Browsing Tag: Analysis

    The Expanse: Amun-Ra Class Stealth Frigate – Official Breakdown
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    The Expanse: Amun-Ra Class Stealth Frigate – Official Breakdown

    January 12, 2020


    Appropriately named for the ‘Hidden One’
    of Egyptian Mythology the Amun-Ra Class Stealth Frigate was commissioned by the Protogen Corporation
    and assembled at Luna’s Bush Orbital Shipyards as part of an insidious joint conspiracy that
    ultimately led to the Eros Incident and the breakout of Interplanetary War.
    At a length of 61.5 Meters, the Amun-Ra Class presents an unusual frame, highly different
    from that of most spacefaring vessels. This is a biproduct of the ship’s stealth functionality,
    using angular sheets of composite materials to absorb or reflect radar signals. These
    materials are supported by active cooling systems to conceal the ship’s detectable
    heat signature and are able to reduce the frigate’s ambient temperature to match that
    of an asteroid or even of background radiation. This functionality is of course only available
    while the frigate’s main drive is powered down, as an engine burn of any kind would
    alert all nearby vessels to the ship’s location. The Amun-Ra Class is frightfully well armed
    for its size, and at the time of its commissioning the class was the smallest in history to be
    equipped with a railgun. The ship’s prototype S-24 ‘Khopesh’ light railgun is internally
    mounted along the vessel’s spine and is supported by 4 retractable PDCs as well as
    a pair of concealable torpedo bays equipped with rapid-reload systems.
    The standard crew complement of the Amun-Ra class includes 50 personnel, but this is frequently
    expanded to 100 for missions involving troop deployment or boarding actions. During such
    encounters, assault teams are deployed using the frigate’s 9 Breaching Pods, laid into
    the ship’s broadsides. These pods function by launching a small breaching charge to weaken
    the hull of a target ship, before clamping themselves into surface using three mechanical
    claws and establishing an access passage for troops.
    The Amun-Ra Class carries a single Khonsu-Class shuttlecraft equipped with similar stealth
    features to the larger frigate. This shuttle is able to serve as a forward scout for the
    Frigate and is capable of travelling impressively long distances from its mothership to transfer
    personnel or light supplies. The craft is kept in a concealed compartment nearly indistinguishable
    from the rest of the frigate’s hull and can be quickly deployed as an evacuation craft
    in the event of an emergency. A total of nine Amun-Ra Class vessels were
    commissioned by Protogen, each named after a deity from Egyptian Mythology. The first
    was the Amun-Ra herself, who served as a partially-functional Testbed for the stealth systems and was later
    cannibalised to aid in the construction of further vessels. Six of the stealth frigates
    were used to attack and board the MCRN Donnager prior to the Eros Incident but were lost when
    the vessel engaged its self-destruct sequence, and an eighth vessel, the Anubis was used
    in attacks against the Freighter’s Canterbury and Scopuli. The last vessel of the class
    was the Osiris, which had served as a standing escort around Thoth Station, and was finally
    destroyed by the Rocinante after the OPA attacked the station.
    Though the short career of the Amun-Ra Class Stealth Frigate has come to an end and the
    Protogen Corporation lies in ruin, those who encountered the vessels during their service
    received a harrowing glimpse into the future of space combat, witnessing first-hand the
    most advanced stealth systems ever deployed and weapons technologies that will remain
    experimental for years to come. As newer and more deadly stealth vessels begin to enter
    service across the coming decades, few will ever learn the true origins of these new technologies.

    Stargate: Atlantis Class City-Ship – Spacedock
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    Stargate: Atlantis Class City-Ship – Spacedock

    December 5, 2019


    Millions of years old, incredibly advanced
    and massive in scope, the Atlantis Class City-Ship represents the crowning achievement of the
    Ancient Lantean Civilisation, and the craft is widely considered to be one of, if not
    the most impressive spaceworthy construct in the history of three galaxies.
    Developed during the final years of the Ancients stay in the Milky Way Galaxy, the City Ship
    was an enormous, multipurpose starship, intended to serve as a fully-operational settlement
    on the surface of any planet, and provide accommodation and workspace for thousands
    of Lanteans. As well as providing the Lanteans with all the utilities needed to settle and
    research a planet, the City-ship could easily depart the world to which it was stationed,
    and transport it’s population across pan-galactic, and even intergalactic distances with incredible
    speed. Possessing similar levels of internal space
    to Earth’s Manhattan Island, the City-Ship resembled a massive snowflake, dotted with
    towering structures and modular compartments. The vessel employed an enormous shield dome,
    both for the purpose of defence and to ensure a stable atmosphere within the city during
    interstellar voyages. Across the city’s ventral hull were a series of vast open-chambers,
    used to house the ship’s incredibly powerful stardrive, and alongside these housings, several
    clamping mechanisms are positioned to locked the vessel to the surface of a planet, or
    to allow the craft to connect to a pre-existing Lantean city.
    Though not expressly built for the purpose of warfare, the city ship was more than capable
    of defending itself in combat, boasting several large drone launchers and a near-limitless
    supply of drones to fire from them. In addition to this, the vessel’s shield was one of
    the most powerful ever created, having been known to resist constant bombardment from
    entire fleets of warships for weeks on end. One vessel of the class, the famous city of
    Atlantis, ultimately fell into the hands of the Tau’ri, who outfitted it with an extensive
    array of railgun emplacements, further adding to the cities defensive arsenal.
    The vessel is equipped with a large launch bay located at the top of the central control
    tower, this bay houses several dozen Lantean Gateships, later known as Puddle Jumpers by
    the Tau’ri, a multipurpose transport vessel capable of travelling through a conventional
    Stargate. A Second Launch Bay was located at the base of the central tower, which meant
    it was submerged when the city landed in an ocean or other natural body of water, this
    posed no inconvenience however, as Lantean Gateships are fully capable of operating underwater,
    and the bay was equipped with several airlocks to allow transit for the Gateship’s crews.
    In order to aid in its function as a frontier settlement and research facility, the city
    ship is equipped with a Stargate, installed into a large control room in the upper-most
    quarter of the central tower. Being of the newest Pegasus variety, the city-ship’s
    Stargate could be dialled to a destination extremely quickly, and the city was able to
    project a powerful forcefield across the gate’s surface to ensure the vessel’s security
    from potential intruders. The embarkation room was connected directly to the primary
    launch bay, allowing Gateships to be lowered from above and positioned for easy boarding
    and departure through an active wormhole. The Lantean City Ship represents one of the
    greatest technological achievements in the history of the known universe, and even dozens
    of millions of years after the departure of its creators, the vessel continues to play
    a vital role in the daily operations of both the Tau’ri and the Asuran Replicators. To
    this day no civilised race has assembled a spacecraft of comparable advancement and utility
    to the city-ship, and the vessel continues to serve as an apt symbol, of the gatebuilders
    legacy.

    Stargate: The Ships of the Goa’uld Empire – Spacedock Short
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    Stargate: The Ships of the Goa’uld Empire – Spacedock Short

    December 4, 2019


    For over 24,000 years, the System Lords of
    the Goa’uld Empire have ruled over the single largest political domain in the Milky Way
    Galaxy, through the use of the ancient Stargate Network, they have conquered hundreds of worlds,
    amassed billions of slaves and reverential subjects, and assembled a massive wealth of
    resources, but while the gate network was the tool of the System Lords rise to power,
    only spacefaring warships could enforce order and security across such a vast dominion,
    and it was this necessity that led the Goa’uld to raise one of the largest and most fearsome
    armadas the galaxy has ever seen. As their primary sublight interceptor and
    most prolific combat spacecraft, the Goa’uld employ the Death Glider, a fast and manoeuvrable
    attack craft, that has become a symbol of fear and subjugation for those living under
    the System Lords rule. As the Goa’uld Empire has faced no genuine threats for thousands
    of years, it’s military units tend to be geared toward intimidation and ceremony, so
    as to project power and help terminate civil unrest, these doctrines are apparent in every
    aspect of the Goa’uld military from the armor worn by their foot soldiers to the architecture
    of their largest warships, and the Death Gilder is no exception. The fighter is operated by
    a pilot and co-pilot, and intended for use in large swarms, the ship’s wing mounted
    Staff Cannons are indeed powerful, but fixed and inaccurate, making individual gliders
    vulnerable in dogfights, but when employed in a proper formation, the gliders can decimate
    enemy squadrons, or lay waste to ground targets across a wide area.
    The Tel’tak serves as the primary interstellar reconnaissance craft and light transport of
    the Goa’uld fleet, boasting a 25-man troop compartment, an array of transportation rings,
    and even a cloaking device to shield the ship and its contents from detection. The vessels
    were well-respected for their dependability and wide mission profile, and though they
    were unarmed as standard, Tel’taks in service to certain System Lords were occasionally
    modified to carry staff cannons and shield generators, expanding their versatility even
    further. Filling a mid-range fast-attack role, the
    Goa’uld Al’kesh combines the functionality of an escort corvette with a heavy bomber,
    resulting in one of the most lethally adaptable spacecraft available to the system lords.
    The Al’kesh sports a dual staff cannon turret on its ventral hull, which has proven to be
    highly effective against hostile fighter craft, and the ship carries extremely resilient shields
    and armouring for a vessel of its size. Much like the Tel’tak, the Al’kesh boasts a
    ring platform, Hyperdrive and cloaking device, making the ship extremely valuable for those
    reconnaissance and transport missions that would likely prove too dangerous for a Tel’tak
    to undertake, but the Al’kesh’s greatest strengths lie in ground assault and fleet
    escort, where no other vessel in Goa’uld fleet can match their tactical value.
    The Cheops Class Warship is a large planetary assault craft used by numerous System Lords
    across the galaxy. Most Goa’uld capital ships are designed with large, hollow pyramids
    forming the centre or in this case entirety of their spaceframe, this is done as part
    of an ingenious system by which huge numbers of troops can be delivered to a planet’s
    surface. Upon establishing a foothold on a new world, the Goa’uld will erect huge stone
    pyramids on the planet’s surface, usually through the use of slave labour, once constructed
    these pyramids would serve as enormous anchors for Goa’uld warships, allowing the huge
    vessels to safely descend to a planet’s surface, and deploy their ground forces. The
    Cheops class is a common choice for this practice, carrying all the necessary facilities to serve
    as an effective planetside base once landed, and using its shield generators and complement
    of Death Gliders, the craft is able to provide a powerful defensive screen for its assault
    forces as they disembark. Easily the most iconic and redoubtable starship
    design in service to the System Lords, the Ha’tak Class Mothership is the mainstay
    capital warship and general-purpose attack vessel of the Goa’uld Empire. The vessel
    makes up the bulk of most Goa’uld battlegroups, and offers a potent combination of firepower
    and short-range fighter support, as well as carrying all the necessary facilities to serve
    as a command and control vessel. The Ha’tak is armed with 60 Staff Cannons arrayed in
    all directions along the vessels hull, as well as large supply of Naquadah Bombs, often
    deployed as mines or transported to the interior of hostile vessels. Within its launch bays,
    the mothership boasts twelve full wings of Death Gliders and several Al’kesh, with
    many of the vessels also carrying Tel’taks for short range reconnaissance or troop transportation.
    When engaged in planetary invasions, a Ha’tak is able to transport over 2000 Jaffa troops,
    and quickly deploy them to a planet’s surface, either using auxiliary craft, or the Ha’tak’s
    15 separate ring transporters. On several occasions, powerful Goa’uld have
    commissioned unique flagships from which to command their fleets, and one of the most
    famous examples of this, was the command ship used by the System Lord Apophis. Originally
    designed for use by Sokar, Apophis’ mothership was an expansion on the design of the Ha’tak,
    greatly expanding its weapons complement, and even adding cannons capable of incinerating
    a conventional Ha’tak in only six shots, and completely ignoring some less-advanced
    shield systems. After seizing this powerful vessel from Sokar, Apophis used the ship to
    defeat the System Lord Heru’ur, and through the combined forces and territories he had
    claimed from both Heru’ur and Sokar, Apophis became easily the most powerful System Lord
    in the Empire. By far the largest and most powerful Goa’uld
    vessel ever constructed, was the mothership designed as the personal flagship of the supremely
    powerful Anubis. 2000 meters in both length and width, the massive vessel carried hundreds
    of advanced staff cannons, shields capable of withstanding continual bombardment from
    an entire fleet of Ha’taks, and launch bays filled with over fifty Al’kesh and multiple
    wings of Death Gliders. The vessel was constructed around its primary weapon, a plasma beam with
    sufficient firepower to destroy an entire planet, or an armada of enemy warships. This
    weapon was powered by six ancient crystals known as the Eyes of the Goa’uld, which,
    when used in unison, could increase the output of the motherships reactor tenfold, allowing
    the vessel to fire its primary weapon, or divert enormous amounts of power to its shields
    or Hyperdrive. Though the Goa’uld Empire has maintained
    roughly the same naval architecture for thousands of years, they have developed a small number
    of specialist vessels and support ships to complement their primary fleet. The Troopship,
    is a large assault vessel, designed specifically to carry Jaffa invasion forces to a planet’s
    surface. The vessels are large, taller even than an Al’kesh, but due to their lack of
    shielding and weaponry, the vessels require near constant fighter escort. Another specialised
    craft is the Goa’uld Udajeet. The Udajeet is a short range, atmospheric variant of the
    Death Glider. The fighter has an open cockpit, and is piloted by fully armoured Jaffa, it
    is extremely cheap to produce, and used to enforce security around small Goa’uld surface
    bases, or landed Cheops Class Warships. The last of the Goa’uld’s specialist vessels
    is yet another Death Glider variant, the Needle Threader. The Needle Threader was an attempt
    by Goa’uld shipwrights to design a fighter which could traverse a conventional Stargate,
    in the same manner as Lantean Gateships or Wraith Darts. Lacking the incredible technological
    prowess of the Ancient Lanteans, the Goa’uld were unable to match their achievement completely,
    and though the Needle Threader was functional, it proved incredibly difficult to control,
    and the ship was quickly discontinued from active service.

    Top Five Sci-Fi Capital Ships – Spacedock Short
    Articles, Blog

    Top Five Sci-Fi Capital Ships – Spacedock Short

    November 30, 2019


    Hey Everybody Daniel from Spacedock here,
    before I get started I just wanted to point out that the upload of this video marks the
    end of Spacedock’s first year of activity, so thank you all so much for watching and
    getting involved and helping the channel grow as much as it has, now if you stick around
    to the end of the video I’ll be revealing some details about an upcoming Q&A I have
    planned and how you can get involved in that. But without further ado, my personal top five
    favourite sci-fi capital ship designs. NUMBER FIVE.
    In fifth place I’ve got the Venator Class Star Destroyer from Star Wars. Now this is
    a design that I’ve always been a huge fan of, it’s a flawless adaptation of the classic
    star destroyer design, into a carrier role. The way the dorsal spine of the ship opens
    up to reveal the launch bays is just inspired and never fails to look fantastic on screen.
    The Venator is a crucial part of the Clone Wars era Republic Aesthetic which I think
    is pretty excellent across the board, and the style really demonstrates how more Sith-inspired
    intimidating spaceframes are working their way into mainstream use. I’m a big fan of
    the ship’s twin bridge model, one for Starfighter coordination and one for primary ship functions,
    and when the ship is flanked by light cruisers and frigates with squadrons of V-19 Torrents
    and ARC-170’s flying patrols around it, it makes for one the best images of a proper
    battle group in the Star Wars fiction, and a defining picture of the clone wars era.
    NUMBER FOUR. On to fourth place I’ve put the SR2 Normandy
    from Mass Effect, now this a close one as by the standards of Mass Effect the SR2 only
    just about qualifies as a capital ship, with its predecessor the SR1 not even coming close.
    But I’m glad it does so I can talk about it because this truly is one of my all-time
    favourite starship designs, the spaceframe is just perfect, sleek and efficient, it looks
    fast standing still. Being able to fully navigate the interior of the ship in-game is just brilliant,
    and I’ve spend literally hundreds of hours across dozens of playthroughs wandering around
    the SR2. Overall I’m a huge fan of the starship designs in Mass Effect, particularly those
    of the Systems Alliance, but the SR2 has to be my favourite, it just takes the already
    great design of the SR1 which was more of a corvette style ship that felt like an attack
    submarine or something from the inside, and they just expanded on it to turn it into this
    hard as nails cruiser with a shuttlebay and more weaponry and a perfect interior design,
    and when the Alliance came in with a repaint and new interior layout for ME3, it only made
    the ship even better in my opinion. NUMBER THREE.
    Ok in third place I’ve got the fantastic BC-304 Daedalus Class from Stargate. Now I
    just love this kind of design in starships, if it’s ironclad grey with little spinning
    radar dishes and black and yellow hazard lines around the hatches I’m probably going to
    love it, I just can’t get enough of that kind of real-world naval design applied to
    spacecraft. The whole frame of this ship just looks fantastic, it’s a perfect multifunction
    design, it’s got the two big launch bays for F-302’s which are one of my all-time
    favourite sci-fi fighters, and it’s rows of VLS missile tubes and railgun batteries
    just make the whole thing look exactly as tough as it is. I really like the bridge of
    this ship and it’s interior design, I love seeing the translucent tactical plots and
    displays with pilot Callsign arrayed down them, it just makes it all look like a real
    world aircraft carrier with all the sci-fi tech layered on top. And I’ve said this
    about Stargate before but I’ll say it again, the very best thing about the SG franchise
    is that everything can be traced back to some episode where it was discovered or developed,
    so you really feel like you’re watching the growth of a spacefaring civilisation,
    so when they finally get these badass ships, you can look at them and see all the inspirations
    from their previous ships, all the histories and backstories of every reactor on the walls,
    every sidearm in the armory, you can look at any piece of this ship and say “I remember
    the season 2 episode where they found the metal that’s made out of” or something
    to that effect, and that is just fantastic. NUMBER TWO.
    Ok in second place, my favourite Star Wars ship ever, the Sith Empire’s Harrower Class
    Dreadnought. Just massive props to whatever legend at Bioware designed this thing, because
    this is the Sith Empire made manifest, it’s just perfect. It’s sharp and sleek, it’s
    covered in launch bays, the twin hangers at the front between the split in the frame is
    just brilliant. I love the triangular engine housings on the aft, I love the way the hull
    widens at the back, the interior looks fantastic and the lower profile of its bridge tower
    and weapons hardpoints make the whole thing look cutting edge and high-tech. Every time
    one of these comes on screen in The Old Republic, it looks fantastic, and the couple of occasions
    in-game when you get to see these ships outfitted with the silencer and gauntlet superweapons,
    they fit perfectly into the design without looking out of place and make for brilliant
    scenes. To me the Sith Empire has the best visual style in Star Wars, the uniforms, blasters,
    structures, ships and stations all look fantastic, and the harrower class is the perfect centrepiece
    to the overall design, cannot say enough good things about this ship.
    NUMBER ONE. Ok here it is, first place, the Mercury Class
    Battlestar from Ron Moore’s BSG. This to me, is just the best looking fictional starship,
    ever put to screen, it’s just perfect. I love the Galactica, but to me, she doesn’t
    even come close to challenging the Mercury Class, the ship looks tough as old boots,
    it’s huge and thickly armoured, with that angular bow section that looks like the head
    of a giant metal alligator, and the rest of the ship looks just as good with the massive
    engine cluster at the aft and the fantastic inverted flight pod design. It’s a good
    thing the Pegasus never truly came to blows with the Galactica in the show because I can’t
    see the Galactica lasting more than a few minutes no matter what Adama managed to come
    up with, the Mercury’s got a pair of huge high-yield batteries laid into the nose and
    we’ve seen them perforate the central spine of cylon basestars, just tearing them to ribbons,
    and that’s not even mentioning the 34 cannon batteries spread across the ship, and the
    enormous complement of Mark VII Vipers. Ok Spoilers for Battlestar Galactica coming up
    now so turn off if you’re not interested in getting this spoiled, but for pities sake
    what the heck happened at the Battle of New Caprica, I should do a video on that at some
    point just explaining how I would have approached that battle, and maybe even got both battlestars
    out alive, but even failing that, Lee Adama should not be congratulated for what he did
    in that battle, he threw away a ship that was so valuable to the human race that I’m
    surprised they didn’t immediately shoot the guy for incompetence, not to mention he
    did it in defiance of orders, to save like 15 people and a battered 50 year old ship.
    The Pegasus was Ideal for the situation they were in, perhaps more than any other ship.
    The mercury class can build vipers and other pieces of technology, it has VR bays to train
    pilots, and loads more internal space and comfortable living quarters, it’s exactly
    the kind of ship you want with you when you’re stuck with 50,000 civilians in the middle
    of nowhere, Adama should have transferred his flag to the Pegasus as soon as it arrived,
    no question. But yeah, rant aside, I just love seeing this ship on-screen, it never
    fails to look amazing, and I wish it had stuck around til the final season because it’s
    just fantastic. END
    So there it was my personal top-five capital ship designs, now I’ll just give you the
    quick lowdown on this Q&A. I’m planning to answer the questions in a video that will
    be uploaded on the 20th, so if you’re watching this on release day you’ve got a week to
    come up with questions, if you’re a patreon supporter you can find a post on the patreon
    page that you can put your questions on and they will be prioritised above all others,
    if you’re not a patreon supporter you can send your questions to the Spacedock Facebook
    page, the Spacedock Twitter @SpacedockHQ, or the Spacedock Subreddit, but be sure to
    amend #SpacedockQ&A to your question, so I know it’s for the Q&A. If your question
    doesn’t make the cut I apologize in advance, but I’ll see If I can move missed questions
    to later Q&A’s or failing that simply respond to them on social media. Just to remind you
    all, the questions for this video should not simply be video requests, if you’ve a ship
    you want to see covered I’d encourage you to leave it in the YouTube comments or on
    the Subreddit request thread, this Q&A is for specific questions about ships or sci-fi
    series or my own opinions on matters within the genre. Thank you all for watching and
    I hope to be answering some of your questions next week.

    Battlestar Galactica: Mercury Class Battlestar – Ship Breakdown
    Articles, Blog

    Battlestar Galactica: Mercury Class Battlestar – Ship Breakdown

    November 24, 2019


    Brought into service long after the conclusion
    of the First Cylon War, the Mercury Class Battlestar is one of the largest and most
    sophisticated warships ever deployed by the Colonial Fleet, representing the cutting edge
    of colonial military engineering, and the apex of naval development before the fall
    of the Twelve Colonies. At a length of 1789 Meters, the Mercury dwarfs
    it’s Jupiter and Minerva Class predecessors, presenting a thickly armoured and sturdy spaceframe,
    flanked by double-stacked flight pods, and propelled by a vast assembly of 8 capital-grade
    sublight engines. The Mercury carries a standard crew complement of 2,500 Personnel, with space
    to comfortably house a sizeable contingent of Colonial Marines and a number of passengers.
    As a product of its post-war development, the Mercury Class is built to incorporate
    a number of networked computer systems, drastically improving shipboard processing speed and electronic
    countermeasures, but presenting a vulnerability should the Battlestar’s firewalls be defeated.
    The weapons complement of the Mercury Class is extensive, including 30 automated twin-barrel
    artillery turrets, four fixed high-yield forward gun batteries, a number of guided missile
    hardpoints and a ship-wide CIWS defence gird concealed between the plates of the ship’s
    hull. The greatest concentration of weapons are spread across the vessel’s broadsides,
    but the most powerful individual batteries are fixed at the ship’s prow, for this reason,
    Mercury Class vessels will often charge head first into close quarters combat, in the hope
    of quickly cutting down at least one enemy vessel using its main guns, after which the
    ship will turn side-face to its enemy, bringing the bulk of its automated batteries to bear,
    while allowing more of its point defence positions to contribute to a defensive flak barrier.
    Perhaps the most distinctive features of the Mercury Class are the ship’s inverted ventral
    landing bays, stacked beneath the conventional bays on each flight pod. This simple yet elegant
    design provides the Mercury with storage space for a vast complement of strike craft, including
    hundreds of cutting-edge Mark VII Vipers, and dozens of Scout Raptors. The ship’s
    flight pods also include exposed loading docks on their dorsal flanks, allowing logistics
    craft to quickly deliver or retrieve supplies and personnel while keeping the primary landing
    bays clear for approach. The Mercury carries a number of onboard foundries
    and processing facilities, that allow the ship to construct replacement strike craft
    and other useful equipment using raw materials harvested from natural sources such as asteroid
    belts. This drastically increases the self-sufficiency and tactical range of the Mercury Class, allowing
    the ship to operate alone for extended periods without resupply, and to support a larger
    battlegroup by augmenting or replenishing their supply of auxiliary craft.
    The last of the Mercury Class vessels, and one of only two Colonial Warships to survive
    the Cylon Holocaust, was the Battlestar Pegasus – BSG-62. Under the command of Rear Admiral
    Helena Cain, the Pegasus escaped the Cylon’s brutal attack on Scorpia Fleet Shipyards by
    performing a blind FTL jump, far beyond the Red Line. Fortunately, the extensive computer
    networks of the Pegasus had been temporarily disabled for a ship-wide refit, allowing the
    vessel to escape without being disabled by Cylon Cyberwarfare attacks. Long after it’s
    departure from Cyrannus, the Pegasus eventually rendezvoused with the Battlestar Galactica,
    where it spent almost 17 months helping to protect and resupply the Fleet until the vessel
    was tragically lost in the Battle of New Caprica. As one of the final warship designs produced
    by the Colonial Fleet, the Mercury Class represents the pinnacle of human accomplishment in military
    shipbuilding, confidently embracing technologies once feared under the threat of the Cylons,
    and enduring even after the return of humanity’s long-absent enemy. Though the class saw little
    action in peace-time, her legacy was carried beyond the fall of the twelve colonies by
    the last of her kind, whose sacrifice ensured the survival of the human species for countless
    millennia to come.

    Star Trek: Anti-Borg Starfleet Ships – Spacedock Short
    Articles, Blog

    Star Trek: Anti-Borg Starfleet Ships – Spacedock Short

    November 23, 2019


    In
    the wake of the massacre at Wolf 359, the United Federation of Planets began to develop
    purpose-built warships for the first time it’s history, as part of a defensive initiative
    against future Borg incursions. Work on the first of these designs – known as the Defiant
    Class, was completed in 2370, after numerous delays due to technical concerns and reluctance
    by Starfleet officials to promote the development of combat vessels. In spite of these issues,
    the project pressed on, and the Defiant was followed by a full wave of anti-borg warship
    classifications commissioned in late 2372. The Norway Class medium cruiser is perhaps
    the most well-rounded of the 2372 warship cadre, offering an effective balance of durability,
    speed and firepower. As is typical among this first wave of combat vessels, the Norway presents
    a narrow, compact targeting profile, and features only a small number of external viewports
    to eliminate structural weaknesses. The Norway’s structure is centred around its large, wedge-shaped
    primary hull, which features layers of ablative armor in addition to most of the ship’s
    weapon emplacements. In total, the standard Norway Class carries six type-ten phaser arrays,
    nine directional phaser emitters and two photon torpedo launchers.
    The Saber Class Escort was intended to supplement the highly outdated Miranda Class Light Cruiser
    as a reliable patrol craft and fleet support vessel. The Saber was fiercely manoeuvrable
    and featured a highly unique spaceframe which made targeting the ship’s critical systems
    extremely difficult. The Saber’s armament was largely oriented forward to take maximum
    advantage of the small ship’s manoeuvrability, and included four type-ten phaser arrays,
    as well as a pair of photon torpedo launchers. Outside of their primary fleet escort role,
    Saber Class vessels were also popular with the Starfleet Corp of Engineers, where they
    were often employed as tugs, minelayers and technical support craft.
    Designed specifically to work in tandem with the Saber Class, the Steamrunner Class Heavy
    Frigate was envisioned as a durable, long-range torpedo platform. Though the ship only features
    two individual torpedo tubes, each is linked to a huge magazine of 250 warheads, and can
    be rapidly reloaded to maintain a powerful barrage. The ship’s phaser arrays offer
    full 360-degree firing arcs across both the dorsal and ventral hull, and layers of armor
    plating protect the Steamrunner’s nacelles and deflector array from blast damage. Outside
    of engagements with the Borg Collective, the Steamrunner Class was most commonly employed
    as a border patrol vessel, responding to minor incursions and criminal incidents across the
    perimeter of Federation Space. The Akira Class Heavy Cruiser draws heavily
    from Starfleet’s past in its design style, featuring elements clearly derived from the
    23rd century Walker Class and United Earth NX Class. One major innovation present on
    the Akira is the ship’s through-deck shuttlebay, built into the spine of the vessel’s saucer
    section. This bay allows for the storage and rapid deployment of Peregrine Class Attack
    Fighters, as well as various other auxiliary support craft. The Akira’s weapons complement
    includes an impressive fifteen torpedo launchers, as well as a prototype Chain Reaction Pulsar
    weapon, and six type-ten phaser arrays. Last and perhaps most iconic of the 2372 designs,
    is that of the Sovereign Class Cruiser. While certainly designed for defensive combat, the
    Sovereign Class is also a highly versatile exploration vessel, carrying many of the facilities
    normally seen on Galaxy Class Explorers. This is because the class was originally conceived
    as a successor to the Galaxy Class, intended to be the latest advancement in frontier exploration,
    but the design process was augmented as part of Starfleet’s Borg Defence initiative.
    The Sovereign Class carries sixteen type-twelve phaser arrays, as well as ten torpedo tubes,
    and vessels of the class are most often loaded with Quantum torpedoes in addition to standard
    Photon warheads. The construction and commissioning of a Sovereign Class starship was a highly
    resource-intensive endeavour, making the vessels a fairly uncommon sight among the fleet, but
    when completed – Sovereigns were always assigned to highly important postings, including
    the position of Federation Flagship, which was famously held by the USS Enterprise-E
    from 2372 onward.

    Stargate: Wraith Hive Ship – Spacedock
    Articles, Blog

    Stargate: Wraith Hive Ship – Spacedock

    November 22, 2019


    Wraith Hive Ships are colossal biomechanical
    warships that serve as the central support structure of Wraith Society. As well as hosting
    Wraith Queens and serving as miniature nations within the Wraith Dominion, Hive Ships are
    also the means by which human settlements are attacked and culled to provide a continuous
    food supply for the Wraith. At approximately 6,750 meters in length, Hive
    Ships are unshielded, but layered with nearly impenetrable organic armor, able to briefly
    resist even Asgard Plasma weapons. Each ship carries tens of thousands of Wraith, but can
    be operated by as little as a single individual should the situation demand it. Wraith vessels
    use neural interface systems for fine control in combat, and make use of advanced jamming
    codes to disable enemy missiles and Asgard transport systems.
    The primary armament of a Wraith Hive Ship consists of many single-fire ship-to-ship
    particle cannons. These weapons are able to sustain a high firing rate, creating a cone
    of fire that can overwhelm almost any target. The cannons are also valuable as orbital bombardment
    weapons and have been known to pierce even Lantean shield systems given sufficient time.
    Though the hive’s regenerative hull plating is impressive, the ship’s lack of true energy
    shields does result in a vulnerability to sustained fire, railgun barrages targeted
    at sensitive areas have been known to cause critical damage, and attacks by Lantean drone
    weapons are practically impossible for the Hive to endure.
    Each Hive carries an extensive complement of auxiliary craft, useful for planetary cullings
    and fleet escort assignments. A single hive is able to moor three full-sized Wraith Cruisers
    to its hull, as well as carrying hundreds of Wraith Darts inside cavernous hanger bays.
    Hyperdrive-equipped scout ships are also carried by most hives, and are often used to perform
    reconnaissance or to serve as executive shuttlecraft. A Hive’s contingent of Darts is perhaps
    its most lethal attribute, drastically increasing the speed of most planetary cullings through
    the use of fighter-mounted culling beams, and providing a lethal defensive swarm in
    heavy combat. Unlike Asgard and Lantean FTL systems, Wraith
    hyperdrives are incapable of intergalactic travel, and suffer from certain deficiencies
    even during interstellar flight. The organic hull structure of a Wraith Hive is vulnerable
    to critical damage from radiation, and continuous use of hyperdrive engines can place the ship
    in serious jeopardy. As a result of this, Wraith vessels are limited to 50-lightyear
    hyperspace jumps, punctuated by fifteen-hour break periods between jumps to allow for hull
    regeneration. The predictable nature of these breaks has often placed Wraith fleets at risk
    of ambush, and allowed their course to be more easily calculated by hostile observers.
    In spite of their vulnerabilities and limitations, the sheer scale and firepower of Wraith Hive
    Ships has made them into one of the most fearsome vessels encountered by the Tau’ri. The strength
    and resilience of these vessels has allowed the Wraith to drive even the ancient Lanteans
    to defeat, and to maintain a cycle of unchallenged cullings across the Pegasus Galaxy for millennia.

    5 Mysterious Cruise Ship Disappearances
    Articles, Blog

    5 Mysterious Cruise Ship Disappearances

    November 18, 2019


    Cruise ship disappearances 1. james christopher scavone In the early morning hours of July 5, 1999,
    in international waters between Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico, 22-year-old James
    Scavone vanished from Carnival Cruise Lines Destiny ship. James was on the cruise ship with his best
    friend, Jeff, and 12 members of Jeffs family for a seven-day trip to the Caribbean. At around midnight, James and his friends
    had been at the ships disco enjoying a few drinks. At about 12.30am, James told the boys he was
    going to the men’s room. James was never seen again. When his friends returned to the cabin at
    3:00 a.m., they assumed James had met someone and would return in the morning. By 10:00 a.m., James still had not returned
    so the friends went to the ships authorities to have him paged. James never answered. By 10:00 p.m. and after a thorough cabin-to-cabin
    search by crew members, James was still missing. A few weeks later, James mother asked for
    the itemized bill from James sail card. Her son had not gone anywhere or purchased
    anything after he left the disco, and he never reentered his cabin. In 2006, after viewing James case on the television
    show, Primetime, a woman recognized James as the person who went missing from the Destiny
    cruise ship that she was also on July 5, 1999. The woman told James family that on the morning
    of July 5, 1999, her cabin phone rang and she heard a young man on the other end say,
    “Help me, I can’t get out of here. Then she heard a scream, what sounded like
    furniture being thrown around the room, and some scuffling. The phone went dead thereafter. The woman was interviewed by the ship authorities
    and the FBI. She said that later in the week she asked
    about James, and the ship told her that he had been engaged prior the trip, his fiancee
    had broken up with him, so he probably committed suicide. According to the woman, this is a complete
    lie. She contacted Carnival Cruise’s corporate
    offices after the trip, in the hopes of being able to contact James family. Carnival Cruise told her they had no record
    of anyone disappearing from the “Destiny” on July 5, 1999. James remains missing to this day and foul
    play is not suspected in his disappearance. There have been no recent updates on his case. 2.Merrian carver
    Merrian Lynn Carver, 40, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, was a former investment banker who loved to
    write poetry. She was sailing aboard Celebrity Cruises’
    Mercury when she disappeared on August 28, 2004. She had a 13-year-old daughter who was staying
    with her ex-husband in England. She took CDs of her poems with her, but no
    computer, they were left in her handbag, in her room. She didn’t tell the 13 year old non-custodial
    daughter she spoke with on the phone daily, that she was taking a cruise, nor did she
    tell her parents. Her parents found out she was missing when
    they were called by their grand-daughter, after her calls to her mother had gone unanswered. Her parents tried to reach her for several
    days without success, and then filed a missing persons report. A police investigation five weeks later determined
    she had taken a cruise, and then went missing. She purchased round trip air fare with her
    cruise, which is frequently cheaper than one way which suggests that she wasn’t planning
    on commiting suicide. On night two of the cruise, she was suddenly
    missing. She never slept in the bed from night two
    on. Her cabin steward, Domingo Monteiro reported
    her not using her cabin, numerous times, and was told to shut up and mind his business
    when he reported her missing to his superior, and he was told to keep putting fresh chocolates
    on her pillow. The report was never taken any higher in the
    chain of command. Her belongings had remained in her cabin when
    everybody else got off the ship. Her cabin steward told his superior this. He asked his boss, should we report this? The boss says, ” No. I’ll take care of it. Just put all of her belongings in a bag. Put them in my locker and I’ll take care of
    it.'” Her handbag had her wallet with her name,
    Social Security number and everything. They just put it in storage, did nothing. No missing persons report was filed with the
    police by the cruise line, nor did they attempt to reunite the handbag with money and identification
    with the owner. At some point during the five weeks, the cruise
    ship decided to give away her belongings that had been in storage, to charity. After the Carvers started complaining, Royal
    Caribbean had held an internal hearing and fired Monteiro’s boss. But for the three months that the Carvers
    had been asking questions, the cruise line had never shared that information with them. After her father, Kendall Carver began his
    own investigation, hiring one of the word’s largest private-detective agencies and was
    being serviced by Tim Schmolder private detective from San Francisco, who was on the case, Domingo’s
    superior was terminated, memos went out to 14 other employees onboard, wanting to know
    if Domingo had talked to anyone about this event. Kendall Carver said that Royal Caribbean’s
    own documents offer evidence of cover-up. One memo shows that months earlier, company
    officials knew Monteiro had reported suspicious circumstances to his supervisor. The carver’s demanded Royal Caribbean produce
    a list of other passengers from the Boston area, where their daughter had lived, in case
    there was a friend or someone who might know about Merrian. Kendall Carver said that the subpoenas produced
    a list of the ship’s 2,000 passengers, with no contact information. Merrian ordered two sandwiches through room
    service on night two, and was never seen after that. On night two she (or somebody) left the entire
    trip tip for the room steward, $108, instead of leaving the tip on the last day of the
    cruise as is common, on a table with his name card on top of it. She never used the return portion of the airline
    ticket. Her father has spent more than $75,000 to
    date to get answers to the question, “what happened to my daughter?” He has also founded the International Cruise
    Victim not-for-profit organization. Royal Caribbean’s lawyer Jeffrey Maltzman
    denied any kind of cover up and later said in a press release that she appeared to have
    committed suicide on the ship. Her family denies she committed suicide and
    believes their handling of the cases will prevent them from ever knowing what happened. 3.Tammy grogan
    In 2006, Tammy Grogan was onboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ Imagination when she vanished
    somewhere between Mexico and Miami, into the waters of the Gulf. Traveling with her were her mother Bonnie,
    her 14-year-old son Jimmy, and an aunt Deb. The trip’s final stop before heading home
    was in Mexico, and family reported seeing Tammy on the ship after that time, at about
    1:30 a.m. The next day, Tammy was nowhere to be seen. At first, her family thought she was entertaining
    herself somewhere, but when the ship finally docked in Florida and she still hadn’t appeared,
    they became concerned. By the time they told the ship of her disappearance,
    a full 32 hours had passed. The information desk put out a page, but no
    one responded. Sadly, the Imagination had traveled more than
    400 miles since Tammy was last seen. That meant it was too late to send out a search
    party. Instead, the Coast Guard contacted the Mexican
    authorities who sent a message to vessels in the area. But Tammy was never found. Reports in the days after her disappearance
    stated foul play was not suspected. But here’s where it gets weird. About 18 months later, Bonnie gave an interview
    to local news claiming that the trip had been an elaborate ruse to dispose of Tammy. She accused Craig Morgan, the man who had
    purchased the cruise tickets for the family, of planning her death so that he might have
    unfettered access to Jimmy, the 14-year-old son. Morgan had reportedly showered the boy with
    gifts and attention, taking him on limo rides and lavishing him with jewelry – including
    no less than 23 watches. However, these lavish displays of affection
    were unsettling for Tammy. Tammy reportedly became uncomfortable enough
    with this that she eventually told her son he could no longer spend time with Morgan. Shortly thereafter, Morgan purchased the cruise
    tickets for Aunt Deb (who had once been his baby-sitter) as a reward for losing 100 pounds,
    and told her to invite Bonnie, Tammy, and Jimmy along. Once onboard the Imagination, Bonnie and Tammy
    realized that Morgan’s sister and her ex-boyfriend were also on the ship, and indeed were rooming
    right near them. On the night Tammy disappeared, Bonnie claims
    that, she had been in Tammy’s cabin. She claims she did not drink any alcohol,
    but when she drank a glass of water given to her by Jimmy, she blacked out. Bonnie alleges that she was secretly given
    Rohypnol, a powerful sedative said to be ten times stronger than valium. In 2010, WTOL News reported that forensic
    experts did find evidence of Rohypnol in Bonnie’s drink, but that claim has not been corroborated
    by other outlets. A more widely reported claim is that Morgan
    did some research on Rohypnol, evidenced by a handwritten note found by investigators. Morgan’s reasoning was that his sister Rebecca
    was having problems sleeping and he was trying to help her. Finally, when the family returned home four
    days later, without Tammy, they found that her apartment had been broken into and her
    computer hard drive and jewelry Morgan had given her was missing. Meanwhile, jimmy himself went missing in 2009. After living with his paternal grandfather
    for more than two years, he graduated from high school and fulfilled his life-long dream
    of enlisting in the military. But on September 29, he went AWOL from Fort
    Benning in Georgia and never finished his basic training. He is no longer in touch with Bonnie, or the
    grandfather. Bonnie believes he was involved. 4.george smith
    In 2005, George Smith and Jennifer Hagel were enjoying a wedding cruise in the Mediterranean. But on July 5 something went terribly wrong. George smith mysteriously disappeared never
    to be seen again. According to some of the 2,300 passengers
    onboard the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas, the honeymooning Smiths were heavy
    partiers who had drank and gambled well into the night and early morning on the day Smith
    disappeared. A police officer and his wife were in the
    cabin next door to the Smith’s and reported that noisy parties were the rule in the Smith’s
    cabin, usually into the wee hours of the morning. The officer was awakened at about 4:00 a.m.
    on July 5 by loud noises from the cabin next door; another party in the Smith’s room. This time, though, the officer and his wife
    heard yelling and arguing, the sound of heavy items being moved around the cabin next door,
    and then more noise from the balcony area next door to them. All of this was followed by a final loud noise,
    with other passengers reporting a scream, and then, for the first time in 30 minutes,
    nothing but silence from the Smith’s cabin. The daylight of July 5 found George Smith
    missing from his cabin with blood on the cabin floor, the bed, on the rail on the balcony,
    and a bloody handprint on the lifeboat just below the balcony of Smith’s room. Smith was nowhere to be found, and a missing
    person’s investigation took place. Jennifer was under suspicion for the disappearance
    of her husband, though she claimed to have no memory of the night before. She was found at 4:30 in the morning passed
    out in the hallway, a blackout that could explain her memory loss. George’s parents brought in Ivey Barnum
    & O’Mara, LLC’s Michael Jones to help them investigate the case and to see if he
    could provide more answers. He immediately got to work perusing the ship
    documents and interviewing the 4 men last seen with George. Two of them plead the 5th, one had a foggy
    memory of the events, and the last was serving prison time in Florida for trafficking. The man in prison, Greg Rozenberg, was the
    most forthcoming out of any of the suspects. All of the men claimed to have ordered room
    service at the time of George’s disappearance, but the timeline of the events is still suspicious. They were the ones who supposedly put him
    to bed before going back to one of their rooms and ordering room service. However, the ship made no record of a large
    room service order by the 4 suspects. 48 Hours reported later that Michael Jones,
    said a video involving three of the four men, could be key in cracking the case. “They pass a video camera around filming themselves
    commenting about George’s death in a very callous way,” Jones told 48 Hours. “But the really incriminating statement is
    one of them stands up at the end of the tape and sort of hunches his shoulders and flashes
    gang signs and says, ‘Told ya I was gangsta’ and in the context of the discussion about
    George’s death, almost as if he’s bragging about having done something to George.” None of the men in the video have been charged
    and all say they had nothing to do with George Smith’s death. This video was in the possession of the cruise
    line by the end of the cruise and, later, in the possession of the FBI which did not
    disclose it to any of the family members. It eventually became known to the Smith family
    only around 7 years after the incident. In 2015 FbI closed its investigation coming
    to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence of murder. george’s parents still have no idea what happened
    to their son. 5.Annette Mizener
    Annette Mizener, 37, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, was traveling with her parents Wally and Heidi
    Knerler and teenage daughter Danielle aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Pride. She was in cabin #6169. She was part of a group of 200 passengers
    from the Las Vegas Hilton. On the last night of a West Coast cruise from
    Los Angeles, while off the coast of Mexico, Annette had left to go play bingo. She had won at bingo twice already on the
    cruise, and was supposed to meet her parents for the 10pm bingo. In fact, she said she wanted to arrive early
    to get a good seat. When she didn’t show up, her parents became
    concerned and her father began to look for her. He searched for her in the casino. A witness said she was in the casino at 9:30pm. As he continued to search he heard her name
    paged, and became very worried. The crew had found her handbag on deck, and
    had paged her to give it back. That page was around 10:10pm Her small black,
    beaded evening bag along with an overturned drink glass, and scattered papers was found
    alongside a railing on a lower deck of the cruise ship. A security camera was tampered with, actually
    covered with paper near that location. Yet, no cruise ship crew or security noticed
    the covered camera, or the image not on the monitor in security. Beads from her purse were found on deck, appearing
    to have been ripped from the purse in a struggle. That was the single most important clue to
    her parents, that a struggle had taken place. Spots of blood were found on the deck near
    the purse. Her daughter states there was a man harassing
    her mother aboard ship. Security had been notified of this many times,
    and refused to assist. The cruise lines says the ship’s crew launched
    a room-by-room search of the Pride after Mizener’s daughter Danielle and other passengers noticed
    she was missing. That search took three hours and during that
    time, the ship continued on their course. Then, they called the U.S. Coast Guard which
    told the ship to turn around and search the waters. The ship was turned around around 2:00am. The U.S. Coast Guard joined in the search
    with aircraft and a Navy ship, and searched the waters for 16 hours, searching 833 square
    miles, before the search was called off. At the time of her disappearance, Mizener
    and her husband had recently adopted two other children, and had launched a new business
    together selling dietary supplements. The business was a dream come true, and she
    was very excited about it and having the adopted children. She also had a pending case as plaintiff for
    child support for children of a past marriage, indicating she had plans to continue her life. Peter Knerler, Annette’s brother said she
    was in good spirits, and there is no way she committed suicide. Early on John Mizener claimed the FBI suspected
    foul play. Inconsistency’s in a crew responses to questioning
    of the disappearance, John Mizener, her husband, complained of communication failure between
    Carnival and the FBI. The agency told the family several months
    after she vanished, that there’s evidence in a crime lab preventing the probe’s completion. There was one unidentified suspect who was
    the first person that found annette’s purse and coincidentally at the very same time 2
    guards arrived and collected the handbag. He is known to have made atleast 6 trips back
    and forth to the scene of the crime. But he was eventually ruled out as a suspect
    after fingerprint and DNA test results turned out negative. Finally a judge declared Mizener offi cially
    dead, but the family – who rule out suicide and suspect foul play – still have no answers.

    FIGHT CLUB [Film Analysis with Maggie Mae Fish]
    Articles, Blog

    FIGHT CLUB [Film Analysis with Maggie Mae Fish]

    November 14, 2019


    I wanna tell you a story about a really cool
    friend I have. This person dresses really slick, always says the right thing, dates
    the hottest people. My friend can win in any fight. And guess what: that person is MEEEEEEEE. That’s basically the argument of Fight Club.
    One guy telling us about how cool someone is, then revealing that “actually” that
    guy is me. How come when we watch a movie that makes that argument, it’s compelling,
    but if someone did that to you in person, you’d think they’re a garbage person?
    Maybe if we look a little closer at Fight Club, we can figure it out. The standard reading of Fight Club is that
    Jack is schizophrenic; that he invents Tyler as an alternate personality out of either
    boredom or a sense of inferiority, and then the Tyler personality takes over Jack’s
    mind for a while, does a bunch of terrorist stuff, but eventually Jack saves the day.
    Even though society seems like it’s about to crumble, the bad man is sent away. Happy
    ending, right? But I would like to propose a different reading: that this is a story
    told by Tyler from the very beginning. “This is it. The beginning.” That the personality
    of “Jack” never existed within the fictional world. Tyler is real. Jack is just a character
    invented by Tyler to manipulate us, the audience. Talking about a fictional character within
    a fictional story can be a bit confusing, so… we need to go over some concepts first. I’ve always felt like I’m not alone when
    I watch a movie, or TV, or a YouTube video. The person on screen is talking to me, even
    though I know they’re just pixels flashing on a monitor and vibrations emanating from
    speakers. I know that they’re not really here. That all these characters and places
    are absent, but I know that these images and sounds represent people places and emotions.
    I feel–no, I don’t just feel, I KNOW that they are present. This is known as “absence/presence.” Some movies are so clever, they’ll even
    draw attention to their own absence/presence: “We have front row seats at this theater
    of mass destruction.” That “we” is Jack and Tyler, but we is also us, the audience.
    The disembodied voice-over acknowledges that we’re aware we are about to watch a show.
    Then “we” impossibly float through walls in a complicated VFX shot. All these things
    are absent, but at the same time we feel they are present. As you can find in a basic film studies textbook:
    ”The spectator knows very well that what he is watching is a fiction, but all the same
    he maintains the belief, indeed his pleasure is dependent on the belief, that it is not.
    Cinema is thus founded on a regime of spectating at once knowing one thing and believing its
    opposite, which, as we have seen, is precisely the structure of disavowal.” The process of disavowal has been described
    by the formula: ‘I know, but all the same.’ We KNOW that the movie we are watching is
    not real. BUT in order to enjoy a movie, we must *believe* on some level that it is real. By starting with “I know,” we seem to
    acknowledge something or someone’s point of view, then by adding the “but” we disavow
    what we just claimed to know as true. Not every “I know, but” statement is disavowal.
    And not every statement of disavowal requires “I know, but.” When a politician says
    “let’s not make this political,” they are disavowing the fact that everything is
    inherently political. Dishonest people love disavowal because it makes them seem rational. It’s already weird that we’re able to
    follow the average film, following characters from scene to scene, across time and space.
    In Fight Club, Tyler and Jack are a weird, extremely literal manifestation of absence/presence
    and disavowal. By the end of the movie, Tyler is popping in and out of existence even within
    a single shot, the way characters pop in and out of existence when we change from one scene
    to another in any movie. By pushing absence/presence and disavowal
    into the foreground, Fincher keeps our minds so busy, we forget exactly what it is we’re
    even disavowing. Hint: it’s terrorism. “And let me pause to say, film theory and psycho-analytic
    concepts like these are not inherently good or inherently bad. Personally, I’m glad
    I can enjoy a movie through disavowal. Even a fictional narrative can reveal deeper truths
    about the human condition. What we need to ask is: what are the effects of a particular
    film’s use of these concepts? And, are the implications of the narrative true? So, with
    that in mind… There’s one more term we need to cover.
    Fetishism in pop culture is usually understood as someone getting overly horny at the sight
    of an object, like a pair of sexy red shoes. Cultural theorist Thomas Ying-ling wrote that
    it’s more useful to think of fetishism “as it has been defined in psychoanalysis not
    as the overvaluation of some part-object but as the denial of lack.” For example, the
    American flag is a fetish object, often used to deny a lack of freedom. How can you say
    I’m not free when I’ve got this piece of dyed cloth that stands in for freedom?
    By continually filling his life with Swedish furniture, Jack fills his life with fetish
    objects that comfort him. Collecting all these objects distract from what is lacking in his
    life. Clearly he’s lacking something. “Please just give me something.” If only Jack had
    a friend who would tell him what’s lacking in his life. Just as Jack fetishizes his furniture, audiences
    participate in fetism while watching movies. Film theorist Christian Metz wrote on the
    subject in the 1970s: “Fetishism occurs on screen within the image, as in the case
    of the fetishizing of the body of the femme fatale in film noir. But, says Metz, fetishism
    operates also at a far more basic level. The image as image and the cinematic apparatus
    as apparatus are both fetish, because they stand in for, make present, what is absent.
    As such, they disavow what is lacking.” Just as Jack fetishizes furniture to deny
    the lack in his own life, we fetishize the cinematic image to deny the lack of reality
    represented by that image. I know Spiderman is a fictional character, but when I see him
    die, I feel like a real person has died. If only we had a movie to tell us what we’re
    lacking in our lives. Fight Club is a story told by an unreliable
    narrator, whose goal is to explain away his own guilt and justify the position he’s
    established as the leader of a terrorist organization; an organization he knowingly and willingly
    created because he wants the rest of the world to be as miserable as he is. The narrative is told by, and controlled by,
    Tyler. Jack isn’t Tyler’s alter ego, or imaginary friend. In Jack, Tyler has created
    the perfect candidate for Project Mayhem, confident that we will see ourselves in Jack.
    That we’ll identify with Jack’s insecurities, doubts about society, and fear of self examination.
    In a 1999 interview, Fincher spoke to Tyler’s embodiment of disavowal: “[Y]ou have to
    have a guy that’s going, ‘Well, I can see your point, but it seems to me… You
    can look at losing all of your stuff both ways. Yeah, it’s all of your stuff; yeah,
    it took you years to collect; yes, they were all tasteful, interesting choices. But there’s
    another side to it.’” Tyler anticipates our moral reservations, lays them out in very
    childish terms, then goes “but!” and gives Jack a pre-packaged, simplistic counter-argument.
    “I say, let’s evolve. Let the chips fall where they may.” Okay, whatever that means.
    Tyler needs to invent the character of Jack, to give us a friendly, gullible fetish object
    to identify with. Jack is the image we can attach ourselves to, so that we can tell ourselves
    we–just like Jack–were innocent all along. We are free to enjoy the violence, even up
    to and including terrorist acts, because in the end we see Jack’s image, standing there,
    victorious. The image of Jack remains, although he now admits that he’s Tyler. Jack’s
    image is present, but Jack is absent. Tyler’s image is absent, but Tyler is present. By
    ending on Jack’s image, we deny the lack of morality in what Tyler has done. “Everything’s
    gonna be fine.” We can deny that this kind of power fantasy is appealing, to “guys
    like us,” because the good guy–or at least the image of the good guy–is the one left
    standing in the end. Also, that’s not how schizophrenia works. Fight Club is a movie that’s clearly designed
    to be watched multiple times, but with each viewing, we disavow more and more. The first
    viewing is exciting. We the audience experience revelation after revelation along with Jack,
    up until we learn that “Tyler is Jack.” Usually when we watch a movie for a second
    time, we’re able to break down a story’s structure a little better, and recognize key
    themes more clearly. We start to see the strings. It’s why the Sixth Sense is kind of boring
    on the second viewing, because now you’re just paying attention to how M Night Shyamalan
    “pulled it off.” But that’s not the experience of watching Fight Club for a second
    time. As viewers, solving a mystery is both entertaining and comforting. We want to understand
    what really happened in this fictional universe, and Tyler lays out a pretty fun, sardonic,
    flashy answer to the mystery of ‘who is Tyler Durden?’ Once we feel like we have that
    answer–even though it’s just ‘Tyler’s version of what happened in this fictional
    narrative–we get to sit back on the second viewing and just enjoy the ride. However,
    repeat viewings do not give us a deeper understanding of Marla’s perspective, even though she
    would have a pretty insightful view of Tyler. A view that we should want if we truly wanted
    to understand him more accurately, or understand the deeper implications of the story. But
    we don’t. Instead, Tyler frames her emotions as the butt of a mean joke, while seeing his
    emotions as valid. On a repeat viewing, instead of breaking down the movie, we’re sucked
    deeper into Tyler’s narrative, deeper into his perspective. We’re not just seeing puzzle
    pieces fit together in the order that Tyler has preordained. We’re FEELING how he wants
    us to feel about every character. Rewatching scenes with Marla, which should
    make us empathize with her since we now know that Tyler is treating her like garbage, instead
    make her the object of ridicule. Fincher’s choice of angles, tone, and pacing still privilege
    Tyler’s point of view. Look how often Marla is framed with the camera
    looking down on her. And how often Tyler is framed looking down on us. We are rewatching
    the exact same scene was saw on first viewing, telling ourselves that we’re watching something
    different this time, since we have new knowledge. But the same argument as before–that Marla
    is a trash human and sucks and Tyler hates her, and we should hate her too–is only reinforced
    on this viewing. Jack’s inflection seems clueless. “What
    are you getting out of all of this?” On first viewing, that inflection was understood
    to be Jack’s honest confusion about why Marla is hanging around with Tyler. On second
    viewing, there’s a surface level reading, if we take Tyler’s narrative at his word,
    that Jack is schizophrenic and is truly confused. But that’s not what’s going on. Because
    Jack is not there. Jack is absent. That’s Tyler talking. Tyler is present. Tyler is
    telling us this story. By acting ‘confused’ Tyler keeps us from empathizing with Marla
    in this situation and instead we empathize with Jack, because we’ve seen this scene
    before and were just as confused as he is. It’s relatable! It keeps us from acknowledging
    that in the actual world of the story, it’s Marla who is infinitely more confused because
    she’s dealing with this irrational obnoxious person. “Talk to me!” Tyler knows exactly
    how much of his asshole persona he can reveal without losing his intended audience. And
    this movie has an intended audience. This movie is not meant for everyone. This movie
    is meant for “guys like you and me.” It’s for nice guys who know they should be getting
    more out of life. “I used to be such a nice guy.” Except Jack was never a nice guy,
    because he never existed. The mythical nice guy is simply a convenient
    tool in Tyler’s rhetorical utility belt. This movie is for guys who were never nice,
    but want to claim: “It’s the world’s fault I’m not nice anymore.” Guys who
    want a fabricated excuse for their toxic, abusive behavior. On the fourth viewing, Marla is still gross.
    On the sixth viewing Jack still provides excuses for Tyler’s actions. On the eighth viewing
    we still disavow that Brad Pitt is a Hollywood sex symbol, so we can pretend he’s just
    a regular guy like us. Because no matter how many times you watch
    it, Tyler is still in control of the story. At best the narrative constructs him as a
    Messiah, at worst he’s misguided but still “right” about society *wink.* Tyler narrates
    scenes that literally did not happen, so that we don’t even have a chance to question
    Tyler’s lies. Tyler has to show us the provocative fight first. After all, seeing someone assaulting
    themselves, or pretend to be assaulted in public, would make them seem ridiculous. This
    is provocative. But from a more objective angle, we see it’s simply a dork pretending
    to get beat up. By the time Tyler shows us this he’s preached so much about how terrible,
    absurd, and messed up society is, we’re primed to see this kind of behavior as justified,
    or even noble. If society is absurd, the means of rebelling
    might as well be equally absurd. This is why, even on a repeat viewing, when we know that
    Tyler is punching himself in this scene, we don’t think “That’s a sad guy punching
    himself.” We still think: “This is cool and funny and different. This is the origin
    story of the cool secret club I know about.” We disavow critical thought, in favor of being
    part of the in group. “Losing all hope was freedom.” Tyler talks a lot about freedom, about being
    free. But the kind of freedom Tyler is talking about isn’t found in Enlightenment philosophy
    or the Declaration of Independence or even in ads for oversized American pickup trucks.
    Journalist I. A. R. Wylie interviewed a young man who could have been a real life candidate
    for Project Mayhem when he said: “We are free from freedom.” Wylie elaborates: “He
    meant that he no longer had to make his own decisions or even think his own thoughts.”
    Wylie was interviewing a young Nazi who made that proud statement shortly before World
    War Two. Eric Hoffer, in The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements,
    explains that this kind of freedom “is not freedom of self-expression and self-realization,
    but freedom from the terrible burden of an autonomous existence. They want freedom from
    ‘the fearful burden of free choice.’” “It’s only after we’ve lost everything
    that we’re free to do anything. The idea of free will, of free choice, is antithetical
    to Tyler’s worldview. “Freedom” means having a gun placed at the back of your head
    and being told what to do. And, conveniently for Tyler, he sets up a system which strips
    everyone else of choice, leaving Tyler with the ability to choose for them. You are free to punch, you are free to blow
    things up, but you’re not free to do just anything. To Tyler, these violent, physical
    categories of knowledge are good. But there are categories of knowledge which he finds
    distasteful, which he wants to eliminate. Tyler: “Why do you guys like you and I know
    what a duvet is?” Simply knowing what the word duvet means is immoral to Tyler. “Guys
    like you and me” should not be allowed to know what a duvet is. We are men. We are hard.
    Duvets are prohibited for “guys like you and me.” Why does Jack feel so empty? Why does Jack
    feel so lost? Does he feel crushed by the superficiality and alienation inherent in
    capitalism? Does he have a terminal illness? Is it because the word duvet exists? It’s
    because Jack isn’t real. He’s a straw man whose mortal enemy is a fancy word for
    blanket. Let’s take a close look at one of the characters
    Tyler indoctrinates. A character whose life Tyler believes Tyler changes for the better.
    “What are we doing?” “Human sacrifice.” In the only scene where we actually see Tyler
    intimately engage with one of his converts, Tyler drags this stranger, Raymond, outside
    while he’s working, and puts a gun to the back of Raymond’s head. Then, based solely
    on the fact that Raymond has an expired community college ID in his wallet, Tyler assumes a
    heck of a lot about Raymond’s hopes and dreams, gets him to admit under duress that
    he gave up on his goal of being a veterinarian, then threatens that if Raymond doesn’t go
    back to school, Tyler will find Raymond and murder him. Very inspiring stuff. We know that Tyler just wants to push this
    guy to be his best self. We know that Tyler is trying to motivate men to be men. To take
    charge of their lives. We know this, because Tyler knows this. Raymond does not know this. We do not know
    Raymond’s perspective. We do not establish his mundane job. We do not see him standing
    behind the counter as Tyler rushes in like an ordinary robber. If we heard Raymond’s
    side of the story, he would tell us about the time a lunatic robbed him, spouted a bunch
    of pseudo philosophical BS — “The question, Raymond, was what did you want to be?” — only
    stole his drivers license, then left. Tyler tells us a story about how Tyler is a messiah.
    We are left assuming that Tyler changed this man’s life for the better. We do not know
    that. Whether or not Raymond actually gets his degree, doesn’t matter. “Imagine how
    he feels.” Tyler doesn’t want us to imagine how Raymond actually feels. Tyler wants us
    to imagine how Tyler wants Raymond to feel. “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day
    of Raymond K Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I
    have ever tasted.” In reality, Raymond is not liberated. In reality, Raymond has no
    choice, but to follow Tyler’s orders. Raymond hasn’t been watching this movie, so Raymond
    has no reason to trust Tyler, no reason to buy into his arcane plan. Tyler asks Raymond a straightforward question:
    “Raymond K Hessel, 1320 SE Spanning Apartment A. Small cramped basement apartment?” The
    answer to his question is “Yes,” but since Tyler is telling this story, Raymond answers
    “How did you know?” Tyler is telling us about a time when he robbed someone and pointed
    a gun at the back of their head, and in telling this story, Tyler needs to emphasize that
    he knows everything, so he has this person, in the middle of what they think might be
    their last moments on earth, praise Tyler’s intelligence. Tyler is right about everything.
    “How did you know?” “Because they give s**tty basement apartments letters instead
    of numbers.” I don’t even know if that’s true, but we don’t have time to question
    it. Because Tyler is never wrong. “I just can’t win with you, can I?” Tyler wins
    in every situation no matter how absurd. Everything Tyler sets out to achieve, he accomplishes,
    because this is Tyler’s story and he is the hero. “Tyler, you are by far the most
    interesting single serving friend I’ve ever met.” Even his victims think so. “How
    did you know?” Even on a second viewing. “How did you know?” Notice how, when Tyler
    was trying to ask Raymond “what did you want to be?” It takes multiple questions,
    and the threat of physical violence. “What’d you study, Raymond?” “Stuff.” “Stuff?
    Were the midterms hard?” But when it comes to praising Tyler, Raymond’s response is
    immediate. “How did you know?” Watching Tyler drift through the story is like watching
    someone play a video game with god-mode on. Raymond’s existence in Tyler’s story serves
    Tyler. Later, we see a door covered in drivers licenses. We never see Raymond again. Raymond
    is reduced to a bureaucratic identification card. If he did not go back to school, he’s
    dead because Tyler killed him. If he did go back to school, he’s dead because he is
    no longer in control of his own life. He has been sacrificed to appease Tyler. Raymond’s
    name and face are present. But Raymond’s point of view is absent. “You had to give it to him.” No we don’t.
    Jack is there to put up the FLIMSIEST defense. Except Jack is not there. Tyler tells us he’s
    there, to reassure us that we’re questioning this ridiculous situation along with Jack.
    “That wasn’t funny! Wha the f*** was the point of that?” But Tyler is holding the
    gun. There’s no actual voice of reason in this scene. Only in the telling of it, for
    our sake. The underground fight clubs are supposedly
    formed in search of some truth, in search of freedom, but they are predicated on deception.
    “The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. The second rule
    of fight club is you do not talk about fight club.” By repeating that rule, Tyler is
    inviting us to break it. His cadence even punctuates the sentence as if to say “You
    do not” period “talk about fight club.” Talk about fight club. Do not, period. Talk
    about fight club. We are a group of people who want to break society’s rules. Here
    are rules. Break them. And of course the rules are being broken. That’s the only way the
    group can grow. The rule itself prompts members to disavow: “The first rule is, I’m not
    supposed to talk about it.” But here I am, talking about it. Later, when Tyler calls
    out his followers for breaking the rules, it’s not to punish them. Rather–after a
    brief interruption by an authority figure whose rules they’ve been breaking this whole
    time–Tyler rewards his men with a new development: “This week, each one of you has a homework
    assignment” — the beginning of Project Mayhem. Tyler not only expected people to
    talk publicly about Fight Club, he already had the next step of his plan ready, for when
    more recruits showed up. Congratulations, you have all been promoted in the corporate
    structure of Project Mayhem. Also, Tyler only says “Do not talk about fight club” twice.
    And as Tyler himself says: “Promise.” “I just said, I promise.” “That’s
    THREE TIMES you promise.” For Tyler, being a loser is the first step
    toward being a winner. Whether it’s Jack’s status as a loser with no life. Or literally
    losing a fight. So Tyler has a plan. Is it a plan to succeed? To get a win under his
    belt to strengthen his leadership position? Nope! “You’re gonna start a fight, and
    you’re gonna lose.” So Tyler recruits people who are already losers, then immediately
    gives them a losing task that will make them feel even more powerless. This increases their
    dependence on Tyler, and increases his power base. Like the way the ringleaders of Gamergate
    target insecure gamers, then tell them that all their problems are caused by womz, people
    of color, and polygon tiddies not being big enough. Or Teal Swan, the YouTuber who preys
    on people with suicidal thoughts, gets them to pay her big chunks of money for “therapy,”
    then encourages them to kill themselves by telling them to “visualize killing yourself.”
    For Tyler, feeling like a loser is the basis for identity, and the first step into reclaiming
    masculine superiority. This conflating of winning and losing parallels the way neo-Nazis
    romanticize World War Two, a contest the Nazis resoundingly lost. Or the way pro-slavery
    Americans romanticize the Civil War, a contest pro-slavery Americans resoundingly lost. In
    his 2006 essay about Fight Club and fascism titled Masochism and Terror, Andrew Hewitt
    writes: “This internalization of loss–this paradoxical affirmation of lack as the very
    basis of identity–marks the apotheosis of ‘the novel assertion that it is precisely
    this loss of the war that is characteristically German… [T]he fascist internalizes lack–ontologizes
    alienation–as the very condition of German subjectivity.” Being a loser becomes the
    basis for identity. Instead of feeling shame or regret about war and loss, the fascist
    doubles down, forming their identity in opposition to an “Other” who has cheated them out
    of victory. Hewitt continues with this quote from Nietzsche: “Every sufferer instinctively
    seeks a cause for his suffering… more exactly, an agent: still more specifically, a guilty
    agent who is susceptible to suffering–in short, some living thing upon which he can,
    on some pretext or other, vent his affects, actually or in effigy.” Tyler is the sufferer
    who points to society, consumerism, women, or whatever’s convenient in the moment,
    as the cause of his suffering. This is why he narrates Jack’s life as so utterly pathetic.
    As suicidal. As practically a zombie. Tyler needs Jack to seem powerless, because Tyler
    is going to show us, through Jack, the path to power. Assuming that Project Mayhem actually
    succeeds and resets debt to zero–which is itself an absurd, fetishized plan–then Tyler
    will succeed in reordering society based around loss. Based around lack. A lack of economics,
    a lack of structure, a lack of order. And he happens to be the leader of an organization
    that is ready to step in and impose its own economics, its own structure, its own order. Man, cops suck! “F***ing pigs!” But also
    we are the cops. In 1999, when asked “Did you see [Tyler]
    in terms of the literary device of the unreliable narrator?”, Fincher said: “Oh, he’s
    totally unreliable.” Fight Club is extra frustrating because not only is our narrator
    unreliable, but Fincher himself is also an unreliable storyteller. Unlike Rashomon or
    The Last Jedi, where directors Kurosawa and Rian Johnson utilized unreliable narrators
    to blatantly call out the subjectivity of storytelling, Fincher indulges in subjective
    storytelling. He uses clever dialogue and flat acting to misdirect our attention. “Did
    you know that if you mixed equal parts gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can
    make napalm?” “No I did not know that, is that true?” “That’s right.” So
    instead of thinking “oh my god he’s a terrorist” we–prompted by Jack’s dialogue–think
    “wow, what a quirky guy.” “Wow, that Nazi so casually talks about ethnic cleansing!
    That’s interesting!” Fincher structures his shots, visuals, and narrative to impose
    his order on the viewer. “I just love the idea of this omniscience, like the camera
    just kind of goes over here perfectly. There’s none of that documentary kind of feel to it.
    It’s very much like what’s happening is doomed to happen. And I like that as the psychological
    underpinning.” Fincher’s style does not open things up to interpretation or question.
    He has a point of view, an objective, and he will not allow you to stray. Just as Tyler,
    in telling his story, has a point of view, an objective, and he will not allow you to
    stray. Fincher utilizes a structure that director
    Peter Watkins has termed the Monoform, a linear, predetermined format meant to drive the audience
    toward a specific conclusion. “Which is simply a name I give to the basic structure
    of what we see on television and in a majority sense most of what we see in the commercial
    cinema today. Of course it’s a series of rapidly edited pictures, constantly displacing
    us from one thing to another, from one subject, one visual image with all its associated metaphorical,
    symbolic, personal meanings. Different weight of information on screen, different mass,
    different shape, different movement, and we’re asked to deal with that, usually in five,
    six or seven seconds, which is the average cutting rate. And you change to the next,
    change to the next, and so on and so on, endless barrage of visual information, which is of
    course being accompanied by an audio barrage, all being thrust at the audience, in a one
    way monolinear push from beginning to end.” Fight Club not only drives toward a foregone
    conclusion, Fincher even shows us the ending, without proper context, at the beginning.
    “What the audience is to feel or decide at the endpoint here, is already determined
    at the beginning point, on all sorts of levels.” By showing us the ending out of context at
    the beginning of the film, and then dropping in key information throughout the film, Fincher
    makes us feel as if we are undergoing a process of discovery. In actuality, Fincher withholds
    key information so that we continue to like Tyler, so that we never think of him as the
    terrorist leader he truly is. “Why do you think I blew up your condo!” We are given
    the illusion of choice, but we lack choice when confronted with the monoform. “The
    whole purpose of 20th century Mass Audio Visual Media is that it is not predicated on incorporating
    the ideas, feelings, experiences, subjectivity, memory, knowledge, wisdom of the audience,
    or the viewer or viewers, and engulfing them and taking them into the process, and sharing.
    20th century mass audio visual media MAVM is designed to withold those, to push those
    away, and to instead engulf the people with this fabricated, fragmented, arbitrary process,
    where the person’s participation is held out. And that’s why everything is moving
    very fast. To hold back any opportunity for the person to have time to come in, and enter
    the material and challenge it or negotiate with it or anything.” When Tyler encourages us to question the authority
    inherent in consumerism, we as an audience disavow that there are other forms of authority
    we should question as well. For example: Tyler’s authority, and the police state he’s trying
    to create. When it comes to questioning *Tyler’s* authority, Jack–our standin–only provides
    one very specific type of quesiton. “What do you want me to do? You want me to just
    hit you?” “Come on, just do me this one favor?” “Why?” “Why why do we need
    bunkbeds?” “What why? What’re you talking about?” He frames his questions as a child
    asking a parent for their reasoning, instead of actually challenging Tyler’s authority.
    Jack never challenges Tyler, never gives an alternate point of view. Always asks for Tyler’s
    justification, giving him another platform to lecture at us. And he always accepts that
    justification, prompting us to accept that justification. “You had to give it to him.”
    If Jack had a YouTube channel today he’d probably be a centrist, insisting: “I’m
    just trying to hear both sides.” Tyler dazzles new recruits with his cool, seemingly anti-authoritarian
    message while simultaneously stepping into the role of authority figure. Tyler uses a flat, cool tone of voice to seduce
    us, whether he’s playing Tyler or playing Jack. “In a catastrophic emergency, you’re
    taking giant panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate.”
    Tyler lulls us into feeling docile, into accepting the fate he’s laid out for us. Brecht wrote
    about the alienating effect of certain kinds of meta theater. Regarding actors tone of
    voice, Brecht said: “[The actor’s] way of speaking has to be free from parasonical
    sing-song and from all those cadences which lull the spectator so that the sense gets
    lost.” Tyler and Jack utilize the exact kind of sing-song cadence that Brecht denounces.
    “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as
    everyone else.” The soundtrack to the movie, which you can buy at any major music retailer,
    even includes a bonus track, co-written by Fincher. Listen, as Tyler Durden coos a bunch
    of self-help advice at us. “It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re
    free to do anything.” If that isn’t sing-song-y, I don’t know what is. Whereas Brecht’s goal
    was to alienate us from the narrative, Tyler’s goal is to pull us further into the narrative,
    further into his world. Tyler doesn’t want to elevate the spectator, and seemingly neither
    does Fincher. The formal aspects of Fincher’s films–more
    “insider knowledge,” such as editing, framing, and even the slightest camera move–are
    ritualistically fetishized by cinephiles. For example, this youtube video: “Did you
    see that? It’s a very small thing, and it’s easy to miss. What is it, exactly? Well, it’s
    a camera move.” Fincher’s perfectionism and artificiality are admired, to the point
    where any ethical implications about how these techniques are used, become irrelevant. I
    don’t mean to call out any youtube channel, specifically. Nerdwriter does great work.
    I’m trying to highlight how–when a director is able to trick us, or seduce us with flashy
    film production techniques and visual effects–we invest more emotionally, not just in that
    narrative, but in the very means of production, themselves. Film has always been a constructed
    medium, but the depth of Fincher’s visual manipulation is unprecedented, especially
    since he uses these techniques for the most basic dialogue scenes. Even digital editing
    techniques that we would never spot with the naked eye are fetishized. “We’re not just
    editing shots together anymore, we’re editing pixel by pixel.” Humans are manipulated
    on screen, pixel by pixel, to manipulate us, the audience at home. Even though it feels
    kind of Big Brother-ish to me, film enthusiasts only show more reverence, more admiration
    for Fincher. Metz wrote about this type of film nerd, which he refers to as the cinema
    fetishist. “The cinema fetishist is the person who is enchanted at what the machine
    is capable of, at the theater of shadows as such. For the establishment of his full potency
    for cinematic enjoyment he must think at every moment of the force of presence the film has
    and of the absence on which this force is constructed.” One might assume that behind
    the scenes videos, directors commentaries, and YouTube videos explaining the meaning
    behind a movie would strip away the artifice, but to the cinephile obtaining this sacred
    knowledge only adds to the depth of the film, and their enjoyment. Just as we want to participate
    in the Tyler Durden power fantasy, so we want to participate in the Fincher-as-director
    power fantasy. Wouldn’t it be fun to have all that control?? While his more recent films have a cleaner,
    sterile look, for Fight Club, Fincher sought a more gritty, “authentic” look. [Cinematographer] Jeff Cronenweth and I…
    talked about making it a dirty-looking movie, kind of grainy. When we processed it, we stretched
    the contrast to make it kind of ugly, a little bit of underexposure, a little bit resilvering,
    and using new high-contrast print socks and stepping all over it so it has a dirty patina.
    What’s resilvering? Rebonding silver that’s been bleached away
    during the processing of the print and then rebonding it to the print.
    What does that do? Makes it really dense. The blacks become incredibly
    rich and kind of dirty. We did it on Seven a little, just to make the prints nice. But
    it’s really in this more for making it ugly. We wanted to present things fairly realistically. So much effort to make a perfectly “ugly”
    product. “Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections.” To Tyler, life
    is trash, so the film looks trashy. So there’s this apparent contradiction in
    Fight Club. On one hand, Fincher’s desire to manipulate, pixel by pixel to create the
    perfect, idealized image. And on the other hand, this trash aesthetic–a desire to portray
    the world as a giant pile of garbage. These ideas may feel out of sync, but there is an
    ideology that thoroughly embraces this contradiction. Here we go, this is where we blatantly connect
    fight club to fascism! Fascism. Sorry, was that too much of a hard turn? Okay, let me
    set up this section about fascism with a quote about fascism. David Fincher said a movie
    set’s a fascist dictatorship, when he said: “I think a movie set’s a fascist dictatorship.” Andrew Hewitt writes: “We have forgotten
    the proximity of totalitarian thought to the eco-logic of the compost heap. When the narrator
    of Fight Club tells us that he ‘wanted to put a bullet through the eyes of every panda
    that wouldn’t fuck to save its species,’ the affinity of that eco-logic with a murderous
    eugenicism becomes exaggeratedly apparent.” And regarding the way Tyler turns human fat
    into explosives, Hewitt writes: “This trope has itself been recycled–this time from the
    proto-fascist writings of the Futurist F. T. Marinetti, in whose writings we find ‘the
    plainest, most violent of Futurist symbols”: ‘In Japan they carry on the strangest of
    trades: the sale of coal made from human bones. All their powderworks are engaged in producing
    a new explosive substance more lethal than any yet known. This terrible new mixture has
    its principle element coal made from bones with the quality of violently absorbing gases
    and liquids.’” Fascists and proto-fascists have always viewed humanity as disposable,
    as single-serving, as garbage. Of course an ideology that views humans as compost would
    devise policies that lead to the glorification of death in battle, mass graves, and death
    camps. The blonde haired, blue eyed superman is fetish object, denying the lack of perfection
    in all humans; denying the alienating, painful existence of living under an autocratic regime. Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi documentarian,
    was hyper-aware of the fetish-value of photogenic young men. While filming her Nazi propaganda
    films she got upset that so many actual Nazis didn’t live up to her aesthetic expectations.
    Prominent Nazi Albert Speer recalled: “I was present when Riefenstahl, in a restaurant
    with her staff, was a little bit frank and made some mocking remarks about the bellies
    [of the Nazi Brownshirts] not being so good for photographs or some such thing.” Riefenstahl
    mocked literal Nazis for not being ideal enough. Riefenstahl biographer Stephen Bach adds:
    “[Speer] conspired with her to hide the [Brownshirt] potbellies she mocked behind
    thousands of swastika flags.” In this instance, the ultimate fetish symbol for Nazis–the
    Swastika–literally obscures actual, pot-bellied Nazis. Nazis with pot bellies are present
    at the rally. But they are absent from Riefenstahl’s film. Idealized Nazi imagery is present in
    Riefenstahl’s film. But it is absent from reality. Tyler’s body–actually sexy, sexy Brad Pitt’s
    body–obscures Tyler’s true form–that of doughy Edward Norton. Tyler invites us to
    mock Gucci models, disavowing Brad Pitt’s own highly sexualized body. In fight club,
    at least one conventionally unattractive member is allowed. Who happens to be the only member
    who dies a violent death. Bob’s body–which his fascist buddies considered grotesque and
    wrong–is re-coded by those same buddies after his death; recycled into a perfect symbol
    of fascism. “In death, a member of Project Mayhem has a name.” Yes, Robert Paulson
    truly achieved glory by smashing the windows of a Starbucks coffee, and then getting shot
    in the head. Tyler tells us he had it all: “I had it
    all” However, Tyler is aware that he’s missing something that society expects an
    adult male to have: a wife. His father even suggests this as a next step: Dad, now what?
    He says, I don’t know, get married.” But he refuses, for abstract reasons. “I can’t
    get married. I’m a 30 year old boy.” I know I’m thirty years old and it’s like
    time to get married but I’m only thirty years old I can’t get married. Tyler holds this anti-romance and anti-sex
    attitude, despite the constant sexual dialogue and imagery–especially homoerotic, phallic
    and anal imagery–splattered all over the film. But none of the sexual innuendo in the
    dialogue or imagery is ever titillating. It’s usually disgusting. It’s almost always played
    either flatly, or ironically. “Could check your prostate?” “I think I’m okay.”
    Powerful sexual dialogue is usually heard over scenes of violence. “Sometimes all
    you could hear were the flat hard packing sounds over the yelling. Or the wet choke
    when someone caught their breath and sprayed.” But any kind of emotional or vulnerable sexual
    dialogue is usually associated with impotence and disgust. “You cry now.” “Strangers
    with this kind of honesty make me go a big rubbery one.” And in the void left behind
    in his mind where sex would exist, Tyler finds human suffering. “I’m so close to the
    end and all I want is to get laid for the last time.” It’s ironic that Chloe is talking
    about sex, because sex is not what arouses Jack here. He’s getting off on her suffering.
    Immediately after that, while talking about the meetings, Tyler talks in a sing-song voice
    about how it makes him feel. “Every evening I died, and every evening I was born again.”
    Tyler is referring to his orgasm. The pain he witnesses in these groups is the pornography
    he needs to reach climax. When he “dies,” he’s experiencing “la petit mort.” The
    little death. Which is a fancy term that means “the sensation of orgasm as likened to death.”
    When he’s resurrected, or rises again… he’s talking about his dick. In framing the story, Fincher visually links
    sexual desire with physical illness. It’s very telling that Chloe and Bob are both the
    most emotionally honest and open characters in the entire movie, and the only characters
    who die in Tyler’s telling of it. Not to mention, they are the characters most guilty
    of transgressing the gender binary: Bob, with his massive breasts and missing testicles,
    and Chloe, whose femininity has been ravaged by her illness, assuming she presented as
    “feminine” in the first place. God forbid Tyler acknowledges any kind of sexual curiosity
    outside the heteronormative binary. Tyler strives to make sex undesirable; to
    make sexual pleasure feel unattractive and pathetic. It’s possible to read Fight Club
    as homoerotic, however, there’s no actual love or attraction between men. Despite the
    constant homoerotic imagery, he seems completely uninterested in any kind of sex. The most
    homoerotic moments are between Tyler and Tyler. Even Marla seems like a toy at best. Marla is portrayed as disgusting, haggard,
    unkempt. Fincher does everything he can to make us feel that Marla is stinky, and once
    again links sexual desire to physical illness. “This is cancer, right?” Her sex scenes
    are so depraved–”I haven’t been f***ed like that since grade school”–so extreme,
    or so abstract, they’re devoid of any conventionally erotic imagery. This is not sex for pleasure.
    This is sex as performance. Tyler is performing heterosexuality. Sex for the sake of telling
    his friends: “I banged that chick.” Marla is never attractive. Except for one instance.
    But before we get to that, let’s go behind the green door. In the novel Fight Club, there’s mention
    of various doors: orange, blue, green. But Fincher only keeps the GREEN door in his version.
    “Now we’re going to open the green door.” Behind the Green Door was a pornographic movie
    released in 1972. It was a massive success, and helped commodify porn by bringing it into
    the mainstream. The movie Behind the Green Door is the story of an underground group
    of criminals who dress in all black in order to carry out an anarchic mission. They kidnap
    people and force them to perform at a sex club. “Ladies and gentlemen, you are about
    to witness the ravishment of a woman who has been abducted. A woman whose initial fear
    and anxiety have mellowed into curious expectation.” Within the film, the green door itself comes
    to symbolize an entry point into a safe space, similar to the support groups. Outside this
    safe space–in the outer world–is sexual repression, anxiety, patriarchy. But in here,
    on this stage, the participants find a safe space to pursue pleasure. Sexual gratification
    for the female main character is framed as positive. It’s telling that the support
    group leader in Fight Club says we’re going to open our green doors, and soon after, Chloe
    talks specifically about her *sexual* desires in front of the group. Clearly, Fincher is
    drawing a link between the two. But I don’t think it’s simply the pursuit of sexual
    pleasure that links Fight Club and Behind the Green Door. Before the main character engages in an orgy
    on stage, she undergoes a kind of guided meditation, led by a woman whose dialogue is oddly similar
    to the kinds of things Tyler says. “Poor child, I know exactly how you feel. I’m
    going to tell you everything that’s going to take place, so there’s no need to be
    frightened. I’m your friend.” Both characters use a soothing tone of voice to coax the audience
    stand-in into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise be okay with. In addition to the
    massage lady, as the performance begins, a disembodied voice tells us to obey. “Remember,
    you are sworn to observe silence. If you break this rule, you will be dealt with severely.”
    The implication becomes: obey the rules and you will find pleasure. “With the knowledge
    that you are powerless to stop the performance, just relax, and enjoy yourself to the fullest
    extent.” Just as Tyler’s words and deeds give us the illusion of agency or choice in
    his theatre of destruction, so too, this announcer’s assumption that we could somehow interfere
    helps us feel as though we have agency. As though we could somehow interrupt a movie
    that’s already been shot and distributed. In Behind the Green Door, we have an authority
    figure giving the main character–our standin–the freedom to enjoy something transgressive:
    her own sexuality; permission to enjoy something that she should already be free to enjoy.
    In Fight Club, we have an authority figure who gives the main character–our standin–freedom
    to enjoy something transgressive: terrorism; permission to enjoy something that is antithetical
    to the very concept of freedom. And these are the themes that link Behind
    the Green Door and Fight Club: this tension between pursuing what you want, but also looking
    to an authority figure for permission to pursue, or looking to them for a list of pre-approved
    pleasures you may pursue. The green door metaphor used in the support
    group is meant to help people cope with long lasting emotional pain, or chronic physical
    illness. In the chemical burn scene, Tyler has set up a false parallel to the support
    groups. Tyler’s goal in this scene is to make this act of physical assault seem comparable
    with the existential and chronic pain experienced by members of the support group. Tyler, who
    is a physical and emotional abuser, manages to make his actions seem as inevitable as
    death by terminal cancer. Those support group members do not have a simple, immediate means
    of alleviating their pain. They cannot just pour vinegar on their cancer, or missing testicles,
    or tuberculosis. But to a naive audience member who hasn’t had to cope with long-lasting
    emotional or physical trauma, who is looking for a reason to claim victimhood, the comparison
    may feel attractive . Tyler “feels” like he has the answers–”You can run water over
    your hand to make it worse, or, look at me, or you can use vinegar to neutralize the burn”–even
    though he’s concocted an absurd scenario with a predetermined conclusion. And this happens to be the only moment in
    the entire film where Marla is presented as sexually desirable in a visual sense. Jack
    makes one last ditch effort to block out the pain and pursue pleasure. And this is the
    moment that “Jack” closes his green door. He stops trying to escape to his safe space,
    and never bothers trying to go there again. He’s left with a scar which resembles vaginal
    lips. Sexual imagery recoded as a mark of pain. A fetish object that denies the lack
    of pleasure. Shortly afterwards, he denies Marla the sex that she’s come to expect.
    “Are we done?” “Yeah, we’re done.” We see her again in the Paper Street house,
    but there’s no sexual tension anymore. He has metaphorically closed his door to his
    pleasure center, and chosen to pursue pain. Tyler’s safe space is not just a *room*. Not
    just a single location where you’re prohibited from saying the word ‘duvet.’ It’s a world
    where you’re prohibted from saying the word ‘duvet,’ or doing anything else he doesn’t
    approve of. If Fincher set out to tell a cautionary tale
    about the way we are so easily manipulated by media, celebrities, and people in positions
    of power, then he failed because his target audience–guys like us–clearly didn’t get
    that message. I mean, they went on to actually create fight
    clubs. Or if he set out to make a movie that exploits that same bro-ey audience, and he’s
    laughing at anyone who enjoys it for being such gullible losers, then… okay? Good on
    you? Whatever the meaning may be to you, or me,
    or anyone else, Fight Club is unquestionably a powerful narrative. It’s more than just
    Fincher using his commercial director skills to sell us fascism. It’s more than just
    a tale of insecure masculinity. In Hollywood, sometimes you hear the saying:
    “We’re not in the entertainment business, we’re in the empathy business.” The optimistic reading of that statement is:
    we’re looking to find the emotionally honest core to our story; that we work hard to strip
    away artifice and deliver a meaningful product. The cynical, commercial reading of that statement
    is that we’re simply taking a generic product, then wrapping it in packaging that signals
    to the audience that they are supposed to feel empathy. And I’ll give you one guess
    whether or not Fincher is cynical about commercials, as one of the most successful commercial directors
    of all time: “I’m extremely cynical about commercials and about selling things and about
    the narcissistic ideals of what we’re supposed to be. I guess in my heart I was hoping people
    are too smart to fall for that stuff.” I talked a lot about how narrow and controlled
    Tyler’s point of view is in framing this story. There are very, very few moments where
    his narrative slips. Very few times where it feels like Fincher is commenting ON Tyler,
    instead of Fincher simply having fun as the one controlling the story THROUGH Tyler. Here’s
    one example: In the first act, we see a woman with a shaved head in the background. She’s
    there again when Chloe speaks, and these two seconds are the only time we really get a
    good look at her, in focus. We may assume Chloe has a shaved head, but she keeps hers
    covered. In a movie where the vast majority of shots are highly motivated, distorted,
    emotionally jarring… this shot is quiet, matter of fact. Almost an hour and a half
    later, we see members of Project Mayhem shave their heads. By the end, Tyler has a shaved
    head. One woman’s actual experience with cancer is these white guys’ idea of a ‘fun
    haircut.’ In appropriating this look, Tyler and his men attempt to appropriate a symbol
    of victimhood itself. He goes from appropriating the pain of being in a support group to appropriating
    the haircut of a woman with cancer. As if to say: “Look, my haircut shows that society
    is killing me! Society is committing a genocide against meeee! One might call it… a white
    genocide!” As their actions escalate from pranks toward straight up terrorism, they
    escalate from simple appropriation of victimhood to the colonization of victimhood. Their home
    base even resembles a work camp, or concentration camp, as if to constantly remind Tyler’s
    followers that they “deserve” to identify as oppressed. There’s no frontier left to conquer, there’s
    no more “New World” to pillage. So now, we plunder hearts and minds. This “colonization
    of victimhood” allows Tyler and his men to justify pretty much anything, because now
    they can claim they have been wronged, by simply pointing to this visual marker: the
    shaved head. Tyler is hell bent on teaching young men that they’ve been disenfranchised.
    That their feelings are cancer. That love is death. And that ultimately, your death–in
    service of Tyler–is freedom. And that’s just sad, more than anything else. Sad that
    we live in an age of technological miracles, yet despite that, a lot of the people who
    benefit most directly from society’s advantages would rather spend their time tearing others
    down, pushing people out, stripping freedom from other people, and dehumanizing them. Sad that the leader of the free world actually
    did come up with an alternate personality, named John Barron, so he could tell everyone
    about how great he is, in the third person. “Over the years I’ve used aliases. If
    you’re trying to buy land, you use different names.” “What names did you use?” “I
    would use–I actually used the name Barron.” And he did manage to fool reporters. But also,
    he never shuts up about what a victim he is. How “unfair” everyone is to him. “What
    you said is so insulting to me. It’s a very terrible thing you said.” How–actually–YOU
    are the racist. “That’s such a racist question.” But as I’ve been wrapping up this video,
    the universe supplied an even more apt comparison. Gavin McInnes–founder of the violent, racist
    Proud Boys, a group with obvious inspiration from Fight Club–released a video to say he’s
    quitting the Proud Boys. He’s trying to distance himself from the group, after nine
    of his followers were arrested for assault shortly following an appearance by McInnes
    himself, at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City. At that appearance, McInnes
    reeancted the assassination of a Japanese socialist as part of a “comedy” routine,
    because he’s not funny. The arrests only came after New York Police were criticized
    for protecting the Proud Boys. “I was never the leader, only the founder.” I know that
    I founded this group, but I did not lead this group. As we watch Gavin McInnes squirm, trying
    to distance himself from the violent hate group he founded, we see the cowardly selfishness
    of a paternalistic leader who is finally afraid he’ll be held to account. His speech reads
    like a list of the rhetorical devices we’ve been covering in this video. For the entire duration of this thirty six
    minute video, even though he covers a variety of topics, McInnes stands next to a photo
    of one of the Proud Boys, and his wife who happens to be a person of color. He appropriates
    what he sees as the external symbol of her oppression–her skin color–and uses this
    image as a literal prop, as “evidence” that he–Gavin McInnes–is the one who is
    truly oppressed. He has chosen this photo to disavow the fact that his gang targets
    marginalized groups, to disavow his obvious bigotry. Her image is present, but any voice
    from those marginalized groups he targeted are absent. In this age of information, we really do have
    front row seats in our theater of mass destruction thanks to the internet. There’s so much
    news, so much data, so many points of view to sift through. And people in power use that
    to their advantage. Whereas the 20th century version of the Monoform was linear video in
    the form of tightly packaged TV programming or movies, now we have Twitter, Facebook,
    and YouTube, which fragment viewpoints and meaning even more. The very technology that
    isolates us, also advertises itself as the solution to that isolation. I’ve been trying to figure out how I come
    to a conclusions in a video where I’ve specifically pointed out the dangers of driving toward
    a predetermined conclusion. And I think that conclusion is simply: we need to get better,
    as a society, at questioning narratives, questioning authority; stop just asking why, and start
    asking who is benefiting from this story? And the answer in Fight Club is only one person
    benefits: Tyler. Thanks for making it to the end of this very
    long video. And a deep, special thank you to all my patrons who were incredibly patient,
    as this video took a long time to finish. And thanks to all my wonderful friends who
    provided voices for the video. You can check out all their links below, I’m sure you
    recognized a few of them already. And If you want to see more videos like this, or more
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