Legend, Crake, Fight Club
I would like to take this opportunity to focus on the similarities (and, I suppose, the differences) between Orxy and Crake, by Margaret Atwood, “I am Legend” starring Will Smith, and Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk.
Why is the idea of the “concrete jungles” like Chicago and Atlanta and New York and Los Angeles turning into a real jungle so interesting to us as human beings?
In Fight Club, the main character Tyler Durden explores the semi-socialist, semi-communist idea of turning the city back on itself and reversing time so men return to men and beasts to beasts and the concrete jungles grow vines.
“We wanted to blast the world free of history…. picture yourself planting radishes and seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You’ll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center, and dig clams next to the skeleton of the Space Needle leaning at a forty-five degree angle. We’ll paint the skyscrapers with huge totem faces and goblin tikis, and every evening what’s left of mankind will retreat to empty zoos and lock itself in cages as protection against the bears and big cats and wolves that pace and watch us from outside the cage bars at night…you’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you’ll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles” ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16
When I read this I immediately pictured the scenes in “I am Legend” where Will Smith (the sole survivor in New York City of a massive scientific blooper) must hunt for the exotic animals that now roam the streets, and negotiate the vegetation that is slowly reclaiming the buildings and roads.
Of course all of this leads back to what we have been discussing in class. Could a genetic blooper like in Oryx and Crake, or a biological science blooper, or even a political uprising, send humanity back to its most basic instincts–hunting for food among the overgrown and abandoned streets of once major metropolis? These images are so paradoxical that they become the ultimate power tool in convincing the audience that it is not okay to mess around with nature.