Fight Club and Marxist Media theory. Objective. Understand how to analyse Fight Club from a Marxist media perspective. Marxism. At the heart of Marxism, there is a dialectic – a binary opposition – a linked pair of ideas.
At the heart of Marxism, there is a dialectic – a binary opposition – a linked pair of ideas.
On the one hand, you have capitalism, the ideology wherein gaining capital – or wealth – is the basis for society. This leads to society being hierarchical. On the other you have communism, where the common good, and equality, are the basis of society. This leads to society being homogeneous – similar at all levels.
Marxism says: SMASH THE SYSTEM!
1. Individuals have sold their capacity to make other people money – generating capital or wealth - by working in a job. This is an unfair relationship as their employers make more money from it than they do.
2. The people in power seek to maintain this relationship because it means they have a way of controlling everyone (they can always refuse to pay you).
3. If only we woke up and realised this was the case, and changed things in our favour, the world would be a better place entirely.
Marxist media theory says that we cannot trust the media, because they are run by the people in power, and therefore maintain the status quo, rather than being agents for change.
The Media are agents of capitalism.
They present a popular viewpoint and ignore unpopular ideas.
Films / TV programmes are repetitive to give the public what they want – soothing them, and keeping them in fear (news?) – while telling them to buy things.
They amplify society’s ideals, and reflect what the world is like. In this sense they cannot ever ‘change’ anything.
It is up to the individual to reject the media and seek out his/her own opinion.
Fight Club is the gun to the head of consumerist America. The pistol's cocked. Say what you will about the explicit nature of the fight scenes, or director Fincher's tendency to trip up his storytelling with his fixation on stylism -- he wants us to stop reading the J. Crew catalogue, turn off "Must See TV," and ask what the hell our lives really mean.
- Robert Zimmer
The narrator is a card-carrying member of capitalist society, until he rejects the aspirational ideals of his way of life and chooses their binary opposite.
Before, his home was a perfect replica of a catalogue. After, he squatted in a derelict house in a run-down area of town.
Before, he cared about his appearance and wore designer clothes; he fitted in. After, he took care to disfigure himself; he stood out.
Before, he was a nameless individual. After, he had invented multiple personalities for himself.