FIGHT CLUB: Why We Can’t Agree On Its Meaning – Wisecrack Edition

Hey Wisecrack, Michael again. If you’ve ever been inside a college dorm,
you’ve likely seen a lot of Fight Club posters displayed over janky twin beds. If you, like me, tend to overthink everything,
you might ask: What does this declaration of love for the 1999 classic mean for this
hypothetical freshman? Maybe it’s just a token of recognition that
David Fincher knows how to make a damn good movie, or that Brad Pitt is crazy good looking. Maybe it indicates solidarity with frustrated
men who feel disenfranchised and desire to reassert their masculinity? Or maybe it’s the exact opposite- a reminder
that such forms of masculinity can be horrifying? Or maybe it’s that consumerism is bad? Until you ask said poster-owner, they remain
Schroedinger’s Fan. You never really know until you investigate
further. And it’s not just Fight Club, plenty of
works of art elicit radically different, and often mutually exclusive interpretations. 1984, Starship Troopers, American Psycho,
and even the Bible have been interpreted in a variety of ways. Sometimes it seems like the interpreters must
have read dramatically different works. What’s going on here? How can the same text have so many, often
contradictory, messages? Is there one true reading? Or, conversely, if every interpretation is
valid, does that make the text meaningless – where everything could be made to mean literally
anything? If not, how do we distinguish between the
good readings and the bad? Let’s find out in the Wisecrack Edition on
Interpretations and spoilers ahead for Fight Club and uhhh… the Bible. First, what do we mean when we say ‘reading’? When you ‘read’ a text you’re not just looking
at the plot, but also the subtext and themes. For example, Jaws’ plot is about a seaside
town rocked by shark attacks. But the subtext could be about the dark side
of small-town America, the eternal fight between man and nature, or if you’re Fidel Castro,
it’s about capitalist exploitation. Because a subtext isn’t explicit it can be
open to interpretation and thus spawn hundreds of video essays. Thanks subtext. Take Fight Club, which has been written about
and interpreted to death. If you don’t know, it’s the story of a repressed
man who starts a revolution after turning a basement into a sparring room with his imaginary
friend. In the movie, Tyler Durden, the charismatic
driving force behind the titular fight club, turns his decrepit house in to a boot camp
for homegrown terrorists. “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” His actions wouldn’t be out of place in
a reeducation camp. He strips a group of men of their individuality
so that they will do what their self appointed dictator tells them to do. But earlier in the film Durden points out
that modern society does the same thing – asking us to craft identities around consumer products
and the jobs we need to afford them. “You are not your job, you are not how much
money you have in the bank, you’re not the car you drive, you’re not the contents of
your wallet, you are not your fucking khakis”. Which brings us back to the poster problem. Does it worship Durden as a subversive hero
who emancipates men from an oppressive society? Or does it warn us of how supposed liberation
might oppress us even more? As you can see, a text’s meaning can vary
depending on who’s watching – to the point of contradiction. But is that a bad thing? Art is subjective, after all. And the real-world the impact from differing
interpretations can, well, change history. Perhaps no text has been reinterpreted more
than the Bible. And we’re not going to touch the conflicting
interpretations of the various sects of the major religions that use the old or new testaments. We’re not saying anyone is wrong. Well, except one guy. Let me introduce you to Joel Osteen, an American
pastor and televangelist worth an estimated 50 million dollars. Joel preaches the ‘Prosperity Gospel’, a collection
of ideas that join Christian faith with financial success. Essentially- ‘money is good, because God
said so’. Osteen uses quotes from the Bible like Hebrews
10:35 which says: as proof that God wants you to make bank. Conveniently, this means that his $10.5 million
dollar mansion in Texas is God’s will. While it’s clearly all about the Benjamins
for Osteen and his megachurch, his interpretation of the bible has its fair share of critics. Particularly from… well, uhh Jesus. Remember the Cleansing
of the Temple? Now call me a literalist here but there doesn’t
seem to be much wiggle room there. So if the same text can mean two contradictory
things does that simply mean that anything can mean whatever you want it to mean? The author of Fight Club himself, Chuck Palahniuk,
perhaps thinks so. In an interview about his new book “Adjustment
Day”, he said something he seems to relish. What all this speaks to is a question of literary
theory. Differing schools of thought have proposed
various ways of approaching a text: to name a few. But today we’re going to focus a particular
mode of thought: Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. In the modern sense, the term was coined by
philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce. By signs we don’t just mean that this means
STOP. Rather, semiotics is the study of the process
that goes into knowing what someone is referring to when they communicate something through
language. A linguist named Ferdinand de Saussure gave
this process his own spin, and broke it down into two things: the signifier and signified. The signifier is the symbol, usually a word
or phrase, that points to the thing that is signified. So the letters d-o-g arranged thus are signifiers
for that group of perfect four-legged fluffers, or the phrase “Save Martha” is a signifier
for very bad writing. Or something about rescuing Superman’s Mom. As the last example illustrates, meaning can
get real complicated real quick. For Saussure, the relationship between signifiers
and their meaning is the product of not just some capital R reality, but a whole system
of other signifiers. In a simple case, the word or signifier “dog”
has a meaning but that meaning is more than just dog-ness, it also means “not cats”
– who also have four-legs and can be fluffy. We can understand more about what a dog is
like by understanding this juxtaposition to something like a cat. Cats meow, dogs bark – and so on. In this way, the Signifiers and Signified
only attain their meaning in relation to other Signifiers. So when I make a joke about “Save Martha,” that phrase and its meaning would be informed
by other signifiers, like “The DCEU,” “Superman’s relationship to his mother,”
and “bad writing.” If it sounds complicated, that’s kind of
the point, because so is language. Philosopher Jacques Derrida was inspired by
Saussure, but had some problems with his work, because in Saussure’s model, in spite of
the complicated way meaning was constructed, it was still conveyed pretty seamlessly. I write dog, you say the word dog in your
head and conjure an image. Part of the trouble is that signifiers can
often mean different things to different people. Like if I say “Woody”, you might think
of the character in Toy Story, or the guy who made Annie Hall, or Clive Owen’s acting
style. The word signifies a lot of different things
and my intent could get lost, but if I say “Jared’s Dog, Woody” more of you might
know what I’m talking about. You still might not know what he looks like
though. Your idea of a “dog” could be a pug, a
German Shepherd or a Chihuahua but if I say “Jared’s Maltese Poodle mix, Woody”
you’re gonna have a much better, but maybe imperfect idea of how much of a baller he
is. This tenuous relationship between what is
said and what it’s referring to, without getting lost ad infinitum in modifiers and clarifications,
is where the gap for interpretation opens up and where we get these totally different
understandings of the same text. And here’s where we return to “can anything
mean anything?” According to Derrida, no. Despite the need for interpretation in what
we say and what is understood, that does not dissolve any kind of meaning into a choose-your-own
adventure. Derrida was more like Pierce. Pierce was a pragmatist. Unlike other philosophers, who sought absolute
and eternal capital T Truth, pragmatists thought of the search for truth as a kind of iterative-
fix it as you go process. The same could be said for meaning, and Derrida
embraced this unending process. Therefore meaning isn’t given, but always
requires careful interpretation and attention to the things that surround a particular sign
in order to make it meaningful. So instead of absolving us of the responsibility
to look at the context of signs when creating their meaning, the malleability of language
should make us MORE responsible. So when I say “Woody”, by now most of
you should know I’m talking about Jared’s dog. I just mentioned him and Jared talks about
him a lot of our videos so, I don’t need to explain who or what he is because there isn’t
really much room for interpretation. This context creates a kind of ‘ecosystem
of ideas’ so that all the interrelated signifiers and what they signify add up to this handsome
pup. This map for understanding is like a geographical
map in that even though it changes incrementally over time and there might be zoning disputes,
you will still need one to get to the right destination. Like an actual map, it is still a representation
of other things – you know, mountains, rivers, etc. As a result, we should pay attention to both
what is included and excluded from it – like how Google Maps refuses to list discrete locations
that are good for public urination. So let’s go back to Fight Club and look at
the ‘road map’ for interpreting what that text, and that poster on the wall, might mean. What goes on this map? Well obviously, there’s the characters and
their ideologies – primarily the narrator and Tyler Durden. Also, the actual things that happen in the
plot. The narrator likes his nice life with nice
things and Tyler Durden doesn’t, noting that “the things you own end up owning you.” Then there’s the story structure – Like
many antagonists, Durden’s role is to put forth radical ideas that disrupt the protagonist’s
way of thinking. This creates a central conflict that the protagonist
has to reconcile by finding a happy medium between the villain’s philosophy and the
status quo. So in this case, we could say that Tyler Durden’s
critique of our consumer society is either true or mostly true “Why do guys like you and I… is it essential
to our survival, in the hunter gatherer sense of the word, no. What are we then? I don’t know, uh, consumers?” but his solutions go to far. Case in point: Durden complains that men are
emasculated in society “we’re a generation of men raised by women,
I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” then literally threatens to emasculate them. Seems like a problem. “You are going to publicly state that there
is no underground … ,or these guys are gonna take your balls.” Over at the edges of the map might be the
book, which the movie can deliberately diverge from, but can still add additional context. In the last chapter, the narrator takes Durden’s
“snowflake” comment and rejects both the status quo and Durden’s dehumanization of
his followers, saying that: Another point on this map might be what Chuck
Palahniuk has actually said about it. In one interview Palahniuk claims the term
snowflake came from Fight Club and that there’s a new Victorian sense of offense in the world. In a later interview, he back-tracked and
said “snowflake” never had anything to do with fragility or sensitivity. He also claims the book has a lot to do with
his own rejection of the self-importance that was drilled into him by teachers. Maybe more central on this map, if we’re
talking about the film, is the filmmaker himself – David Fincher. He said: And you, like a good Duridian, might ask what
we’ve left out of this map that might also help us interpret the film and/or book. Looking at the map thus far, we can admire
Pitt’s performance, or the character’s writing, and he may even have some astute
points on sociology, but in the context of the movie, or in relation to the signs and
signifiers around Durden, he’s definitely not a role model. And of course, we can update this map, and
hone this map. But there’s not many versions of this map
that shout “Go be like Tyler Durden.” Now let’s turn to our buddy Joel and the
Good Book. Like we said earlier, the ‘Cleansing of the
Temple’ has become a pretty well known lesson from the Bible that explicitly states using
a church or temple to extract personal wealth, ain’t cool with J-dawg or God. While Osteen might argue otherwise, the fact
that he and his fellow Prosperity Pastors have reinterpreted the Bible to mean the exact
opposite shows a lack of semiotic responsibility on their part. They know about the parable in the Temple
and, you would think, about that time Jesus said: but they either choose to ignore it or change
what it signifies. Whatever their justification for reinterpreting
the text, they – metaphorically speaking – made the word “dog” mean “cat” and you
can see why that’s a bad thing. If we look at George Orwell’s endlessly reinterpreted
text 1984, it has been referenced by everyone wanting to make any point about powerful actors. Of course, leveraging the themes of 1984 to
argue about some new context is fine and well. But it’s often times leveraged in ways that
seem flat out wrong or besides the point to Orwell’s original message: “Firmament: Vaulted Dome of the Earth, George
Orwell, 1984, must read.” It’s sadly become a phrase that just signifies
a big, bad thing that is allegedly trying to control you. In psychology, there’s this idea called
“concept creep,” which talks about how definitions of abuse or bullying have been
stretched to accommodate things that they were not originally intended for. Others have used it to describe how other
general terms will slowly stretch their original meaning – which is how we’re using it. Now, words often naturally change in the scope
of their meaning over time, like how decimate went from just meaning “to kill every tenth
man,” to just “destroying a bunch of stuff.” But when you’re trying to use the original
meaning of a thing, concept creep gets tricky. Like what if I really did want to specifically
describe killing every 10th person? Now you’re just going to think I meant “a
bunch of people” and my intended meaning is lost. In the case of 1984 the result is that a book
often voted one of the greatest of all time, has been divorced from what it was originally
meant to signify, and now means a lot less than it should, despite its dire warnings
of mass surveillance, the collapse of public and private identity, historical revisionism
and propaganda. What a text means, whether it’s 1984, Fight
Club or the Bible, is not set in stone and can be read in a lot of different ways. But that’s what makes it so important for
us to be responsible readers. Saying ‘anything can mean whatever you want
it to’ has dangerous results, as anyone who has driven past a ‘road closed’ sign will
tell you. If we recklessly manipulate cultural objects
like books and films to suit our narratives we undermine their value. Every text exists in relation to many other
ideas and semiotics is a way that we can decode meaning by looking at the kind of creative
ecosystem a text inhabits. Because of that, the emphasis shouldn’t only
be on the authors of the work to deliver a text’s meaning, but on US as responsible readers
and viewers to understand the relationship between the signifier we are presented with
and what that signifies. Which is why there will only ever be one Woody. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button
and before you go, thanks again to for sponsoring this video, head to
and sign up for an account. New customers will get $5 to spent on your
first purchase for a limited time only. Once again, that’s And as always, thanks for watching guys, peace.

100 thoughts on “FIGHT CLUB: Why We Can’t Agree On Its Meaning – Wisecrack Edition

  • Fight Club is overhyped, self referential garbage. Other people like it. That does not mean I will change my mind.

    Some people like Wes Anderson movies. That doesn’t make West Anderson movies any less excruciating.

    The best thing about The Godfather was the cannoli. Marlon Brando was a self important and too lazy to memorize his lines.

    Citizen Kane pioneered certain film techniques. That doesn’t mean the movie isn’t a chore to watch.

    Goodfellahs was ok, but not best picture material.

    If any of this offends you, why do you care so much about what so I think? Like what you like, and stop checking your opinions against the internet.

  • Same guy with the Tyler Durden poster in his room is the same guy who cant change his own flat tire on the side of the road.

  • Not sure if writer or presenter, but this is the first video I've seen him host, and it was extremely lacking. I kinda hope he doesn't come back.

  • The "anything can mean anything" mentality is mindless post modernist drivel

    If someone reads 1984 by Orwell and harbors authoritarian ideals they have objectively missed the point of the book entirely and they need to go back to secondary school reading comprehension class and this point is only furthered with the more Orwell that you read or listen to

  • Wow. The meaning of words changes over time into things that are way out of proportion to the original meaning of the word. This whole time I thought decimate meant to destroy everything not just 10%. Oh humans…. we are so shifty lol

  • In the Bible Jesus is a radical social liberal taking in and loving the people the church of the time cast out. His followers (often) are the ones casting people out.

  • Meaning and interpretation isn't limited to just one part, it's the sum of all meaning. I'll be wrong and say that you are wrong, but is mona lisa happy, is mona lisa sad. You can't determine the content and it's meant to be that, the creator is expressing ambiguity. The neutral zone and expression is what is going on, not everything is clear and it doesn't have to be. Is fight club a joke, is fight club meaningful, is fight club satire, is fight club a fantasy. The added meaning of representation adds to the value of the work. Road signs and expressive works of art are different, if a road sign isn't clear in what it means that's a bad sign. If an expression of work isn't clear in what it means, that is the part worth discussing. It can be exhausting determining what meaning you want from a piece of work. It isn't just one thing, it's a lot of meaningful expressions in a direction. If you get some work that is to clear in what it means, like a "road sign" movie, you get hand holding narratives and disposable characters with god given powers of exposition.

  • Im not sure I agree with this, as I'd pose one needs to settle some questions before ever going into the "is there meaning? is it possible to find?". And if one does this, it really is a much simpler question: there are many types of text and not all texts are a unit as you present them, with the bible and other religious texts as prime examples.
    First, text types. One can eliminate most texts from the question as they have simple, straight forward meaning. How well we can identify that meaning depends on how well the texts are written, how good our own understanding of the language, writing system and socio-historical aswell as personal context of the author are. I wont be able to be very good with ancient texts in languages I dont understand well, but I can easily understand and interpret political manifestos written in a language I know, from a period of history I know and maybe by an author whose life and political leanings are known.
    In this majority case scenario, meaning can be extracted from a text. This act can be done in right or wrong ways – it IS possible to tell somebody that their interpretation of a given text is wrong given what we know. For example, people often missinterpret texts based on lack of knowledge of a text.
    Second, there are texts whose meanings may be plural, and this in several ways. An author may have intended for his work to be ambiguous and leave parts of the story open to interpretation. Or a text may be so old and the language not clear cut enough for only 1 "truth" to be evident. Or a text may allow different interpretations based on the current "user" of the text. One excellent example of this last point is a songtext composed in the early 19th century. The composer lived in a region unified by a same language, but politically divided. Him and likeminded, progressive and overall rather democratic people looked for unification. Therefore, his song glorifying this union begins with the words "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles…" (Germany, Germany above all…). The intent of that opener of the song isnt any kind of aggressive nationalist message against other countries, it's putting forward a priority of the unified country above the regions, i.e. the "all" that is evoked refers to things like Bavaria or Saxony, not France or the UK. And this interpretation isnt a stretch to defend horrible texts – given the political context of a non-unified and currently occupied Germany. However, this same text came to a much different use years later. Ill simplify for length, but it was used by nationalists, mostly the nazis, to mean something quite different. Roughly 150 years later, Germany was unified and it was threatening its neighbours. In the context of that time, a 1940s German singing these words meant to set his country above others. This interpretation stuck to the text, and to this day, its use would be considered a nationalist act and it's been removed from the anthem. However, it's a nice example of different meaning based on time and users: the song changed because the intent of the singers changed.
    In a nutshell, such texts can have multiple meanings, all of which can be identified and clarified with regards to their contexts of production and reception.

    Two more things then need to be said: there are texts whose meaning is obtuse and cant be seen, as the authors intended them to be that way. It's kind of moot to ask questions like "is there meaning?" about such texts, when they were written with the explicit intent not to have meaning. Anything found then would be more telling of the interpreter than the text itself.
    Lastly, it's important to identify the unit of "text". The video refers to the bible and correctly states that it's possible to interpret "it" in different ways. To that, I'd say, "duh, of course". Because it isnt 1 text. It is a huge construct written, edited and re-edited, translated multiple times, often with errors, over centuries. The old testament is based on ancient hebrew texts that were centuries old when the new testament began to be compiled. The new testament is built with dozens of books by as many or more authors (the authors whose name we "know" arent historically documented, so for all we know, any part of the bible could have had multiple authors whose identify is lost). What is well documented is that LOTS of material that could have been in the bible was edited in and out of it for centuries and that it took hundreds of years for a somewhat final version to emerge. One of the major reasons for the many splits among christian groups and sub-groups is the vast amount of material to choose from: the bible is made of so many texts, each with different meaning. The groups then would obviously choose the parts that agree with their own beliefs best, and continue to do so today. Yes, interpretations of same passages also depend on people and time, but the overall message is the same: whether you interpret "turn the other cheek" to mean "try to make amends with former enemies and dont butcher them to the last", i.e. moderate interpretations within political reason… or take it as a command to be a pacifist, both are still going towards the same meaning, on a spectrum of intensity. But, people that go and find themselves justification for violence and war in the bible can do so. However, they dont re-interpret the same passages that indicate peace, but go for parts of the textS to find a more warlike bit.

    Thus, it's important to know if a text is singular or plural. And that'd be my bottom line: intent of the author is usually key to finding meaning. There's always going to be exceptions, but generally speaking, interpretations that go far beyond the intent of the author arent finding meaning in the text, they're finding meaning in the thoughts of the interpreter – which may still be valuable, but is a different excercice all together.

  • Fight Club is a commentry of how capitalism affects masculinity, consumerism has castrated western men. It has nothing to do with a bald rapey looking man talking bollocks for sixteen and a half minutes

  • I am religious-and I hate televangelists and Evangelical folks in general. I like Carlin's abridged two commandments, and feel that jives with what Jesus was saying.

  • I think a big issue is people feel that a movie only has one interpretation or point to take away. Movies can have layered themes and narratives, just kind of short sighted to feel that there is only one message to take away from any kind of media.

  • I've always known the term snowflake to refer to how people thought that no two snowflakes were exactly the same(I think that's been disproven).  And hence used to describe someone who thought that they were so unique and special that their specialness deserved attention or even adoration.  Although when you take the analogy to the literal snowflake even further, the more snowflakes you see, the more alike and unremarkable they seem.  The ultimate lesson being that difference aren't always important, especially when compared to greater similarities, let alone worth making a fuss over.  The use of the term snowflake to mean someone who is easily offended never made much sense to me, and detracts from the better meaning that mocks prideful self important people.  Though I have noticed that many of the people who misuse the term to insult others are prideful and self important.  So maybe they're deliberately misusing a term to try to rewrite the meaning so that it can't be used against them.

  • Things we learned today
    1. Jarred is needed on every video. No offense wisecrack team, y’all are great.
    2. Thug notes needs to be brought back

  • It's simple, and proves your thesis. The Fight Club poster, for better or worse, has become a shorthand for the word "alternative." In the same way that a George Carlin or Frank Zappa poster was in the seventies. I'm sure none of the millions of kids with an "Apostrophe" poster have actually sat down and listened to a Zappa album, just as these kids have not sat down and watched Fight Club.

  • I really appreciate this as a guy who still reads the bible to this day and loves fight club I was always taught this concept growing up things don't mean what you want them to mean they mean what they actually mean and it blows me away how much people don't practice this at all both in movies and in scripture nine times out of ten when you see some one use a stand alone verse to make a point they are actually warping its meaning in some way cause they took it out of context and it drives me crazy glad to see this video and know I am not alone and don't get me started on death of the author cause that is another concept that drives me crazy but I digress… great video job well done

  • This is exactly why I have a big problem with the concept of "death of the author." There are many possible interpretations to works that are valid – usually far more possibilities than were intended by the original author. (Indeed, some authors, like Tolkien, have publicly stated that their works are not intended to express any specific deeper meaning, and the intent was merely to entertain the reader. Seriously, pick up your copy of Fellowship of the Ring and actually read the Foreword. It's stated incredibly bluntly.) However, the authors' commentary and discussion of their work helps shed light on which interpretations are correct, because, as this video points out, works of sufficient complexity invite numerous potentially correct interpretations, which are often contradictory of one another. Gauging authorial intent without asking the author makes this relatively simple task immensely more difficult, and thus should, I feel, be reserved for those cases where the author, being dead in the literal sense of the word, is unavailable to provide informed discussion on the topic.

    (That said, any author who does not wish to provide such clarity in a direct sense should be allowed to do so in peace. The author of one of the most complex series I've ever read, Steven Erikson, has stated about more than one of his books that his present self is not entirely qualified to offer that authorial clarity, because he's gone through things since writing it that have changed his outlook sufficiently that he's no longer certain of his own intent. That particular excuse makes more sense once you've read The Malazan Book of the Fallen – it's immensely complex and there's enough density to it that I don't think there exists any one fan who fully understands the plot, let alone the subtext thereof, and there are fans who are quite dedicated to the series.)

  • Fight Club is about the underground gay orgy scene, and is semi autobiographical. It just replaced buttfucking with fighting. Watch the movie or read the book with this in mind. It will blow your mind that you didn't see it before.

  • Cool video but what about genre and audience? The bible, for example is full of different genres — history, poetry, lists, parables – and that needs t be taken into account when interpreting. Same with documentaries vs cartoons. On the flip side, I’d be interested to hear your comments on whether the ignorance or bias of the person or group consuming the media matters. What if the poster dude is just a moron who thinks beating people up is cool, or the one reading Orwell is ignorant about communism. What if the authors original intent is totally lost to time because we simply can’t conceive of what they were trying to communicate. Does that automatically mean the meaning is totally lost — or is there some kind of universality we can fall back on?

  • Wisecrack: given your repeated use of 1984 as a deep and meaningful book, have you ever considered doing a rebuttal of Isaac Asimov's review of 1984? I've always considered the book to be a deeply flawed work, as poorly conceived as it is poorly written. Asimov's review provides significantly more eloquent and in depth discussion of its many flaws, including several that I failed to notice when reading the book myself. (Give me a break, I was a grade 11 student and Asimov was a legend of science fiction literature.)

    The review is very well written and, formatted as it is to discuss aspects of the book in an organized manner, is well suited to a rebuttal of its own.

  • I was thinking the same thing. I recently saw a video by Maggie Mae Fish that saw this movie as extremely sexist in its framing, though Folding Ideas saw this movie as a rejection of Toxic Masculinity with Tyler's death and a bit of hand-holding at the end. It amazes me that the movie can have such radically different interpretations.

  • Sigh, can we just stop over-interpreting everything. What you take away from a movies subtext is personal an related to your own experience. To me Fight CLub is a commentary on consumerism and the hollow lives most of us live. But it's foremost a great movie with superb acting.

  • Hey Michael, loved your video. I just wanted to pose the question that, Can we truly be semiotically responsible?.

    It looks like everything from recent history to the earliest recorded works have a subjective quality (Or Qualia as Thomas Nagel Puts it ) to them that could never be accurately recreated in our minds to understand them as they were meant to be understood and that to be semiotically accurate for even the tiniest idea in media or text, requires so much research that a lifetime might not suffice, or that even if it did it could be met with strong opposition backed by the manipulable space due to the subjectivity of any non purely scientific work.

    Shouldn't we just use Newtons Flaming Lazer Sword and say that Art belongs to its beholders, because without them it would only be a personal note to self from the artist?. Maybe things cannot be loved by admirers for the same reasons as their creators and while an analysis would clarify things, especially in language which requires a degree of specificity, people would still retain the freedom to coin neologisms, which may then become the norm and most recently even receive awards for it ( yes they have an actual national contest).

    In the end, when we're all allowed to be whoever we want, won't we all end up speaking radically different versions of the same language?. Also, doesn't that beg the question of whether Twitter n Instagram are semiotic moderating authorities (albeit sloppy ones) , keeping people in the loop of what means what?

    Did total personal freedom inadvertently break language or even meaning itself?

  • Pastor Osteen is about leading people to Jesus not money. The person in this video doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he talks about the pastor.

  • God guys, give us some Thug Notes love. We've had Jared love, Helen love, Micheal love but Thug Notes love is like green glass coke bottles. You guys don't make them anymore.

  • I’m surprised that you chose Derrida’s take on a century-old view of semiotics over something like Kristeva’s views on intertextuality or Barthes views on authorship. You probably would’ve come up with similar answers, but I can’t help but feel like your answers would’ve meant more. Great video though, as always!

  • Makes me think of the many times people have changed the definition of a word based purely on ignorance of the original meaning.

  • 14:55 you forgot the theme that it’s most important , the theme that closes the book the importance that language has on thought

  • Some believe the real narrator of the Bible is Satan, which is why it's inconsistent, bizarre, and unreliable. I think it's a few important ideas God recorded in Genesis, and the rest is all people trying to invent the story of how they were allowed back into Eden.

    Which they haven't yet figured out. Which is why the surviving men and women of our culture are dedicated to fighting disease, age, insanity, death, and pretty much every thing else on the planet.

  • Ok….uhm, like most works of art, people can't agree on Fight Club's meaning because all art ends up being interpretive. Some works do have definitive meanings from their authors, but I think it's interesting that the audience have their own interpretation of the work of art and what it has to say. So I mean, it seems normal that Fight Club's meaning is "fought" over.

  • Discretionary interpretation of art can be condoned as an exercise of intellectual exploration. However, all interpretations that resolve as Truths should be subjected to epistemological rigour.

  • on that note, maybe we shoud interpretate not what a piece of culture is trying to say on itself, but more importantly, who reads it, and why they read of it what they read. In that sense, the mean, context, and the group or person who is reading is so important as the piece of media itself, and its creator

  • Concept creep is exactly what is happening with all the ridiculous social issue discussions on social media. Everything is sexist, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, cyber bullying, harassment, etc. and everyone needs to get fired.

  • It's clearer in the book that the meaning of Fight Club is a metaphor for homosexual bathhouses, and the alienation from society felt by gay men. I mean, it begins with the narrator sucking Tyler's "gun"; The first rule is "don't ask, don't tell"; the narrator even describes his impotence with women, how he only feels alive while getting pounded, and his constant dissociation while apparently in bed with Marla. It only gets more obvious from there.

  • Can you tell me the meaning behind any of Kubrick's movie for certain as well as many of truly great work's of art because that's what makes them great they can be interpreted anyway the Observer veiws them ! #Modern film making sux

  • People that heavily study enlightenment do agree on the meaning. Most people just won't understand it simply because they haven't studied the philosophy and so can't come to a conclusion.

    Just like how a mechanic knows more about a car than you do.
    That's just the way it is.

    And so your video is wrong.

    Even if you don't want to admit it bc you don't want your effort to be for nothing.

    In short, fight club is about changing who you are and realising the delusion of reality by going through fear, just like in Vanilla Sky. They both kill themselves in a sense at the end.

    I have been studying this for many years

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