(This is going to contain spoilers for Fight Club. If you haven't seen it and want to, go watch it. The Internet will still be here. If you haven't seen it and don't want to, I'd recommend it. But since I'm probably the last one on my friendslist who actually hadn't seen it, I'm not gonna bother to LJ cut. You've been warned.)
"You're trying to overload that poor interjection with too many shades of meaning."
I shut off the DVD player and looked toward the voice. The buddha was sprawled out on the back of the couch, almost exactly like a cat. "Does Brad Pitt know you have his jacket?" I asked.
"He's beyond such concerns now."
"Hang on, isn't that leather? Can't that get you kicked out of the Buddhist club?"
He pulled one of the sleeves up to his nose and sniffed it. "It's fictional imaginary leather. No animals were harmed in the making of this jacket. Why do you care, anyway?"
"Nerd. Internal consistency is one of the things that irritates me," I said, then realized something else, "Wait, did you try and do the haircut too? It didn't work. You look like Rod Stewart."
"Appearances are as much illusion as everything else in the world. Perhaps more," he said.
"That's... Wait, I don't care enough to go through this whole argument again. If you stopped by on your way to a con dressed as Tyler Durden, hey, good for you."
"There's more than a few parallels."
"Yeah, yeah, imaginary friend. Only to the best of my knowledge you're not flying around the country selling soap. But that's not the point, either. Fight Club's a good movie. A very good one. And I can see why so many people went all OMG AWESOME at it. There's been a couple things I've read and seen lately like that, where I know if I'd seen or read it sooner, when I was a teenager or so, it would have blown my impressionable little mind. But now I'm not quite so impressionable, and I've run into other things that blew my mind at the time, a lot of which covered the same kind of stuff. Or maybe I've just seen some of the flaws in their philosophies."
"Or you're just old."
"I feel old sometimes. But mid-twenties isn't old. It's really not the age, it's the living. Or lack thereof. Which is sorta the other thing that's bugging me. Like, a lot of the reason I never saw the movie before was because so many people were squeeing about it. And partly because I don't watch that many movies by myself, I usually waste my time on the Internet now. But there's things I avoided not so much because they were bad, but because they were popular. A lot of the people who liked things just because they were popular were assholes. Still might be, I don't know what happened to most of them. I don't know if it was more a matter of being like them, or a matter of admitting the might be right about things once in a while. You never want your enemies to be right, it's so much more annoying."
"It's so much more satisfying to write your enemies off as always wrong and deluded and evil and stuff, isn't it?" he asked, "Because then you don't have to listen to them or deal with them as human beings."
I raised a finger at him. "Or you could just lump them all in as illusions and deluded by the illusionary world."
"So, yeah. I was wrong. Not that Tyler Durden was right either. But that's not even the point, because there's other things kinda related, that I've been thinking about, that I realize now I was wrong about when I was younger, and now I feel stupid about them. So I end up sounding like an old man or something, talking about how young and stupid I was."
"The folly of youth becomes the wisdom of maturity," the buddha recited.
"Sure, why not? Being wrong sucks though. Especially when it's something you've been wrong about for a long time, because then you're used to thinking that way, it's habit. Your thoughts are used to running that way. And you, well, I, have no practice in other ways, so I'm gonna keep being wrong and screwing up."
"That was extraordinarily vague," he said, "Which probably means it's about women. I'm deliberately obscure to make people think, what's your excuse."
I shrugged. "Partly, I said, but women are hardly the only thing I've been wrong about. I wish it were. I wasn't being vague, I was being expansive. Or generic. Whatever."
"But what about the movie?"
"It was good. I've been told there's two groups of people who like it, ones who like it for the testosterone cult fight part, and ones who 'get it.' I'm not sure that's the only things people can get out of the movie though. The thing is, the Fight Club stuff started out as a decent idea. Not for everybody, obviously, but yeah, a bare-knuckle brawl would probably do a lot to make all the other little hassles of everyday life seem a lot littler. But Tyler Durden's an asshole. A charming and mostly likable asshole, but still an asshole."
"Are you sure you're right?"
"Sure enough," I said, "Yeah, I could be wrong. But just because I can be wrong doesn't mean I am. The whole corporate homogenization and making people into wage slaves part I can totally understand. I had the sad realization I'm a sales-drone for a megacorp the other day. And I can totally empathize with the trickster side of things, throwing things into confusion to make people think and knock them out of their routines. But that's not where his ideas went, he wanted to get rid of civilization. Thought it took away everything that made men men or something. They even spelled it out in the movie. When he started ranting about climbing up vines growing on the Sears Tower, and looking down and seeing women doing laundry on an abandoned superhighway."
"Would you really mind seeing vines on skyscrapers, or superhighways abandoned?"
"No, I wouldn't. But here's the key thing. They'd be there on purpose. And the superhighway would be abandoned because we'd have moved on to something else. None of this primordial primitive romantic bullshit. Civilization all the way. Sure, there's romance to the hunter-gatherer life, but that's all it is, romance. In real life, it pretty much sucked. There's a reason the main thrust of history has been to get as far away from the 'natural state of man' as possible."
"Paraphrasing Gaiman and Pratchett again?"
"Yup. They got to me first, before Mr. Durden. The movie makes it clear he's totally batshit insane, though. Even aside from the split personality part of it. I guess he's supposed to be all the repressed stereotypically male parts, with violence and sex and taking on the whole world. But having just that's no more balanced than having none of it. I think I'm thinking about this too much, because it's late at night."
"Do you think you're supposed to think about it?"
"I think the studio doesn't care as long as they get paid. Hey, are you going to do anything other than ask questions every so often so it doesn't seem like I'm monologuing?"
"What would you like? Do you want me to tell you to hit me? A final metaphorical showdown to represent the conquest of your inner something-or-others?"
"Nah," I said, "I'm not that impressionable. Besides, when it does come down to metaphorical inner conquest thingies, it's not going to be a fight. Or maybe by then I won't even have to bother. I'm definitely not going to bother tonight, though, it's late and I'm tired. You can find your own way out."
He was still sprawled there when I flipped the lights off. Like that meant anything.