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The Case for Fight Club

(Alberto Ayora) —

Stop me if this sounds familiar: Bro One and Bro Two are staring each other down from across the room, possibly brandishing blunt objects of some kind and murmuring to themselves.  This tension has become so normalized within the group that it’s hardly addressed anymore.  Whenever anyone has mentioned resolving this obvious conflict, they’ve answered, “What conflict?” and changed the subject.  Meanwhile, you roll your eyes and share sympathetic glances with another friend across the room, the both of you entertaining the same question: Why don’t they hurry up and fight already?

A pacifist would say, no.  These two bros need to make a coffee date, discuss misinterpreted feelings, possibly cry while holding each other and sharing a new found mutual respect.  But, who actually believes that any of that is going to happen?  It’s much easier to run away.  I’ve lost count of all the people I avoid on a daily basis, sidestepping someone in a hall, taking the long way around some dorm.  The sheer volume of polite/awkward smiles I’ve doled out or encountered in a single day is staggering.  I call it the wall of teeth.  It’s a series of psychic barriers built around people, an impenetrable fortress of avoidance.  Sometimes, you need something radical to break through something so entrenched, and that radical solution is contained in two simple words:

Fight Club.

Think about it, how badly have you ever wanted to resolve something with a simple punch to the face?  You’ve never acted on that impulse, because you’re a “civilized” human being and such things are below you.  Not to mention, you’ll probably get thrown in jail.  But, Fight Club is beyond any of that.  It’s a safe space—a mutual understanding between two adults that they can beat the living hell out of each other until every suppressed word/emotion between them is out in the open and exorcised from their bodies.  Clean slate, shake hands, go get a beer.  Gandhi would be proud.

Fight club in the street

We should do that more often…

Now, an unenlightened individual might argue that such violence would only escalate the conflict.  However, I would remind them this fight is no random act.  These two people came together for the sole purpose of finding some sort of resolution, since everything else has apparently failed.  They needed something profound to break through all that evasion; that special something just happened to give one of them a concussion.

Sometimes, all that’s required is a little prolonged physical proximity to resolve a situation.  The Dagara people of West Africa would keep two conflicting parties in a ritual circle until they’d worked through their respective problems.  They couldn’t leave until it was done.  Most everything in the village was stopped until the issue was resolved.  The social cohesion of the community was far too important to take half measures.

Only, things don’t stop in our Western society.  Personal relationships can’t be allowed to inhibit the achievement of goals.  God forbid!  Much easier to shirk off troublesome individuals, keep your eye of the prize and buy yourself that nice car.  That is, until someone puts a scratch on that car and you suddenly beat them over the head with a tire iron.  It’s the inevitable outcome of never having faced those problems, said those words, gotten out that aggression.  It’s what happens when you kill people with civility.

Don Cheatle knows what I’m talking about.

About Alberto Ayora

He is Keyser Söze. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

2 comments on “The Case for Fight Club

  1. Fuss
    October 9, 2012

    I see what you’re saying here, that a fight between two individuals should be considered a means of resolving an issue between them… but I don’t think you can compare it to the fighting that goes on in the movie Fight Club.

    The people who fight each other in Fight Club have nothing against one another, they are only fighting to see what they themselves are made of, not to resolve issues.

    Tyler Durden: “How are you supposed to know anything about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”

    One could argue that each individual is coming to fight club to solve his own issue(s); For example, the narrator who started the fighting which became Fight Club in order for him release his pent up emotions, which after released allowed him to sleep. But again, I don’t think you can say it was used in the film as a remedy for two people to resolve an issue.

    • Alberto Ayora
      October 9, 2012

      I don’t think the movie was about resolving personal issues between two people either. However, I was referring more to the concept of A fight club, as opposed to THEE Fight Club. That being said, is the idea itself feasible as a means of resolving conflict? Well, I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the idea.

      I used to box when I was in high school. Every once in a while, our trainer would pull two people together who’d been having issues at the gym and force them to fight–with gloves. He’d supervise, of course, to make sure that no one was too seriously injured. Ultimately, you were left with two young men exhausted and bruised, panting and leaning on the ropes.

      “Alright,” our trainer would say. “You got that out of your system? Am I going to see anymore of this? Because you can just keep on fighting until your both unconscious for all I care.”

      Then, they’d shake hands and it was done. They weren’t allowed to let conflicts linger and disturb the rest of the gym. They were forced to face each other and work out whatever anger they felt. After all the blows, they might be left feeling that the conflict was sort of silly to begin with and not worth the trouble. Often, the fighters would become friendly. My point is that too often people at Amherst let things linger and prefer to avoid things ad infinitum. These feeling can just eat away at them after a while. Granted, I was just using an exaggerated example to point out the issue. However, if it took two people fist fighting in the freshman quad to force individuals to look each other in the other eye, I’m not certain that I’d be opposed to the idea.

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2012 by in Film and tagged , , , , , .

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