Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Mental Trick: On Fight Club 2, Grant Morrison, and the Dark Enlightenment Redux

AN: For some of these comics, the pagination is reset at the end of each issue. As such, the in text citations will be done as follows: (Authors’ Last Name, Issue Number (if applicable), Page Number(s), Panel Number(s)).

Sections:
I.               The Only Sensible Way
II.             Abstraction and Radiant Chaos
III.           Short, Boring, Insignificant Lives
IV.            Powers and Destinies
V.              The White Lie
VI.            Hello Babies
VII.          I Was Angry
Rereading Final Crisis makes it so clear that “comics history as a wizard duel between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison” makes perfect sense, and moreover it might just be the only sensible way to interpret ANY of this stuff.”-Sam Keeper, 2017
In 1996, author Chuck Palahniuk wrote Fight Club, a novel about, among other things, the relationship between toxic masculinity and fascist patriarchy through the lens of mental illness. In terms of plot, the nameless narrator tells us of his relationship with a man named Tyler Durden, an anarchist who starts Fight Clubs (where men can punch each other in the face while nearly naked) throughout the US, which grow into sleeper cells for his cult, Project Mayhem. The twist is that Tyler and the narrator are one and the same, ending with the narrator shooting himself to symbolically kill Tyler. It was adapted into a motion picture by David Fincher in 1999 and was acclaimed when it arrived on DVD, inspiring many people to start their own Fight Clubs. In 2015, Palahniuk, along with artist Cameron Stewart, created a comic book sequel to his novel, which was aptly called Fight Club 2: The Tranquility Gambit. The sequel tells a purportedly simpler story of a semi-dysfunctional pair of parents trying to save their son from a madman with plots of world destruction. To help them along the way, Chuck Palahniuk inserts himself and his editors into the comic to push the plot forward when it gets stuck.

There are many ghosts that haunt this text (including the reaction to both Fight Club and Fight Club), but one in particular holds the key to understanding what Palahniuk is doing with his comic. In her reviews of the series, Emma Houxbois cited several instances within Fight Club 2 where the influence of noted comic writer and professional wanker Grant Morrison was felt. Specifically, she talks about the way in which Palahniuk inserts himself within the narrative to do the opposite approach of Morrison’s self-insert characters, particularly in regards to how Palahniuk portrays “…himself as being dragged into the story by late night calls from Tyler and the kidnapping of one of the dogs owned by a woman in his writing group. When Marla walks into the writing group Palahniuk is reading aloud a version of that scene where Marla enters the room and asks him if he’s God, but she doesn’t do that in this conversation.” (Houxbois)
 
Fig. I: We are not our thoughts.
(Morrison and Quietly, 1, 22, 3)
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 6, 24)
This is of course not the only invocation of Morrison within the text; in fact one could simply create a collage of images from Fight Club 2 and connect them to various works of Grant Morrison (most obviously, Fig. 1 where, if one reverses the dialogue in the Morrison panel and reads it phonetically, they both essentially say the exact same thing). But there is more to the text and its relationship with Grant Morrison than a mere interest in similar ideas. Indeed, to anyone familiar with the work of Morrison, the elevator pitch of a person with mental issues trying to salvage a life in an ever growingly mad world might sound eerily familiar. It would be easy to spend this essay going through the anxiety of influence and highlighting where these influences show up the most. But that wouldn’t answer the question of why use this anxiety of influence over, say, the work of David Fincher. As such, Fight Club 2 uses its anxiety of influence towards Grant Morrison (via nicking one of his basic plot lines (among other things)) to reflect the ways in which society, both culturally and politically, has shifted because of the release of Fight Club and Fight Club. But to do that, we must first understand what exactly a Grant Morrison story is.
We live in a world of abstraction and radiant chaos, and meaning and symbolism is the mental trick we use to make sense of it all. Life is performative living, and we all have our own masks to wear and plays to act out.”-Josh Marsfelder, 2016
Or rather, what kind of Grant Morrison comic this is, and to find out what that is, we must first look at a work by Grant Morrison himself. In many ways, Fight Club 2 has the feel of Morrison’s early work, with its interest in direct metafiction and bravado. One could argue that Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery1 would fit the bill, as it also deals in themes of the power of ideas and masculinity. However Fight Club 2 deals in the grotesque in ways that Flex Mentallo does not. One Morrison work that does explore the grotesque in a similar manner as Fight Club 2 is that of The Mystery Play.

Released in 1994, The Mystery Play is notable for being considered the most willfully obtuse text in the entirety of Morrison’s oeuvre.  As Greg Carpenter describes in The British Invasion! Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer, “The book is a carnival for the intellect—combining literary playfulness and subtlety, implying thousands of meanings while dictating none,” (Carpenter, 246) a more celebratory reaction compared to his compatriot, Patrick Meaney, who claims ”The Mystery Play has some interesting themes and exciting moments, but ultimately it fails to coalesce into something more than the sum of its ideas.” (Meaney) This is despite having a relatively simplistic plotline compared to most of Morrison’s work: an actor in a small town representing God in a play has been murdered and a detective must solve the case.

On the one hand, this confusion could be due to the structure of the text. Rather than a straightforward detective narrative where each clue leads into the next until a criminal is revealed, The Mystery Play takes on a more anthropological approach wherein “…everything that happens in the vicinity of a murder has some significance” (Morrison and Muth, 23, 3). Such things include a perverted mayor who has sex with a mannequin, a minister dealing with the realization that God is dead, a town that’s on the brink of madness, an abandoned house in the middle of the woods, and the detective himself, who is not who he says he is.

Fig II: The Devil's testimony.
(Morrison and Muth, 33, 2-5; 34, 1)
Combined with Morrison’s status as “the confusing author” within the comics community, and it becomes apparent why people have found this to be a discouraging text to follow on a surface level, despite in actuality being a very simple story to follow. Large chunks of the story, for instance, are hallucinations on the part of the detective. Take special note to Fig. 2, where the detective interviews the actor playing the devil. Note especially the first panel in the given sequence, where the detective is portrayed with the proportions of a small child while still appearing to be an adult, indicating aspects of his mental state within the text. Also, over the course of the sequence, the actor turns from a human being (Morrison and Muth, 33, 3) to the literal devil (Morrison and Muth, 34, 1). As such, we are clearly dealing with a person with some level of mental health issues as our viewpoint character, and thus some scenes (like the one with the woman who has eyelashes for eyes eating a giant spider (Morrison and Muth, 44-45)) are to be read as such.2

Fig III: False Detective.
(Morrison and Muth, 57)
Alternatively this confusion could be due to the art of the book. Unlike most works written by Morrison, where even works like The Filth take on a more pop aesthetic3, The Mystery Play has a painted quality to it. Unlike most painted comics such as the work of Alex Ross that take on a realist approach, Jon J. Muth’s art takes on a more expressionistic style. Take for example, Fig. 3, where the two lead characters are walking to an abandoned house. The characters themselves appear to be drawn with the least amount of details. They blend into the background, like a drop of paint. The world that surrounds them is murky and low on color (a quality shared by Fight Club 2, though in different ways), as befits a mystery about who killed God. Note also the framing of the characters within the panels. Where the panels remain basic boxes, the characters are framed in every panel save the last one at odd angles. This is especially notable in panel 3, which has the characters framed in a crooked window that blots out the edges of the panel and turns it into the panel. This is especially notable considering what is being discussed in these panels: the detective is talking to a reporter about why he is involved in the case. It turns out that he isn’t a detective at all, but rather an escaped mental patient who is using this murder to figure out who he truly is. “I was somebody else once. I… I… don’t think I was a very good person” he claims “I’m trying to put the smashed pieces of that bad man back together again, to make a good man. If I can solve the murder it’ll prove I can do it.” (Morrison and Muth, 57, 1)

And that line is where the main crux of a Grant Morrison story lies: one of the core narratives of his work is that of a person with some mental issues (be they literal, like his Batman work, or metaphorical, as is the case of Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight) working through them via throwing themselves into a strange mad world. This can lead to various outcomes ranging from the optimistic “Sod this Sci-Spy bollocks, I just want to take care of my pet cat” ending of The Filth to The Mystery Play’s more cynical “You’re a fucking pedophile and child killer who needs to be crucified.”
“Humans just lead short, boring, insignificant lives, so they make up stories to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. They want to blame all the world’s problems on some single enemy they can fight, instead of a complex network of interrelated forces beyond anyone’s control.”-Raven Molisee and Paul Villeco, 2014
Fig. IV: "Sebastian."
(Palahniuk and Stewart,
1, 2, 3)
Fig. V: "Tyler."
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 1, 23, 5-6)
So how does all of that apply directly to the plot of Fight Club 2? To begin with, let’s look at our nameless protagonist, predominately referred to as “Sebastian” (fig. 4), and his alter ego, Tyler Durden (fig. 5) (note the distinction in how they look. “Sebastian” looks to have aged poorly, balding prematurely, and paler due to the placebos he’s taking. Tyler, meanwhile, looks to have not aged in the 10 years he’s been gone, has the hair of an Aryan hippie, and has the square jaw of a superhero). The thing about Tyler is that most readings of the text of the original Fight Club novel and the motion picture Fight Club have him be a split personality of “Sebastian.” In the sequel however, for reasons we will get to, Palahniuk opts for Tyler to be more of a metaphor for a mental illness than a straightforward mental illness.

Fig VI: ...in the sky with Diamonds.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 5, 19, 4)
There are, of course, multiple ways the comic coveys this metaphor. Most obviously (besides Tyler) is in the way we see the comic. For the most part, Cameron Stewart organizes the panels in a straightforward manner of rectangles and other basic shapes, however they are typically overtaken by various household items such as roses, pills, and sperm, which in turn cover up various pieces of exposition and images. Take, for example, fig. 6, wherein various members of Project Mayhem, the cult Tyler started ten years back to bring about a massive social change, have taken blood-thinning drugs before heading to a museum where they will slit their wrists upon various pieces of art as a form of protest. One of the pills they have taken cover each of the members faces, dehumanizing the characters from us, and in turn showing us how a person like Tyler sees the rest of us. Where Muth warped his semi-realistic style towards more surreal imagery and off kilter angles to highlight the protagonist’s mental issues, Stewart destabilizes the logic of the comic page itself by removing information the “script” would have provided.

Additionally, Fight Club 2 argues that Tyler Durden is a sentient idea that has infected generations of “Sebastian’s” male ancestry into being sex-crazed hedonists who would breed over countless generations to create the purest form of Tyler Durden4 (Palahniuk and Stewart, 8, 2, 1-2). Aside from being one of the methods through which Morrison conveys the concept of mental illness, this is also an example of a mystical concept Morrison coined known as the “Hypersigil.” “The ‘hypersigil’ or ‘supersigil’ develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama and plot. The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension… The hypersigil is an immensely powerful and sometimes dangerous method for actually altering reality in accordance with intent. Results can be remarkable and shocking.” (Morrison, 21)

The Hypersigil is a concept that Palahniuk tangles with throughout the comic. Though only implicitly, as when confronted with the idea of Tyler essentially being unkillable in the book (because of course Palahniuk is a character in this book, this is a Grant Morrison pastiche after all), he responds by banging his head on the table and declaring “I can’t. Try removing Santa Claus from the cultural landscape” (Palahniuk and Stewart, 8, 2, 4-7). In fact, this is not just an idea Palahniuk leaves to the world of the comic, as there is an explicit attempt to differentiate the comic characters from those of the film (even in parts that are explicitly invoking scenes from the film (Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 25, 2)). None of the returning characters have the likenesses of Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf (though that one’s easy considering he has no head in the comic), Jared Leto (also easy because he looks like Jared Leto should look like if we lived in a fair and just world: “His skin was encrusted with dark-red scabs, each barely clinging to cover an oozing sore. This is who Sebastian would be if he’d gone to Fight Clubs each week for the past decade” (Palahniuk and Stewart, 4, 20)), or Rachel Singer (perhaps the easiest since she looks like a child with Progeria Syndrome in the comic). By rejecting the surface level invocations of actor likenesses, Palahniuk is able to highlight the ideas that the hypersigil of Tyler Durden represents.

Fig. VIII: The psychogeography
of Tyler Durden.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 4, 4-5)
And yet, the comic also explicitly invokes the film at several points. One example of which can be found in fig. 8, wherein Marla and Chloe, “Sebastian’s” wife and a fellow faker of terminal illnesses respectively, go out to find where various possible emanations of Fight Club could be (including Bite Club, Film Club, and Raw Fuck Club), each of which, while not being what they needed to find, were (as a handy note informs us) inspired directly by the original Fight Club (“Wait-- There was a book?” one of the characters, who bears a striking resemblance to friend of Palahniuk, Kelly Sue DeConnick, asks (Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 13, 8)). But a more direct example comes during an explanation of Tyler being a sentient idea (a synonym for a hypersigil) with deadly results (as told via a parable called “Werther Fever,” where countless young men committed suicide after reading the book The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Palahniuk and Stewart, 7, 6-8)), which is via a showing of Fight Club and what it inspired (fig. 9), thereby showing the power of the sigil. For the hypersigil is an idea so powerful, it infects everything that surrounds it. It’s like a song that’s stuck in your head despite having heard it only once. But you still think about it to this day, and it has an influence on what you do. This of course asks the question: Who would be infected by the hypersigil? Or, in other words: What kind of people would go around and start a Fight Club?
I stole Vauung’s name because it was unused, on the basis of an exact qabbalistic entitlement. Yet, at least ‘up’ here, Vauung still confuses itself with me, with ruins and tatters. This might change. Names have powers and destinies.”-Nick Land, 2007
Fig IX: The psychocronography
of Tyler Durden.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 7, 9, 1-3)
Coined by computer scientist and real person, Curtis Yarvin under the pen name “Mencius Moldbug,” the Neoreactionary movement is essentially the intellectual end of the alt-right. They argue “…for things like the reestablishment of absolute monarchy (Moldbug suggests Steve Jobs would be a good choice of kings) and slavery (he also suggests that black people are genetically predisposed towards making good slaves).” (Sandifer, Haunt) The movement is notable for their successful ventures including hijacking a minor literary award5, terrorizing various women over the course of a few years6, and electing a real estate mogul into the office of President7. It germinated over the course of 30 years on an segment of the Internet largely dictated by men whose idea of interesting stories consists of the technical specs of spaceships and massive amounts of violence and vile cruelty done by childhood heroes like Batman, Captain Picard, and Pinkie Pie.

Aside from Moldbug, their main intellectual through line comes in the form of academic philosopher turned Cthulhu cultist, Nick Land. Unlike Moldbug, who views the movement in a more “utopian” light (such that he famously coined the phrase “Cthulhu may swim slowly, but he always swims left” (Yarvin) to highlight that his cause is just), Land sees the movement as not so much “… ‘correct’ in any sense, but rather a sort of cynical pragmatism that views reactionary tendencies as an inevitable force that can be harnessed productively for his larger goal of accelerating toward the bionic horizon where we all grow face tentacles.” (Sandifer, Haunt) In short, the neoreactionary movement is perhaps the definitive proof that the imagined future we are living in isn’t so much 1984 (as argued by people who have never read 1984), The Handmaid’s Tale (as argued by more sensible people), or Neuromancer (as argued by less sensible, but somewhat more accurate, people), but Southland Tales8. Indeed, the medium of film appears to be a massive influence upon the movement, as shown by its two most obvious invocations. The first of which, and perhaps the most blatant, would be that of The Matrix9.

But perhaps less obviously, and more pertinent to this essay, would be the influence of Fight Club. The influence comes from the film’s “assertion” that society is flawed and needs to be destroyed; specifically, elements that try to suppress the more masculine aspects of men like punching each other. This leads to a violent rebellion on the part of the members of Fight Club, culminating in the destruction of western capitalism. Additionally, there’s the film’s framing of Marla as an invading force of femininity into a male dominated space that needs to be eradicated, which appeals to the neoreactionary mindset (Olson). Though the neoreactionary movement isn’t completely a sausage factory, the appeal of society not giving you what you want and responding with cruelty is an apt, if simplistic, description of one aspect of the neoreactionary movement.

It is this reaction towards Fight Club that pushed Palahniuk to write Tyler Durden into a sentient idea in Fight Club 2. Though not explicitly stated in the text, one gets the sense that the fact that many people saw Durden as a revolutionary symbol to tear down western democracy terrified (or at least alarmed) Palahniuk. And so he wrote a story about how the idea of Tyler Durden infected the world and turned it into what it is. Durden recruits several newer members via a video game company known as Rize or Die, much like the army does (Palahniuk and Stewart, 3, 20, 1-4), expanded the organization to include female members10 (Palahniuk and Stewart, 4, 9-11). Additionally, there is talk of how they will be kings of this new world (Palahniuk and Stewart, 8, 14, 3) with the implication that the imperfect, lesser races will be exterminated (Palahniuk and Stewart, 9, 22, 2). To do this, Tyler plans to launch a series of nukes across the world, killing everyone, save his acolytes, protected by a series of salt mines. This will leave a fascist paradise sprung from the collective imagination of the neoreactionaries (well, without the face tentacles, but it’s still very super villain evil).

Of course, given that the neoreactionary reading of Fight Club is perhaps one of the poorest surface level readings you could make of the film, this is all a feint. In actuality, Durden simply takes the structural and surface level appeal of the movement (a tactic used in the past to create Fight Club in the first place out of the structural and surface level appeal of support groups, but with lots more punching (Olson)) to lure the kind of people such an organization would appeal to, “…like a roach motel. Genocidal Neo-Fascists check in, but they don’t check out” (Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 9, 4-5). This is accomplished by having the castle11 under which the salt mines were blown up, causing a cave-in that would kill everyone hiding beneath them. This, in turn, makes the comic’s argument one in which neoreactionary politics must be exterminated.
"While things and connections should be encouraged to become clear, they should not perhaps hold out expectations of becoming, once and for all, 'perfectly clear'- an idiom which has all too often served as a code for the white lie."-Avital Ronell, 1994
And yet, Fight Club 2 doesn’t kill everyone. In the final chapter of the comic, after Palahniuk explained to his friends and fellow writers his idea for the ending, a swarm of angry Fight Club fans that are not terrible people (mostly women, queer folk, and other weirdos who actually got that the film wasn’t on Tyler’s side or at the very least have compelling redemptive readings of him), come over to Palahniuk’s house to collect his head. They liked Durden because “He’s a sociopathic killing machine… But in his nihilistic way, Tyler is a big-time optimist.” (Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 12, 11) And, there’s an appeal to a film that ends with the toxic ideal form of manhood being shot in the face, leading to a more healthy form to inherit the world, newly freed from the chains of late capitalism’s excesses just as most Morrison stories offer endings where the world is a better place after all is said and done (even if the protagonist is met a grisly, if justified, end).

Fig XI: Oh no love,
you're not alone!
(Morrison and Quietly, 4, 18)
Palahniuk retorts that Fight Club had a different ending. There was no great apocalypse that razed the world, no flaccid penis cut in between frames, no Pixies song: just a person who thought he couldn’t be redeemed, being forgiven by those he hurt and given the opportunity to be better. The response of the crowd is surprise at there being a book in the first place, much to the chagrin of Palahnuik’s editors. The fans and Palahniuk’s cohorts agree to forgive Palahniuk for his crap ending and make a better one, where everyone lives on to be better people12.

In a way, this is how most Morrison stories end as well: an appeal for the belief that no one is unforgivable (fig. 11), that we can all be better. Sure, I personally prefer the ending Palahniuk provides in theory (mainly because I don’t care for racist assholes who want to kill me for being, among other things, autistic (that, and watching Dick Spencer being punched in the face is hilarious)); thematically the “true” ending works better for this story because the alternative is too rude to bare. In the end, Chuck Palahniuk gets the last word on this whole sordid affair, which implicitly state (in his own words) that we are all at the whims of the ideas/hypersigils that surround us:

(Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 23, 3)
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of babies- ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”-Kurt Vonnegut Jr., 1965
Fig. XIIa: Man vs Technology
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 1, 12)
Fig. XIIb: Man vs Author.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 26)
Then again, there’s fig. 12 to consider. In the final pages of the story, Palahniuk reveals that Marla’s pregnant with Tyler’s child, indicating the truest form of Tyler, plausibly free from the chains of toxic masculinity and neoreactionary ideologies. Tyler is ecstatic after hearing the news, looking forward to the immortality humans are allowed. However Palahniuk, a bit too cocky for his own good, cites a deleted scene from Fight Club (that was in the original novel (Palahniuk, 59)), where Marla says, “Someday, I want to have your abortion.” (Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 25, 2) He even tells this to Tyler… before he’s gotten around to writing it. Tyler retorts by shooting his creator in the back of the head, evoking a previous page where “Sebastian’s” head explodes with items of modernity. Unlike with the previous page where the narration complained about “Sebastian’s” mundane life, the narration now complains about Palahniuk and “All his secondhand set-ups, his yard sale pay-offs, and cheap Ikea plot twists…” (Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 26, 1) The superior readings of Fight Club trump the “authorial” intent of an easy ending where everyone is forgiven. Instead, all things are subject to change. Redemption comes not from being forgiven, but from working to better yourself afterwards. Ultimately, these are the consequences of working from a Grant Morrison structure: change is inevitable and will eat the old. But there’s a level of optimism to change within a Morrison text. For if the structure of a Morrison story has anything to say about being compared to Fight Club 2, it’s that the new idea of Tyler Durden will be better than the old one.13

“Of course I was angry. I didn’t understand how anybody could look at the world and not be angry”-William Blake, 2014
Fearful Symmetry returns (for real this time) next week.

Endnotes:

1) An autobiographical work about Morrison’s first bit of magic where he turned a bottle of pills into M&Ms.

2) As for the murder of God, note the lines “Sometimes I look at the world, you know, and wonder if God put us here to be the instruments of his death. Like we’re his death wish. He can’t stand the horror of what he is and what he’s done. He can’t feel pain or remorse. He… He’s just waiting and praying for us to grow strong enough to kill him and make him feel what we feel…” (Morrison and Muth, 58, 5-6), which is a common theme of Morrsion’s work twisted into a cruel interpretation of itself. Two years later, Flex Mentallo would be released, in which a fictional character comes into the real world and meets his creator, who is on the verge of dying of a drug overdose. There was no note in the comic, just a few comics lying around.

3) Though in The Filth’s case, it’s more Diamond Dogs than Labyrinth.

Fig VII: Sigil Magick.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 8, 15)
4) Consider fig. 7, where Tyler details the process by which “Sebastian” was bred. In the background of the page, we see a dead tree, with branches cross cutting each other, invoking the imagery of a family tree as well as indicating how the breeding tends to end for the parents (the comic already established that the idea of Tyler would have the kid he was possessing burn down the family home while the parents were asleep). Surrounding the tree are various panels of the life of “Sebastian’s” ancestors, which tell of the life they led before their untimely death. There are also various covers created for the series, connecting what Tyler did to Sebastian to the experiences of his ancestors. Also there are various amounts of sperm raining down upon the comic. Given that the sperm dietetically affects the page via degrading the color of the page, indicating both the sexual nature of Tyler’s conception and invoking the mystical concept of sigils, a form of mysticism used by Morrison wherein one focuses on an image in order to bring it into existence, sometimes involving masturbation (Morrison, 19).

5)  2015 and 2016 Hugo Awards

6) #gamergate

7) Peter Thiel, a key member of the presidential transition team, has been linked with the neoreactionary movement (MacDougald), though the expectation was that the current president would be a signal boost to see who the neoreactionaries should call when their real candidate, presumably Thiel, would be ready to run against Clinton in 2020. Also, he's expressed interest in "Ambosia, that "harvest the blood of teenagers" startup, ...a classic patient-funded trial scam that played Theil for millions with a bevy of staggeringly unjustified extrapolations from some old studies that were not so much about infusing the blood of the young as sticking an old mouse and a young mouse together so that they shared a circulatory system..." (Sandifer, Basilisk, 344). Evidentially, we live in the worst of all possible worlds.

8) The aspect of the film invoked by the neoreactionary movement is that of the Neomarxists, a tech based organization that simultaneously plots to destroy the government while also being connected to one of the government’s technology advisors, a private eccentric multi-billionaire7 (Marcus).

9) Specifically, in the form of the concept of the “Red Pill.” Nicked from Men’s Rights Advocates, red pilling refers to “the idea that the neoreactionary argument is an inevitable process, and that once you take the pill you cannot be unconvinced.” (Sandifer, Basilisk, 37) (This is of course, quite humorous (especially the MRA angle), given that if one actually pays attention to The Matrix, and especially to those who created it, it becomes apparent that the red pill is, in fact, estrogen. Equally, the invocation of The Matrix brings us back to Morrison in that, along with Snow Crash, Ghost in the Shell, and an undergraduate level philosophy course, many have claimed the film was partially inspired by the Morrison comic The Invisibles. In a web chat interview, the sisters claimed that, while they did like the comic, it was not an influence (Wachowski).)
Fig. Xa: The house that Tyler Built.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 2, 23, 4)
Fig. Xb: Knitting's like fighting,
but there's a winner.
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 4, 9, 3)

10) Note fig. 10, which highlights how the house Quilt Club takes place is near identical to the headquarters of Project Mayhem, if cleaned up a bit (Houxbois). Equally, they’re still extremely and predominately white.

Fig. XIII: Being clever's a great thing and all...
(Palahniuk and Stewart, 10, 14, 4-7)
11) Because of course an evil super villain would have a castle. You have to keep with the aesthetics.

12) In a cheeky moment, they walk all the way there, much to Palahnuik’s annoyance, who at least wants some good weather, to which Cameron Stewart obliges (fig. 13).

13) Yes, I said The Mystery Play ended cynically, but there’s an optimism in that it’s unclear in the comic as to whether or not the detective actually died or if he ran off to be a better person while everyone else was busy crucifying his coat.

Postscript (added 4/19/2018):
"So Tyler Durden didn't die. In Ireland and Brazil and Ukraine, he recruited. His voice became the discourse of today's politics with all its talk of "snowflakes" and the Antifa's college-based "fight clubs" for training members in how to punch a Nazi. It's the video of Richard Spencer being sucker punched in the ear."
-Excerpt from After the Honeymoon: A Rationalization, Chuck Palahniuk

Works Cited:
Carpenter, Greg. The British Invasion: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer. Edwardsville, IL: Sequart Organization, 2016. Print.
Houxbois, Emma. "Fight Club 2 #4." The Rainbow Hub. The Rainbow Hub, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Keeper, Sam. Then Eve, Being A Force, Laughed At Their Decision. Tumblr, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. 
Land, Nick. "A Dirty Joke." Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007. Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2014. 629-34. Print.
MacDougald, Park. "The Darkness Before the Right” The Awl. The Awl, 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2017. 
Marcus, Ezra. "How a Dystopian Film Moby Scored in 2006 Predicted the Post-Truth Future." Thump. Vice, 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Marsfelder, Josh. ""Ghost Train": Emergence." Vaka Rangi. Blogspot, 10 May 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
Meaney, Patrick. "Grant Morrison's Day-Glo Years: The Mystery Play." Sequart Organization. Sequart Organization, 12 July 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
Molisee, Raven, and Paul Villeco. "Keep Beach City Weird." Steven Universe. Cartoon Network. Atlanta, Georgia, 30 Oct. 2014. Television. Transcript.
Morrison, Grant, and Frank Quitely. Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery. New York, NY: Vertigo, 2014. Print.
Morrison, Grant, and Jon J. Muth. The Mystery Play. Saint-Laurent-du-Var: Panini Comics, 2010. Print.
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Sandifer, Elizabeth. The Last War in Albion: The Early Work of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Vol. 1. Ithaca, NY: Eruditorum, 2016. Print.
Sandifer, Elizabeth. Neoreaction a Basilisk: Essays on and Around the Alt-Right. Ithaca: Eruditorum Press, 2017. Print.
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