The review that dare not speak its name

Trevor Lynch rather quixotically attempts to deny the obvious nature of FIGHT CLUB in a review of the movie on Unz Review:

Is Fight Club gay?

If Fight Club does not admit women, does that mean it is gay? The Catholic priesthood does not admit women. Does that mean it is gay? Uh-oh. There may be a point here. We can at least say that the movie plays with this question.

Fight Club is a bunch of men rolling around half naked and punching each other. Some people find that . . . suggestive. Tyler declares: “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Everyman seems to be sexually jealous when Tyler hooks up with Marla. He resents Marla for intruding on his relationship with Tyler. He also clearly feels jealousy of Tyler’s affection toward Angel Face, which sends him into a psychotic rage. [Note: Chuck Palahniuk revealed that he is gay in 2004.]

But in a deeper sense, the answer is obviously no. Tyler and Everyman are both heterosexual. Beyond that there is a matter of principle: It does not make men gay to want to work or socialize with one another while excluding women. Women have a great deal of power in pre-historic and post-historic societies because they are relatively egalitarian. Women have a great deal of power over children in all societies. Thus if boys are to mature into men, at a certain point they need to separate themselves from their mothers. They need male-only spheres for that. This is much easier, of course, when they have fathers. But when fathers are absent, they can find father substitutes. One such substitute is the Männerbund. Or, in less fancy terms, the gang.

Bonded male groups are not just necessary for the healthy maturation of boys. They are what create and sustain human history and culture. Almost every important institution until quite recently was sex-segregated. Institutions probably work best that way. Feminists, of course, want to break down those barriers, and one of their techniques is to insinuate that any institution that excludes them must be somehow “gay.”

I posted a comment at Unz in response to this review, based in part on my 2008 essay that was published in You Do Not Talk About Fight Club: I Am Jack’s Completely Unauthorized Essay Collection by BenBella Books.

The reviewer, Trevor Lynch, is not only flat-out wrong in declaring FIGHT CLUB not gay, he almost certainly knows very well that he is wrong.

No one who has read the book can escape the flaming homosexuality of the club that dare not speak its true name. The book begins with an gay oral sex metaphor and ends with a homosexual gang bang metaphor. In between, it provides an analogy for what it is doing to the unsuspecting reader: hiding its flaming gayness in plain sight, in the same way that it describes a theater technician slipping in a frame of a slippery red penis to tower four stories over the unsuspecting heads of a movie audience.

This subversive act serves as a markedly apt metaphor for the way in which many fans of FIGHT CLUB still remain oblivious to the fact that it is a screaming, panting, writhing ode to the custom of men having sex with other men, as well as the way that an attachment to this custom tends to supersede all other aspects of individual self-identification.

Even if we set aside all of the author’s metaphorical signaling, it requires a truly superficial viewing of the movie to fail to note the multitude of similarities between the fight clubs gathering anonymously in dark places and the shady, quasi-illegal bathhouses where gay men have gathered for decades.

“Because I’m Tyler Durden and you can kiss my ass, I register to fight every guy in the club that night. Fifty fights. One fight at a time. No shoes. No shirts”

But no shortage of “service.” By this point, it should be obvious that good ol’ Tyler is not talking about “fighting” every guy in the club. In the end, the movie is little more than a gay man’s fantasy that asks the question: “how great would it be if Brad Pitt was super gay?”