The 80’s had a clear aesthetic. I can’t imagine that the people living at that time were thinking to themselves at that time “my god, we are so corny right now!”, but that is how many people feel about it retrospectively. I find all this fascinating. The stuff we find great now will look awful in a few years. My go to example of this is usually the film ‘the crow’, but I think that I have blogged about that before. The long and short of that anecdote is that I have rewatched the ‘the crow’ and found it camp and pretty laughable, despite it being a movie i watched obsessively as a kid.
Well, ‘the crow’ can back down, I have a new example. And this time I think I am ahead of the curve on this sentiment. I think soon everyone is going to feel this way about this movie.
The movie is ‘Fight Club’.
The much beloved Fight Club is about a disaffected person who, unable to find meaning in a capitalist consumerist society, begins beating up first himself and ultimately others, until he becomes an anarchist and does a terrorism. This more or less describes both the movie and the book that spawned it, but for the rest of this post we are going to focus on the movie. Why? well, one scene in particular.
There is a famous anti-consumerist scene in the movie, where the camera pans over the protagonists apartment and all the furniture sprouts IKEA labels, and the narrator cries woe over the fact none of this stuff is authentic. Woe is him.
I think that resonated with all of us. We wanted authentic lives! We didn’t want meaningless IKEA crap! We wanted to be counter-cultural, anti-establishment, all that jazz. This was really speaking to us – well, minus some of the crazy stuff.
Fast forward to now. I’ve lost count of how many recessions I have lived through. I can’t afford IKEA. I can’t afford much of anything. I am not alone. Many people of my generation still live at home with their parents. Inauthentic apartment filled with crap? Yes, please! If only.
The protagonist of fight club works a horrible, soul-grinding job that gives him no satisfaction except the fat, fat paycheck. The job literally has the protagonist turn real human beings into nothing but numbers. But again, he does have a really nice apartment. In 2023, we still have the horrible jobs, but we don’t get the IKEA apartment.
I want the IKEA apartment. There, I said it.
I have a soul grinding job. I often reduce humans to numbers, and do other horrible things. But I don’t get the money. I want the money. I will likely never retire. The funds aren’t there. As I write this, I don’t have it all that bad compared to other people these days. Still, I watch the IKEA scene of Fight Club and a practically get an erection. And I don’t think I am alone.
In short, the meaninglessness of life is something we all have to cope with the. But lack of money is a true curse. We are all going to be looking at Fight Club soon and wondering what the fuck that spoiled shit was moaning about.