The movie Fight Club and Kalle Lasns book Culture Jam, both make strong accusations towards the evolving flaws of current American culture. In their own unique ways, this film and paperback express an alarming concern for growing consumerism, the power of the media, and the control popular culture and conformity have over us as individuals. They also propose very different approaches to how we can cure America of these cultural diseases, even if it is taken to extremes.
Consumerism is one of the more discussed topics in Fight Club and in Culture Jam. In the beginning of Fight Club, Edward Norton is portrayed as a compulsive buyer whose life revolves around catalogs and popular belief. This was to show how many Americans spend their hard earned money, not on beneficial items but instead on yin-yang coffee tables. Kalle Lasn also shares these beliefs. In one chapter titled, The End of the American Dream, Lasn describes how we went from a happy and motivated society, to one that would rather watch the Home Shopping Network than go outside and ride a bike.
The media is another topic that was tackled by both. Lasn views the media as a corporate reassurance that doing what we [the corporations] say is good and beneficial. The media has become an evil tool for brainwashing current and younger generations to conform to popular culture. This message was also comprehended in Fight Club, but in this movie, the media is used against itself. In the pivotal scene where the group puts an enormous smiley face on a skyscraper, the news coverage replays their accomplishment over and over for the entire world to see their oxymoronic unification of a happy face and corporate terrorism.
Lastly, this movie and book also attack peoples unquestioned acceptance of popular culture. They both center their offense on the idea that most of us are sheep. Or maybe we are really lemmings, because (no matter how absurd) whatever we think everyone else is doing, we want to conform to the norm for fear of being ostracized (this is how the media becomes manipulated for evil; they make us think this is what everyone else is doing, so we will think hey I want to do it too).
While the film Fight Club, and the book Culture Jam both acknowledge the misuse of media to create consumerism that poisons popular culture, they both take different means to solving these issues. Culture Jam makes a more realistic argument to solving Americas cultural vices, but more importantly there methods (for the most part) are legal. However Fight Clubs means of resolution are a bit more radical. Well actually theyre very radical. Death threats, vandalism, public bombings, and a host of other highly illegal activity become Fight Clubs trademark (kind of a national shock treatment). I feel that both of these mediums portrayed an important message about where our culture is headed. Unfortunately, I do not feel any honest reform will be made until we hit rock bottom.