Matthew Reddin

The first rule of far-right Fight Club is that we have to talk about it

With the news that the far-right is setting up a series of Fight Clubs, I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

 

 

I get the distinct impression that it’s either the case that far right nationalists have a very short attention span, or they’re not reading my columns on this website. One of these could be the case, or both.

Either way, allow me, knuckle-dragging manbabies of Australia, to repeat myself. Again.

Fight Club was a satire. The whole point of that book (and yes, numbnuts, it was a book before it was a movie; a book is like a paper Facebook post, with fewer pictures; remember, those things you didn’t read in high school), what was Palahniuk’s contention, was that in the absence of role models, and in the face of a consumerist society whose measure of worth lies solely in the acquisition of material wealth, men, in a culture where they – once the dominant force in the hunter-gatherer sense of the world – were, for the first time in history, having to find their way in the world without clearly illuminated paths for them to fulfil their socially prescribed role in an enshrined patriarchy, become lost. So, these middle class men, bereft of purpose, start punching each other for fun.

It was a ludicrous proposition and a satire of toxic masculinity before the phrase was part of the lexicon. And, mouth breathers, I’m talking to you (this is the important bit), if you paid attention to the text, you’d realise that it wasn’t a good idea to begin with. You can’t fill a void in your soul with violence and anarchy any more than you can fill the void in your soul with cake, booze or sex (or a combination of the three – it is a long weekend coming up, come to think of it).

So. For the rest of you who aren’t convinced that there’s a conspiratorial war to unseat your place in the world, here’s the sad truth. According to the national broadcaster, some far-right nationalists have opened some private men-only clubs in Melbourne and Sydney. Run by members of the United Patriots Front (not the Popular People’s Front? Splitters!), it seems to be some sort of social club where chaps can go, talk about the issues of the day and then thump each other.

Because Muslims, or something.


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The clubs include a boxing gym and a library (ironically, one presumes), and hold seminars on subjects such as employment in the security industry.

“Values once venerated such as courage, strength, nobility, resourcefulness and loyalty are being sapped from our young men before they come of age,” the club said on social media, because of course they did.

Right-o. Here’s the bit where I get called a “well poisoner” and “a mangy man-sheep” (and not for the first time, I’ll have you know): courage takes many forms, including the willingness to stand up to an overstuffed, steroidal pituitary case and tell him he’s misguided. Strength is not just physical; it’s emotional, moral, philosophical and – heaven forbid, Biff – intellectual. Loyalty does not require segregation of one group from another based on the fact that they pray to a different imaginary friend or have pigment (which is really what this is about, isn’t it?). Resourcefulness means being able to think laterally, being adaptive. You know, accepting, intellectually curious. Open to difference.

You know what? Never mind. The group’s founder is in all likelihood not willing to listen to opposing viewpoints. And I’m coming from a place where I don’t really want to belong to a club that is for men only.

That’s the thing about women. I enjoy their company. And these fellows would, too – if they weren’t so deathly petrified of them.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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