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Sparring over techie fight club

An Associated Press story about Silicon Valley techies participating in an underground fight club is quickly spreading around the Web through bloggers who have a wide range of responses, from amusement, to horror to receptivity.

techfight

The story tells of the "kicking, punching and swinging" of household objects to "beat each other mercilessly in a garage" in Menlo Park, Calif., every two weeks.

The 6-year-old "Gentlemen's Fight Club" is an example of many such venues that have sprung up around the country--inspired by the 1999 film "Fight Club,"--"as a way for desk jockeys and disgruntled youths to vent their frustrations and prove themselves," the story says.

Many bloggers are taking offense to a comment in the story from sociologist Michael Messner, who said participants in "fight clubs often carry bottled-up violent impulses learned in childhood from video games, cartoons and movies." Others are reacting strongly to sociologist Michael Kimmel's comment about the fight clubs' "sadomasochistic thread."

"Real-life fight clubs are the male version of the girls who cut themselves," Kimmel told the AP. "All day long these guys think they're the captains of the universe, technical wizards. They're brilliant but empty."

And bloggers have also been quick to note that the story is evidence that someone violated the number one "Fight Club" rule--don't tell.

Blog community response:

"My interpretation is a little different. Violence is the new sex. Sex used to be forbidden and people went underground to do it--now sex is advocated everywhere--even college campuses hand out free condoms. But now the forbidden fruit in our society is violence and it has gone underground. These men never 'learned' violence from video games, cartoons and movies as suggested by one of the sociology professors."
--Dr. Helen

"I enjoyed reading the article, because I find this all pretty sweet (I probably wouldn't mind taking some aggression out in a fight club, I'm sure we've all thought about it after seeing the movie)."
--Faisca: The Wordslinger

"They are blaming these acts of violence on repressed exposure to childhood violence. (BS) Human beings have always had the urge to fight--it's instinctual and somehow these idiots think that we are supposed to suppress it somehow. It makes me want to hit someone."
--Static Interference

"Few things seem sillier to me than a bunch of Silicon Valley engineers getting together to beat the crap out of each other, just for kicks, but these guys take themselves pretty seriously...And I wonder if these guys remember how the book and movie Fight Club ended? It turned out that the 'fight clubs' were the creation of somebody with severe mental illness."
--Res Ipsa Loquitur