David Fincher’s film Fight Club premiered on October 15, 1999.
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It’s been twenty years since we last gathered in the dank basement of Lou’s Tavern to pummel each other into glorious, sweat-drenched, and blood-stained pulps. Twenty years since we found redemption in destruction; salvation in annihilation. Twenty long years since my perfectly chiseled torso first adorned the walls of countless college dorms across America.
Now, I wish I could say I’m happy to see you, but I’m not. Most of you are softer, weaker, more… laden with children. You’re tangled up with mortgages and monthly subscription services and idiot-proof single-meal recipe ingredients shipped directly to your doors. You even — despite my best, most explicit efforts — still shop at IKEA.
Well, that ends (again) tonight.
Irvin here has granted us access to Lou’s basement — thanks, Irv — and I’ve come up with a few updates to bring us into the new millennium. I trust you still remember the original eight rules, so let’s talk new material.
The 9th rule of Fight Club is: You do not post about Fight Club.
The 10th rule of Fight Club is: YOU DO NOT POST ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.
You do not “like,” “follow,” or “double-tap” posts about Fight Club. You do not “share” them. You do not “tag” them.
You do not discuss Fight Club on Facebook, Twitter, Insta, Tumblr, Snapchat, TikTok, Slack, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google-Care-Bear-Friend-Zone, or whatever other messed-up time-suck is next in this impossibly confusing trend machine you call “the Internet.” I may be a silver-screen Adonis who has permission to refract his perfect image all over social media, but if I see any of you “pin” a mirror selfie tagged, “I built this,” so help me God, I will hunt you down and make you confront your deepest existential fears.
On that note…
The 11th rule of Fight Club: No cell phones during a fight.
Don’t be smart with me. I don’t mean silence your phones. I mean turn them all the way off.
Frankly, I don’t get it. Last time I was here, I had to dial a stationary rotary phone to place a call. Now you’re all reachable any place, any time. You type out entire treatises on pocket computers while standing in line for macadamia milk lattes. You only use payphones for public urination.
Joke is on you, fellas. Everywhere should be a place for public urination, not just payphones. But I digress. You’ve been zombified by technological tyrants and you’re loving it. Worse, you keep looking down at your notifications right in the middle of my speech! Put them away. Better yet, throw them away.
12th rule: Respect Lou’s neighbors and keep the noise down, especially on weeknights.
Listen. Capitalism is nothing without colonialism, and real estate development is nothing without entitled gentrifiers. The only reason we didn’t get shut down immediately after our first fight night is that we were in a neighborhood so scary and deserted, only a certifiably insane bomb-maker would think of hanging out there. But today, I can’t spit without hitting a spanking new, plastic condo. Hell, half of you bastards are living in them!
So, at least until I’ve had time to establish my influence over the newly-minted neighborhood association, please yell quietly.
The 13th rule: This is a non-smoking venue now, fellas.
What do you want me to say? That things haven’t changed since the indoor smoking days of the nineties? That it wasn’t weird that an anti-capitalist like myself was so bent on supporting one of the most obviously compromised businesses in history?
Sure. I’ll call your administrative assistant and tell him to ping you about that. I’ll add it to your iCal. In the meantime, if you absolutely have to buy into that “look,” you can use the designated smoking area five feet from the back door, cowboys.
14th rule! Anyone without health insurance should probably just go home right now.
I honestly don’t know how any of you managed to afford getting your faces fixed back then. At least half of you were working service jobs or had health coverage so poor you were better off dead than hospitalized. I obviously benefited from having no true corporeal form, but the rest of you? Trust me, no doctor is gonna fix you up pro-bono.
15th rule: If you haven’t completed the social consciousness readings I assigned, you can’t fight this week.
What, you’re all brawn, no brains? How’s that working out for you?
It’s simple: Check yourself, then wreck yourself. See, I realized that somewhere in my attempt to liberate us from the claws of materialism by inviting nihilistic anarchy into our lives, I completely overlooked the way said materialism has been historically enmeshed with racial oppression and sexist power dynamics. Obviously, I have a lot of father issues and a lot of mother issues — just look at the way I talk and behave. But the exclusion of women from our group doesn’t mean we should stop considering gender altogether. Who even invented gender? Some catalog-maker, probably.
And the 16th and truly final rule: If this is your first night at Fight Club… you’ve got to sign a waiver.
I don’t know how you didn’t sue me up a river last time, but this time I am on it. We all know it’s been one too many years since any of you climbed a set of stairs without losing your breath and you’re bound to pull a muscle before you land your first blow. I myself don’t believe in the legal system, but I’m sure some of you still do. I’m not taking chances.
So. Gentlemen… Who wants to start?