I’ve been toying with the idea of getting into an old-fashioned playground fight with someone one of these days. Not seriously, just contemplating on a purely theoretical level. When I watch Bill O’Reilly point a finger menacingly, apropos of nothing, at Jon Stewart during what should be a civil conversation, and grown people on a crowded subway call each other “stupid”, I feel like that fantasy could easily become reality if you just find the right (wrong) people.
A prurient desire that has something to do with how strangers handle physical closeness. Living in a crowded city like New York, there’s a weird disjunct between how people are constantly in close physical contact, yet maintain invisible barriers between themselves in others. You see in their faces, pedestrians walking in their own private bubble while jostling with others on the street, an unintentional, non-sexual orgy of bodies. What is this weird parallel between fighting and embracing that still signals intimacy? I mean, just check this out:
Just one of those weird gender inversions that makes me see Fight Club differently every time it comes on TV. I think that’s what makes finding love and intimacy in the city such a compelling theme in movies and television – how we surmount the barriers between people. You can punch and jostle, or you can embrace. Somehow I feel that embracing is even harder to do between strangers than pointing fingers and “getting in someone’s grill.”