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On November 18, 2000, a group of my friends and I returned home from my birthday dinner at a local steakhouse. Upon our arrival, it was suggested that we watch the movie Fight Club. As if it were meant to be, we discovered that Fight Club was to be aired in a matter of minutes on one of the multitude of Home Box Office channels. We proceeded to watch the movie, and as the credits rolled, I felt as though I had been granted the gift of vision after years without sight.
Through its creative and inspiring evaluation of traditional social norms, the 1999 film Fight Club has had a monumental effect on my life. To most, Fight Club is merely a movie with a hearty amount of violence and a Hollywood heartthrob, Brad Pitt; however, upon closer inspection, this cinematic masterpiece is so much more. This film brings to the attention of the viewer just how materialistic mainstream society has become. To quote Brad Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, “Murder, crime, poverty; these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with five hundred channels, some guy’s name on my underwear… Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes; working jobs we hate so we can buy [junk] we don’t need.” This movie opened my eyes to just how inept, unconcerned, and unaware the world and its inhabitants are. It disgusted me that the typical American was far more concerned with their own personal accumulation of wealth then they were with the civil wars that regularly slaughter tens of thousands of Africans on a regular basis. This is not to say that I live the epitome of a post-materialist life; rather, I prompted myself to reduce the importance of material possessions in my life while also making great strides towards becoming aware of the current events occurring in the world around me. People should know that leaders such as Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi have passed laws in their countries to allow for personal criminal impunity; people should know that there are tyrants like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who seek to stifle the “inalienable” rights of others that we Americans hold so dear; and people should know that famine, disease, and drought kill thousands on a daily basis around the world, but they do not.
It may very well seem absurd that something as simple as a movie could inspire such all-encompassing changes within a person, but there is a particular eloquence in this abstract film’s dialogue and plot that indubitably changed who I am as a person and how I view the world around me.
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