys, a group of bald-headed Tyler-disciples working for Project Mayhem, a guerilla group that fights against the blatant materialism in society through acts of terrorism such as planning the bombing of credit card companies and dropping a piece of corporate art onto a franchise coffee shop.

Just as the themes in both the book and movie are the same, much of the dialogue in the movie is taken straight from the book. There are many lines in the Fight Club movie script taken directly from the novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, such as when the Narrator says “That old saying, how you always kill the one you love, well, look, it works both ways.” The identical dialogue in the movie and book make the two works very similar.

The relationship between Tyler and the Narrator is also the same in the book and movie. In both the movie and book, Tyler and the Narrator turn out to be the split personalities of the same person. The love triangle where Marla wants the Narrator, the Narrator wants Tyler, and Tyler wants Marla also plays out in the movie as well as in the book.

Although the relationship between Tyler and the Narrator is the same in both the book and movie, the character of Tyler differs greatly from the book to the movie. In the book by Chuck Palahniuk, Tyler’s motivation is more fanatical. He comes off as less of a hero, and more as a misguided renegade. In the book, Tyler blows up the credit card companies to destroy the Natural History Museum below, and to make a statement about rejecting responsibility for the mistakes of the generations who came before. In the movie, Tyler ends up appearing to be a hero, crusading against consumerism and fighting for the everyday man. His motivation for bombing the credit card companies in the movie is more anti-materialistic. He wants to destroy all the credit card records and put everyone back at zero. The character of Tyler and his motivation for his actions changes from the book to the movie.

While the book and the movie share common themes and dialogue, the chronological composition is very different. While both start with a flashback, the film medium allowed the director less latitude when it came to chronological order. After the initial flashback, the timeline of the movie is relatively linear, to prevent confusion. The timeline in the novel jumps around. Though it begins with the same flashback as the movie, the book continues to jump from scene to scene, going forward in time and then back. The medium is what allowed Chuck Palahniuk to do this; the division between chapters is the perfect opportunity to jump around. The absence of chapter divisions in the film medium would have made it much more difficult to jump around the timeline the way Palahniuk does in the novel.

One of the biggest differences between the movie Fight Club and the novel is the ending. In the film, the story ends with the destruction of Tyler and the collapse of all the credit card buildings except the one the narrator is in, due to the failure of the paraffin explosives Tyler used. It is implied in the movie that Project Mayhem is destroyed along with Tyler, and the Space Monkeys are lost without a leader. In the novel, the end shows the Narrator in “heaven”, which is apparently some kind of hospital, possibly in the psychiatric ward. Tyler is also destroyed in the novel, but the Narrator is informed that Project Mayhem has become a self-run machine and the Space Monkeys are still out there completing missions. The novel also differs from the movie in that the paraffin explosives fail completely. Tyler fails and none of the credit card company buildings are destroyed.

Overall, there are many similarities between the novel Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk, and the film Fight Club, directed by David Fincher, but the differences are significant enough that both works can stand alone as meaningful, separate stories. The differences in the character of Tyler and the slight plot differences make the film and the novel diverse enough that both can be enjoyed as separate works. While the book and movie are distinct, they’re both highly enjoyable, and can be experienced separately, without comparing the two detracting from either.

Works Cited

Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham     Carter. DVD. 2008.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1996.

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BEEP BEEP

December 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm (Descriptive)

I’m sipping tea and munching on finger sandwiches with Martin Luther King Jr. and a human-sized rabbit when all of a sudden, I am jolted awake to one of the most annoying, irritating, infuriating sounds to ever reach my ears. There’s a slight click as the minute on the clock changes, and a fireworks burst of white noise that jerks me out of slumber just in time to hear the abrasive, bleeting tones of the alarm. There are not many sounds that elicit a reaction as strong as an alarm clock does. Just hearing an alarm clock on a television show causes most people to cringe, instinctually closing their eyes and turning their bodies away from the universally-hated sound. There are many reasons the beep of an alarm clock is so hated. Forgotten dreams, disorientation, and the instant creation of a bad mood are all reasons waking up to an alarm clock is by far one of the worst feelings in the world.

I often have detailed, meaningful dreams that provide invaluable insight into problems I’m having in my life; unfortunately, being brutally yanked awake to an alarm clock inevitably makes me forget them. Dreams are a way for the subconscious to work out problems and feelings about events happening in everyday life, and when dreams are forgotten, that insight is lost. Dreams are also highly entertaining, whether hilarious, like watching your grandparents tap dance their way across your roof, or scary, like the ever-popular driving to school naked, and I’m always disappointed when I forget what I dream.

After waking to an alarm and forgetting my dreams, and often the fact that I was dreaming at all, I am confused and disoriented. The beep of an alarm clock is an insidious sound, sneaking into my slumber and confusing me before I even wake. When I finally surface sluggishly from the ocean of unconsciousness, I have no idea where I am.  That few seconds of confusion and frantic attempts to determine where I am and what the hell is going on leaves me befuddled and foggy all morning, wandering like a zombie, glassy-eyed and disengaged.

When I wake disoriented and confused to a blaring alarm clock, I start my day in a horrible mood. Being obligated to leave a warm, cozy bed to go to work or school doesn’t put me in the best mood to begin with, and being unceremoniously jerked out of sleep by an alarm clock just adds insult to injury. Having to use an alarm clock also often means one isn’t getting enough sleep, which certainly doesn’t contribute to a pleasant demeanor and can-do attitude. Waking to an alarm puts me in an awful mood, like a cat that’s been dropped into a pool.

I despise waking to an alarm clock because I forget my dreams, become disoriented, and start the day in a foul mood. Waking up on time isn’t worth all the trouble that comes with using an alarm clock, so I have thrown the alarm clock out. Instead, I go to bed in time to get plenty of sleep, and rely on my internal alarm. I find that when I firmly tell myself what time to get up before I fall asleep causes me to wake up five to ten minutes earlier than I intended, allowing me to wake naturally and ease into the day. My internal alarm hasn’t failed me yet.

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Big Girl

December 9, 2008 at 3:37 pm (personal narrative)

I used to be fat. I’m not talking about baby fat. I was not a little bit chubby or pleasantly plump. There wasn’t more of me to love, and I didn’t have big bones. I was, according to the CDC guidelines for calculating body mass index, officially and undeniably obese.

I have always been hyper-aware of my size. When I was a kid, my superhuman child’s metabolism and tendency to spend all day, every day running around outside playing Indian kept me underweight. As a child, I swelled with silent pride when people commented on my bird-like arms or my grandmother pushed another helping on my plate, asking what my parents were feeding me. I was fascinated with the minimal amount of water I displaced when I climbed into the tub. There are pictures in my scrapbook of me standing in front of the mirror, trying on the clothes of everyone in my family, and solemnly studying my reflection. My parents thought it was cute, but I remember just trying to figure out where I fit in, with my child’s belly and twig-thin legs. My mother always assured me that my weight was something I would never have to worry about.

“You’re so tiny, bubba. My little stick baby.”

Although I, like most of the girls in my class, began to fill out around seventh grade, the big changes didn’t come until my freshman year of high school. Due to a combination of crippling panic attacks and a severe serotonin deficiency, I found myself on a prescription drug called Risperdal. Turns out, a common side effect of Risperdal is extreme weight gain. In three short months, I was forty pounds heavier. I spent the next two years popping Risperdal, sitting sedentary, and stuffing my face, getting larger and progressively more uncomfortable with my body.

Eventually, it was two much. My self-loathing was at an all time high. I couldn’t wear anything in my closet without hating the way I looked, and I wouldn’t even leave the house, because I didn’t want anyone to see me.  I probably shed enough tears to fill a few bathtubs during this period of my life.

The turning point came at a doctor’s appointment. It was a routine check-up, but I had been freaking out for days. Seeing the doctor meant stepping on a scale. I was left alone to wait and worry in the sterile examination room. I peeled my clothes off slowly, growing more and more disgusted with my reflection in the mirror. Every piece of clothing I removed showed me another thing to hate about myself. I slipped into the scratchy paper gown, grateful to have something to cover up with. I listened to the soft murmur of bustling nurses through the door. When it came time to climb onto the scale, I took a disinfectant-scented breath, steeled myself, and stepped up. My throat tightened, and my stomach knotted. My eyes stung with tears and I was doing my best not to cry. I was huge. A whale. Disgusting.

I couldn’t stand it anymore. The next two years were the closest to Hell I’ve ever come.  Trying to lose weight was infinitely harder than dealing with being fat. I would starve myself for days, subsisting on fruit and cereal, and lose tiny amounts of weight, due mostly to dehydration from intake restriction. Then I would lose self-control and binge until I had gained back every pound I shed and then some.

I finally had to find a happy medium. Starving myself completely didn’t work. I stocked up on low calorie foods and did everything I could to avoid the kitchen, opting instead to lock myself in my room and do anything but eat. I have no doubt I lost too much weight too fast to be healthy, but I don’t care. I’ve kept it off, which is all that really matters to me.

Even though I’ve lost the weight, I still feel fat. Although I no longer wear a size fifteen pants and I can walk up two flights of stairs without stopping to catch my breath, I still feel the same. Inside, I will never feel normal. I will always look in the mirror and see a fat girl, which is something I just have to learn to deal with.

I recognize that I haven’t been healthy, not about gaining the weight, or about losing it. I’m still not healthy about my weight. If I wake up and weigh myself, something I do every morning, and I’m not happy with what I see, I think nothing of skipping a couple meals or going to bed hungry. This isn’t something I plan to change. As much as I know dealing with my insecurities this way isn’t the best thing for me, I feel like it’s worth it. We do what we have to just to get by, no matter the situation. I’ve been on the other side of fat, and I never want to go back.

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Why Weed Would Work

December 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm (persuasive)

Many people dream of a day when they can pull their car into a gas station, jump out, run inside, and buy a pack of joints. Despite its prohibition, marijuana is one of the most popular drugs in the country. Originally, marijuana, along with alcohol, was made illegal in the moral furor surrounding prohibition. However, when people came to their senses and repealed the eighteenth amendment, marijuana was forgotten. Possession and sale of cannabis has remained illegal ever since. The government’s War on Drugs, courtesy of Ronald Regan, spread propaganda that, despite a shift in public opinion about marijuana use, made it political suicide for any candidate for office to mention the legalization of marijuana. Thanks to prohibition and government propaganda, marijuana, a drug with many medicinal and recreational uses, has remained illegal, despite a large population of citizens who would like to see that change. Marijuana should be legalized and regulated in the United States.

Marijuana has never been proven to be more harmful to the body than legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol.  Alcohol, the most popular drug in the country, has been directly responsible for more deaths in the United States than marijuana. Despite what the government’s War on Drugs propaganda would have you believe, there has never been a recorded human death from cannabis poisoning in the history of the world. According to 2003 statistics released by CBS News, from 1996 to 1998 alone, there was an average of 1,393 deaths per year attributed to alcohol poisoning, just in the United Sates (Yoon, Stinson, Yi, and Dufour). The effect of marijuana on the lungs is often compared to that of tobacco, but while marijuana has only been shown to create lung tissue changes that precede cancer, tobacco has been proven in multiple studies to directly account for the development of lung cancer. Although a single, faulty but widely publicized study conducted over twenty years ago suggested that marijuana adversely affects brain structure, more recent studies have definitively proven this false. However, it has been proven that alcoholics have lighter and more shrunken brains than non-alcoholics. Alcohol abuse has also been shown to contribute to brain decay that can eventually to dementia, something marijuana has never been shown to do.

The legalization of marijuana would decrease drug crimes and arrests, allowing law enforcement resources to concentrate on more serious problems and directing taxpayer money towards more significant troubles in our communities.  In studies released by the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws, it was shown that a single marijuana arrest for something as minor as possession of a gram costs taxpayers about $10,400 in police, legal, and correctional fees. Imagine what a difference $10,400 could make in an elementary school classroom or after-school program. The cost of marijuana arrests to taxpayers averages out to about $7.6 billion annually nationwide. $7.6 billion is hardly chump change when the national debt increases at an average of $3.87 billion dollars per day (Hall). From 1997 to 2007, marijuana arrests rose over 25% (St. Pierre). Despite the increasing arrests, marijuana trafficking continues on the black market, proving that arresting people for marijuana is not a deterrent. People are always going to smoke weed, and it would be wise for the government to jump on board and use the marijuana trade to benefit everyone through regulation.

The regulation and taxation of marijuana is a viable option to increase government revenue and help fund government programs such as health care and education. Numbers released by the Tax Policy Center showed that in 2006 alone, the alcohol tax revenue was $138,810,000 and the tobacco tax revenue was a whopping $1,178,244,000. With marijuana use increasing every day, the taxation of cannabis sales has the potential to be a huge earner for state programs, something that’s very important when our country is sinking farther into debt every day.

A common argument against the legalization of marijuana is that if the drug were legal it would be more accessible for children and adolescents. However, as it stands now, surveys of grade school students show that they consider marijuana easier to get than tobacco or alcohol. It stands to reason then that if we legalize marijuana and the only people selling it are licensed, much like the sellers of alcohol and tobacco are, the threat of losing their license and business would prevent them from selling to minors, the same as it does for alcohol and tobacco retailers. Traditionally, the group with the most objections to the legalization of marijuana is right-wing Republicans, people who received most of their drug education through D.A.R.E. programs in middle school. Since D.A.R.E. is a program created as a part of the War on Drugs, their information can’t exactly be taken at face value. It’s been proven time and time again that D.A.R.E. uses propaganda, scare tactics, and misleading information to frighten children into believing that using drugs, even once, will kill them, while ignoring the dangers presented by legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.

The legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana are all viable and sensible steps for our country. Compared to alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is the lesser evil. Why then, are we wasting valuable time and precious resources arresting people for using a drug that never should have been criminalized in the first place? We should be concentrating on important matters, like our failing economy, failing health care system, and failing ability to compete in a global market. Stop wasting time arresting people who just like to smoke a doobie after a long day’s work, and worry about something that matters.

Works Cited

Gordis, Enoch. “Imaging and Alcoholism: A Window on the Brain.” About.com: Alcoholism. 2008. The New York Times Company. 5 Nov. 2008 <http:////alcoholism.about.com/cs/alerts/l/blnaa47.htm&gt;.

Grinspoon, Lester, and James B. Bakalar. Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1997.

Hall, Ed. “U.S. National Debt Clock.” U.S. National Debt Clock. 4 Nov. 2008. 5 Nov. 2008 <http:////www.brillig.com/debt_clock/&gt;.

St. Pierre, Allen. “Marijuana Arrests For Year 2007.” NORML. 15 Sept. 2008. The NORML Foundation. 5 Nov. 2008 <http:////norml.org/index.cfm?group_id=7698&gt;.

“Tax Policy Center.” Tax Policy Center. 2008. Urban Institute and Brookings Institute. 5 Nov. 2008 <http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/index.cfm&gt;.

World Health Organization. “WHO Project on Health Implications of Cannabis Use.” Schaffer Library of Drug Policy. 2002. DRCNet. 5 Nov. 2008 <http:////www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/general/who-probable.htm&gt;.

Yoon, Young-Hee, Frederick Stinson, Hsiao-Ye Yi, and Mary C. Dufour. “Accidental alcohol poisoning mortality in United States, 1996-1998.” BNET. 2003. CBS Interactive Inc. 5 Nov. 2008 <http:////findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0cxh/is_1_27/ai_112937520&gt;.

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bowling for columbine

November 20, 2008 at 5:48 am (in class journal)

As I watched Bowling for Columbine, all I could think was it was a bit hypocritical. I agreed with pretty much everything Michael Moore was trying to say, but I’m not sure I agreed with the delivery. He kept talking about how Americans are trained to be afraid, and all we see on the news is designed to make us fearful, but it seemed that he was using scare tactics too.

While I agree with Moore’s viewpoints, I don’t think this movie is going to convince anyone who doesn’t. The delivery is too patronizing and harsh, and the fact that some of his information isn’t factual doesn’t really help. It’s a good movie to watch and be like “right on”, but if you don’t agree with what’s being said, Bowling for Columbine isn’t going to change your mind.

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i break copyright laws. regularly.

November 20, 2008 at 5:43 am (opinion)

So, I watch a lot of movies and television online. I’ve become quite adept at finding websites to watch new movies and recent tv episodes. This afternoon, I had nothing to do, so I watched Zach and Miri Make a Porno and Role Models.

I’ve never downloaded a movie in my life – way too illegal. I just watch them streaming, that way the only person to get in trouble are the websites that host the content, usually sites like megavideo.com or crazy japanese sites that I can’t read, like youku and toudu.

I really don’t feel guilty about this. I mean, I suppose I’m doing something wrong… these movies are in theatres and whatnot to make money, but I just can’t bring myself to feel bad. The entertainment industry is so messed anyway, and going to see a movie at a theatre is such a ripoff. Anyway, they still make money from me… if it’s an exceptional movie, I’ll buy it when it comes out, but I’m not going to go a pay out the ass to go to a theatre and see a movie, and I don’t feel guilty about that.

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10 favorite websites

November 20, 2008 at 5:24 am (lists)

fartparty.org – diary comic by julia wertz, gone slightly downhill since the move from san fran, but funny and bittersweet at the same time

asofterworld.com – serious and contemplative photo-comic, darkly humorous

popsugar.com – celebrity gossip is my vice

epiclylaterd.com – party scene photo journalism at its best

collegehumor.com – funny pictures

pandora.com – sweet internet radio, great for finding new music

facebook.com – # 1 time waster/stalker tool

neave.com/game/nblox – i will dominate you in tetris. no joke.

etsy.com – site to buy and sell handmade clothes, etc.

free-tv-video-online.info – watch new tv shows and movies fer free

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proposal eight

November 9, 2008 at 9:00 pm (opinion)

I’m incredibly disappointed to see that proposal eight passed in California. I truly don’t understand why gay marriage is a problem for anyone. I don’t understand how allowing two people who love each other to marry violates the “sanctity of marriage”. Gay marriage isn’t hurting anyone. If you don’t believe in it, don’t get one, but don’t deny other people the right to commit to someone that they love because you want to force your views down someone else’s throat and tell them how to live their lives. Frankly, it’s none of your business who they marry… please, just butt out.

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pet peeves

November 9, 2008 at 8:50 pm (lists)

1) backseat drivers

2) when people don’t clean up after themselves

3) misspelled words

4) drew barrymore

5) lateness

6) people who constantly talk on the phone

7) rudeness to waiters, cashiers, retail workers, etc.

8 ) commercials

9) when my jeans get creases from the dryer

10) people who bump into you when waiting in line

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OBAMA

November 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm (opinion)

I believe the largest change this election will bring about is how the rest of the world views the United States. As long as George W. Bush has been in office, the US has been a joke. It’s pretty hard to work with other countries when the entire world hates your president. The response to Barack Obama’s election has been overwhelmingly positive across the globe. Internationally, people see the election of Obama as a sign that Americans are more open-minded and ready to address international issues than they have ever been.

On a personal and political level, I’m not sure how “change” might play out. I was most excited to see where Obama would go with the national health care situation, and how universal health care could work in the United States. Unfortunately, it looks like with the state of the economy and the recent near-crash of the stock market, we are going to have to wait and get our finances in order before we can address the dire state of health care in our country.

On a social and cultural level, I think the election of Barack Obama is a sign that a shift is happening in the mindset of the American people. I don’t feel this very often, but today I am proud of my country. I’m proud that enough people in my country could overcome race, misconceptions, and straight up ignorance (“his middle name is Hussein… that means he’s a Muslim, right?”) and do what’s best for our nation.

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