One of the challenges of breaking down the satirical warning elements of “Fight Club” is that the novel’s author is pretty ambiguous about the moral implications of Tyler’s vision for the world, which promotes that men live strictly according to traditionally masculine ideals. In an interview with Huffington Post, Palahniuk revealed that he doesn’t think the novel is a critique or celebration of violent masculinity, because he feels that such violence has purpose in certain confines (like, say, a fight club.) When asked if he felt that fans were misinterpreting the material by taking Tyler at face value, his answer was interesting:

“No, not really. Because they are kind of recognizing the phase where they discover their personal power through acting out against the world.”

What Palahniuk describes is a phase I went through around the time I first read and watched “Fight Club,” circa 2002 or so when the film was on a free HBO weekend. Tyler’s anti-capitalist notions felt revolutionary, and his rejection of working a 9-5 when I was a teenager staring down decades of cubicle work was enticing. As a teenager, “Fight Club” was a part of my personality. It was only a phase, though, because I grew older, learned more, and realized that Tyler’s lessons were just as much of a problem as the things it preached against. The anti-capitalism aspect is still worth listening to, but Tyler’s misogyny, lack of personal accountability, and penchant for violence are issues that need to be addressed. It’s okay to be an apathetic anarchist when you’re 16, but not when you’re 36.