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Geek fight club old news, still stupid

The "Gentleman’s Fighting Club" of Silicon Valley isn’t new. Formed a year after "Fight Club" hit theaters, the machismo-frustrated band of Menlo Park employees first started meeting and beating each other in a garage back in 2000. (Right around the time "Fight Club" came out on DVD, no doubt.)  

The "Gentleman’s Fighting Club" was even the subject of a hyperbolic AP profile back in 2006. But now there’s a short documentary called "Uppercut" circulating on the Internet, so everybody’s talking about it again like it just happened.  


What you get in "Uppercut" is 8:41 minutes of not entirely unsympathetic men whining about their privileged existence and the shame that comes from bearing injuries incurred from cubicle life — bad backs, carpal tunnel, etc., — as opposed to honest, butch injuries that come from whomping on one’s colleague with a computer keyboard while wearing a fencing mask. "I hit a guy in the face and I’m alive," says one guy in the "Uppercut."  

"We’ve created art that never existed before. In that garage."

Art = "Me get endorphin rush!" (For those without a garage and/or willing co-workers, similar thrills can be had by slamming one's hand in a car door.)

Stupid "Fight Club": A good book, a fine movie, and the "Catcher in the Rye" of the 21st century, in which men unfamiliar with abstract thought over-identify with a protagonist whose own self-delusions and immaturity are a major plot point. These dudes interpret Chuck Palahniuk's book — oh, who am I kidding — the MOVIE as a manifesto about how to live.

In "Fight Club," the narrator, who suffers from insomnia and self-imposed emasculation through consumer culture, meets mysterious stranger, Brad Pitt. (Tyler Durden. Whatever.) Together they start a flight club in which men beat each other as a form of super butch radical psychotherapy.

This evolves into a fascistic assault on society, with the belief that violence is the only way to change things. Eventually the narrator has the self-realization that he and Brad Pitt (fine, Durden) are the same person, and that what he’s been doing is majorly messed up.

Overall, "Uppercut" doesn’t give the impression these doughy dudes with excellent income are developing any more self-awareness than the high school students who launched  fight clubs to get in touch with their inner Brad. Unlike the movie however, there is no "first rule" of fight club, just two "guidelines": One, don’t cripple your friend.  And two, don’t make anyone cry.

Not for nothing, this seems antithetical to the danger these guys claim they're looking for. If you want a brush with death, climb rocks or do Tony Horton’s "P90X." (Frankly, a few of these dudes could stand some of the latter). The only difference between the guys playing "Fight Club" and medieval LARPers (Live Action Role Players) is that the dudes in the kilts with the wooden swords at the park know they’re playing a game.

But then I’m a chick. What do I know?


Helen A.S. Popkin is always going "blah blah blah" about the Internet, then she asks you to follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter … because that's how she rolls.