Nearly two months ago, a homemade bomb exploded outside a Starbucks coffee shop in Manhattan, causing property damage but not injuring anyone. The bomber was finally arrested yesterday, and now the police are saying that the alleged teenage bomber "was launching his own 'Project Mayhem,'" reports The New York Times, "referring to a plan hatched by the protagonist of Fight Club, played by Brad Pitt, to sabotage corporations by destroying property."
The accused, 17-year-old, Kyle Shaw, "had started an underground fight club modeled on the one in the film, [Police Commissioner Raymond W.] Kelly said, and had bragged to friends that he was behind the bombing." A search of Shaw's home turned up news clippings about the explosion, a box of sparklers -- the bomb was reportedly constructed from fireworks explosives, a plastic bottle, and electrical tape -- and a DVD of Fight Club. A former high school classmate remembers that Shaw "wanted to watch the movie in our English class in the 11th grade. We were discussing existentialism in class, and he suggested we watch the movie as an example. We ended up watching I Heart Huckabees."
Based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk and directed by David Fincher, the 1999 film also starred Edward Norton. It would be easy to say that if Shaw was really a fan, he should have remembered the first and second rules of Fight Club. But even before that, he should have remembered: it's only a movie.