Hi Chuck, I'm writing a dissertation on hypermasculine violence in Fight Club and American Psycho and was wondering if you had any thoughts on whether the societies in the novels condition men to regress to a kind of primal state when dealing with an identity crisis, with the character's sense of reaffirmed or potentially discovered when acting in a hypermasculine way? Also I'm a huge fan of Haunted and have just finished Pygmy. How do you create new taboos to write about?
Would you consider a different theory? As your super-kinetic 20’s end, you long for something to anchor and settle you in the world. You want to live a deeper life, focusing on one skill or passion. To me ‘Fight Club’ was like the three-minute hate in Orwell’s 1984: It left participants capable of chilling. Any painful injuries further enabled them to give their lives to quieter more-profound pursuits.
In a similar way, this is why the narrator in ‘Invisible Monsters’ shoots off her face. Destroying her beauty forces her to develop more-lasting aspects of her intellect.
What makes up intelligence?
Certainly not the b.s you’ve been taught in elementary school. “Work hard and you can go anywhere.” No, do you want to know what really makes up how well you’re going to do in life?
It’s how much money your parents make. Look at all the top, elite schools. 90% of their kids come from rich families. And then you have that 0.05% from a rural hut in Africa that they’re going to blow-up like crazy, but that’s not the reality of it.
Think about it. Parents with money are going to be able to give their kids private tutors if needed, and positions in better schools with better educations.
And as for the others who don’t have as much money? They probably live in run-down neighborhoods, where they’re more prone to bad influences. You think they care about school, when they probably have to work extra hours to support their parents to pay the rent?
You are always going to have stories about that one kid that went from rags to riches, but that’s only a handful of lucky people. Most of the time, this is how the world goes.