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I recently finished reading Fight Club. I’d seen the movie but never read the book until now.

The most dynamic character, fight club founder Tyler Durden, is of a species that pops up occasionally: the philosopher thug, who pushes an innocent young man into witnessing destructive and self-destructive behavior, and participating in it, to show him hard truths about how life really is. Another example is the bad cop Alonzo Harris (played by Denzel Washington), who shoves young patrolman Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) into corruption and violence in the movie Training Day.

I’ve always found the philosopher thug cruel and smug. I yearn for his young victim/protégé to punch him in the mouth and say, “You’re not trying to open my eyes to reality. That’s just your excuse for treating me like crap, you bullying jerk.”

Of course, at that point the insufferable philosopher thug would just smirk and say something like “You’re finally standing up for yourself like the man I’ve been trying to turn you into.”

The hell with you, philosopher thug.

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