Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jack's Complete and Utter Lack of Surprise

So I finished another book, and normally I would do a book review about it, but that would mean breaking the first rule of that book.

The funny thing is, I don't even have to mention that book, but by saying that I would break the first rule by talking about it, a good majority of people will know exactly what it is that I am referencing.

For the minority who are completely lost, yes, I am talking about Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. All inpronouncable last names aside, let's get to it.

The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.
The second rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who does not know those two sentences. They exist both in the book and film adaptation. Even those who have neither read nor seen Fight Club have heard these rules, and even applied them elsewhere. ("The first rule of Tumblr is you don't talk about Tumblr." The list could go on and on.)

So what is it exactly that makes something such a phenomenon? How does one create something that sticks in someone's mind and becomes a well-known classic?

For Palahniuk, it started as a short story. Surely he did not know the success it would bring. And there really is no set of rules to write something that ends up on everybody's shelf. There is no formula for writing lines that people can quote word for word. Quite frankly, it sucks for anyone who wants to be that creator, but that's just the way it is.

But maybe, just maybe, if we read up on these kinds of novels and watch these kinds of movies, we'll pick out the things we like an incorporate them into our art, in ways that work and add up into our own success.

So Fight Club... what's the verdict?
Read it, if you want. Maybe just to say that you have read it. Maybe just so that you can understand. How about the movie? Watch it, but only if you have two hours with nothing else to do.