How Chuck Palahniuk Became the Darling of the Alt-Right and Antifa
The ‘Fight Club’ author talks art, politics, and what happens when people you hate love your work
Almost 20 years ago, Chuck Palahniuk published Fight Club, the book that launched his career, coined the term “snowflake,” and wormed its way so deeply into the culture that it’s been embraced as much by Antifa as by Andrew Anglin, editor of the influential white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, who says the novel’s film adaptation “is, and always will be, the greatest movie ever made.”
But in the intervening years, reality has inched ever closer to the twisted scenarios in Palahniuk’s early work. It was into this overheated climate that the author released his latest novel, Adjustment Day, a spiritual successor to Fight Club, if not a literal one. (The story of Tyler Durden and Marla Singer continues in the Fight Club series of graphic novels, the most recent of which comes out January 30.) The result of years spent hanging out with separatists on all sides of the political spectrum, Adjustment Day is Palahniuk’s vision of what might happen if each of those groups got its way. An armed insurrection of young men assassinates the liberal elite — journalists, academics, and politicians — and carves the country into the ethnostates of Blacktopia and Caucasia, while California becomes Gaysia, no straights allowed. It’s either a savage satire of ethnonationalism or a winking endorsement of it, depending which reviews you read.
Does all this make Palahniuk, who notoriously avoids talking politics but admits to reading the Daily Stormer because it cracks him up, the world’s most masterful troll? He talks with Medium about art, hate, masculinity, and South Park.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Medium: Since this is for our Love/Hate issue, what are some things that you loved about being Chuck Palahniuk in 2018?
Chuck Palahniuk: I love that people let me bring my dog into restaurants and cook it food off the children’s menu.