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“I am Tyler Durden”

August 28, 2010

Judy Terwilliger–who brought up the movie “Fight Club” during our discussion of Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy last Sunday (as part of our Adult Ed series on life as a pilgrimage)–just posted the following in response to this post summarizing that discussion of O’Connor, Percy and “Fight Club.” (For those who haven’t seen the movie, Tyler Durden is the main character of “Fight Club” who organizes underground fist fights among anonymous grown men simply for the visceral thrill of it.)

Fight Club was on TV Friday night. I was as shocked by the action and narrative as I was the first time I watched it probably because I kept thinking, “OMG, I recommended this flick to my church study group.”

A quote of O’Connor, in the context of wondering about my fascination with the film, has led me to an epiphany of sorts. In writing about her own work, O’Connor explains, “The stories are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism. I believe there are many rough beasts now slouching towards Bethlehem to be born and that I have reported on the progress of a few of them, and when I see these stories described as horror I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror.”

When I watched Fight Club for the first time with my son, he was at the age where a loving mom might imagine that his body was now inhabited by an alien—a rough beast “slouching towards Bethlehem to be born.” That night watching the film with Thomas, I had “hold of the wrong horror”. In many respects, I am Tyler Durden. That was my epiphany.

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