5 Ways People Missed The Anti-Consumerism Message Of Fight Club

Tyler Durden: Consumerism
Posted on: November 10th, 2013

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Along with Capitalism and individuality, one of the main messages of Chuck Palahniuk’s book (and the David Fincher directed film) Fight Club is anti-consumerism. Here’s 2 lines from the book:

You buy furniture.  You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life.  Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled.  Then the right set of dishes.  Then the perfect bed.  The drapes.  The rug.  Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.


It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything

And here’s a line from The Dust Brother’s “This is your Life” music track, spoken by Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden:

you are not your bank account,
you are not the clothes you wear
you are not the contents of your wallet
you are not your bowel cancer
you are not your grande latte
you are not the car you drive
you are not your fucking khakis

Now, unless I’ve taken this up wrong, all this is implying that the more you define yourself by what you own and how much you have, the less likely you are to ever figure out who the fuck you are……and if your life is being controlled by a sexier version of yourself (although that might only be the case for “Jack”)

fight club jack

Apparently I have “Issues”

So it was with some disbelief and shock that I found out you can buy all of these products based on the film:


5. Fight Club soap


fight club soap
Seriously, what is the point of this? ‘To get clean’ you might say but come on, if you’re going to fork over the money for movie memorabilia, then you’re unlikely to actually use it to wash. Chances are you will have it out for all to see, as if to say :

“Look at me. I’m an individual. The messages of the movie, Fight Club, really resonates with me and I’m a cool guy”

You’re not. You’re using unnecessary merchandise from a movie that despises unnecessary merchandise to show the World who you are. You, sir, are a tit!

Here’s an alternative. The whole soap storyline is mainly there to explain how Tyler has any money and also as a stepping stone to explain how he makes napalm. Get yourself a  napalm bomb and leave it out for people to see. It’ll definitely say:

“Look at me. I’m an individual. The messages of Fight Club resonated with me so much that I know the contents of my house are worthless, and to prove it, I’ve left fucking Napalm on a wobbly shelf which could fall off and destroy everything here!”



Just make sure you’re not in the room when it finally falls…..or at least have “Ride of the Valkyries” playing.

4. Fight Club: The Game


Fight Club Coverart
I can see the thinking behind this. ‘Hey, people liked Fight Club, let’s make a Fight Club game’. We could do one about a man’s growing schizophrenia getting the better of him until his alter ego threatens to take over his life….. or we could knock out a cheap ‘beat-em-up’.

Guess which one they went for?


fight club

Press QUARTER CIRCLE, FORWARD + PUNCH to perform Tyler’s”Chemical burn to the hand” finisher.

Now this game pretty much tanked as far as I’m aware (apparently it had a shitty control system, had terrible graphics and wasn’t fun). Besides these issues, which are already pretty big issues for a game, it basically takes a film with some strong (if misguided) messages and tosses them aside just so you can see bones break in X-Ray vision.


fight club game

Also, what the Hell is with Jard Leto’s boobs?


The fighting in the movie is a way for “Jack”/ Tyler to regain some control in their lives, not see who could win 2 out of 3 matches and have the best finishing move.

This was a terrible idea. Probably thought up by guys who watched Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus” and ignored the whole Racism/apartheid angle and thought they should release an “Invictus” Rugby game which has a Morgan Freeman voiced commentory.


invincible: morgan freeman/matt damon

“You either get busy scrummaging or you get busy trying!

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Author Info

Dan is just a guy who worked in a video store and took the compliment/insult that he was like “Randal” from “Clerks” a little too literally. Thankfully Bad Haven has given him the chance to blurt out his internal monologues on nerd culture. Proclaiming his love for the things he likes (which include books, movies, games, comics) and utterly destroying the things he doesn’t (pretty much everything else). Dan is an editor, reviewer and feature writer for Bad Haven.

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  • i am jacks online username

    Also its hard to associate consumerism with tattoos. From wikipedia “Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-greater amounts”. Buying something as service, from an artist, to display on your body permanently just doesn’t fit.

  • Robert Paulson

    If you think that the main point of the soap storyline was to give a reason as to why Tyler had any money, then YOU missed some of the pretty important messages of the movie/novel.

  • azazel

    ironically, a dvd of the movie itself is an example of one of those suffocating consumer articles. paraphrasing tylers famour quote i would add “you are not your DVD collection” as thats one of the main possessions people tend to define themselves by.

  • http://www.dead-logic.com Bud Uzoras

    I was right with you all the way up to the tattoos. I have tattoos, and while I’ve never considered getting a Fight Club tatt, I could see myself doing so some day. Especially the snowflake quote. Tattoos are a form of self-expression, and not all who get ink do it to “assert their individuality.”
    Even for those for whom tattoos are indeed an expression of one’s individuality, it helps to refine that self-expression with the seemingly paradoxical notion that no one is special. I am who I am, and no one is exactly like me, but that doesn’t make me special or better.
    But then, I take it you don’t have any tattoos… or maybe just one small one that you got a long time ago.
    Yes, anticonsumerism is one of the messages of Fight Club. But, honestly, though, where do we draw the line? I love Fight Club, and so I bought the movie. Oh dear lord, I’ve succumbed to consumerism! Not really. It’s not a bad thing to purchase stuff you like. That’s not the message of Fight Club. The deeper message of FC is that the stuff we own ends up owning us. Money and stuff (even silly Tyler Durden dolls) are fine. When we measure our worth or our overall contentment based on what we own, that’s where the problem lies.

    • Phil

      Great post, totally agree with you, especially the last part when you said money and stuff are fine, its when we start defining ourself by that stuff that the message begins to become ironic.

  • Apoc

    Just to further sully the good name of Fight Club – the video game actually featured Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit as a ‘guest star’.

    Seriously. Although this did tempt me to buy it. I wouldn’t mind seeing his legs break in X-Ray vision.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dan.murray.562 Dan Murray

      Yeah, I’d heard that. It might have been worth the price just to do that alone.

      But you’d definitely have had to have been Meat Loaf’s Bob just to make it all the more humiliating for him!