A poetic comparison of the visions of male refusal of insignificance as portrayed by Jack in ‘Fight Club’ (1999) and Lester Burnham in ‘American Beauty’ (1999).
I put the gun in my own mouth, a trick intended to fully thwart the onslaught of all accusations that I am not the chosen speaker of the dead.
I pull the trigger.
The bullet enters at the base of the BACK of my skull, as in an execution, much to my surprise, to the surprise of no one.
It occurs to me that I am Tyler Durden.
I am talking to myself again.
Scene: Jack: Smugly sauntering out of being sent home from the office for coming in with a blood splattered shirt and teeth out of place. His necktie slung loosely around his throat like a telltale noose emblematic. In voiceover, he drolls. “Yes these are bruises from fighting. YES, I’M OKAY WITH THAT. I… AM ENLIGHTENED.”
American Beauty: Having caught his wife with another man, her panicking and pleading with him ‘Lester… Lester…’ Lester responds, in the same triumphant tone:
“I don’t have to listen to you…
Tomorrow will be the greatest moment of Raymond K. Hessels life. Jack and Tyler have put a gun to his head and threatened him with execution if he doesn’t start living precisely in accordance with his dreams.
He runs off.
He’ll never see the assassin coming.
He is the human sacrifice.
Getting high with the catering crew out back the American dream, his wife gets plowed in a cheap hotel, and the anarchists plot to take down the entire scaffolding of the world.
This is your life. And it’s ending one minute at a time. Keep your eye on the Cheerleader.
I’m sure this is headed somewhere.
Right! You midlife crisis, space monkey applicant. You gas-pumping generation. You came to stand on my porch for a reason.
You’re putting up with it for some personal rose you hope to bloom upon your frazzled suburb culdesac heart.
It’s about the gun, isn’t it. You like the taste of smoke, I imagine, having smelled it round your ears all your life.
And you are right, it does lick your cheek like a genius.
Holding it in your hand, is your fondest memory, and deepest desire. It doesn’t matter wherefore the bullets fly.
Spacetimes curvature need not concern the man who never looks back. Or who seeks connection with no infinite rectitude.
What matters is the plan. To follow Tyler to the quick, glorious moment of his design to marginalize the future in a wager against possible past, -blast down the holy chalice of corruption- and settle ALL scores. Make it pay, this game of chance.
All men know this, having drunk of woman. That beauty is power. And to love something is to destroy it.
Necessity. Evil. Some manner of equation.
Or, passing glance at the car in the drive, quietly purring, as you blow off steam in the garage. The things we do, to keep the machine running, that is our duty, our meaning, as men. WE support the whole system. We ARE the scaffolding.
It is ours to destroy.
This is the cycle.
Women are too much of the earth to understand the ways of God.
We bring lighting, she is the river.
We are the reign.
This is why the story ends with the snake’s tail in its own mouth. I shoot my mouth off, and the bullet comes back and strikes me down.
She is the interstices to the journey. We wound ourselves making the world perfect.
There is no God, and we are all HER prophets.
They say the magick is going out the land. The rivers are going dry.
Things are coming a head. I hear it all the more, for the whispers which never leave the lips of the undead. They rise on billboards and pump sludge opposing the drown drain, city wide in bubbling fountains, all corrupt. Stalk the school with weapon drawn, security guardian. We must quell the rage that creeps in undetected.
I lie down to sleep, and my door falls off its hinges.
The Moon is outside, and she is hungry.
And an army of transgender werewolves… steal all the silver from my cupboards. I chase them into the night, howling.