Just this past month, Playboy published the first six pages of Fight Club 2, Chuck Palhaniuk’s graphic-novel follow up to his hugely popular 1996 novel  turned 1999 film starring Ed Norton and Brad Pitt. A lot has changed in the nearly two decades since Palahniuk’s violent brand of nihilism made its debut. Tyler Durden’s lament — “We have no Great War. No Great Depression.” — falls flat after the U.S. has spent over a decade at war and brushed shoulders with economic catastrophe, the specter of home-grown terrorism is no longer a fiction, and artisanal soap is now a much more competitive market. What else has changed?


Insomnia pills

What's changed since 
Fight Club: Terrorism, 
vibrators, soap. Image 1.

Jack's doctor won't prescribe him any pills to combat his chronic insomnia. Are doctors more prone to prescribing their patients sleep medication?

Roy H. Lubit

MD-PhD, forensic psychiatrist

We don’t like giving it to people for a long time, but Ambien and Sonata (Zaleplon) works for short term problems, it depends on the doctor. For short term problems, its not too difficult of a call to make but most doctors would shy away from giving it to them long term.

Number of sleep medication prescriptions filed in the U.S.







Luggage "dildos" (vibrators)

What's changed since 
Fight Club: Terrorism, 
vibrators, soap. Image 2.

Jack is detained at the airport after a "dildo" (technically, a vibrator) goes off in his luggage. ("Always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.") Are sex toys as prone to go off in luggage in 2015, should you take it aboard?

Pamela Doan

Press Representative from Babeland

Many vibrators have travel locks now and the controls are basically shut down so that it can’t be turned on accidentally. We recommend travelers take advantage of this feature to avoid problems. [If it did turn on], it probably would run for a while. Rechargeable vibrators can run for 2-5 hours when fully charged.

As far as how the TSA reacts, it seems like there are semi-regular news stories about flights being disrupted from harmless objects. Security is tighter now than in 1999, that’s for sure.



Transportation Security Administration

You are more than welcome to travel with [a vibrator] in your carry-on or checked luggage. But you will have to go through a screening and once it has been screened and cleared, you will be allowed to take it.

FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces




Joint Terrorism Task Forces





Joint Terrorism Task Forces




Office space

What's changed since 
Fight Club: Terrorism, 
vibrators, soap. Image 3.

Jack makes it seem as if his boss beat him up by attacking himself behind the closed door of his boss's office. The blinds are closed. There are no security cameras in the room. How would this play out in 2015?

Patrick Daurio

Architect, Masters Student at Rice University

Open-office environments are more prevalent in today's layouts. There’s this design handbook called Neufert, a very basic guide to measurements and ergonomics that dates back to Germany in the 1930s. It's still updated every few years and very widely used. It shows how the '90s version of office planning has shifted from a more hierarchical structure to a more 'team-oriented' model.

In my observation, a few major things would have changed from the Fight Club office. [Jack's] boss's office would be much smaller if it existed at all. The fight might have taken place in the breakroom or huddle room if it happened at all. Modern office design doesn’t usually incorporate blinds. Things tend to be more transparent.

If he's a Recall Coordinator for an automotive company, that’s a pretty mobile job. He might actually be in a position where he's traveling so much, communicating via emails and conferencing, that his office might not even have a desk for him to return to. If the company is trying to be efficient with their resources, they most likely will try to free up that space for a less mobile employee. In this case, his interaction with his boss would more likely happen via skype or something, or when in the office Ed Norton would be more likely to move into one of these huddle rooms, usually 10x10 feet or so with a small table and two chairs. His boss might actually come in to meet him there but the boss wouldn’t necessarily have his own office.

Number of IKEA stores in the world







Artisanal soap

What's changed since 
Fight Club: Terrorism, 
vibrators, soap. Image 4.

When Jack meets Tyler, he introduces him to his Paper Street Soap company, its product rendered from the finest fat a dumpster behind a liposuction clinic could offer and sold to fancy department stores. If Tyler would like to revive his small business in 2015, what's new with small batch soap?

Daniel Grunes

Owner of Taproot Organics, Soap Makers (100% Vegan)

The explosion of the internet has changed the availability for ingredients. Certain ingredients that I have access to now with moderate research and my experience in sourcing, I would have had to dig very hard for, and go to trade shows, and do a lot of face-to-face and looking at catalogues. And that's ten years ago, forget fifteen or almost twenty years ago, back when “Hello, You’ve Got Mail” was a new concept. The things you have had to look for in 500 pages of paper, you can see in ten clicks.

And there were no such things as web stores in 1996. Then again, nobody would have bothered to go to the Internet to look for this stuff.

Tyler's soap company wouldn't necessarily be more successful in 2015. He would be facing ten people down the block doing the same thing. Ten years ago, having an interesting concept was an interesting concept in itself... There are a million people doing a million things. I’m in competition with someone in the middle of farm country whose rent is a pittance compared to my rent.

Number of Starbucks cafes







Dissociative Identity Disorder

What's changed since 
Fight Club: Terrorism, 
vibrators, soap. Image 5.

And yet the status of one of Fight Club’s key plot points hasn’t changed much at all in the past couple decades. Multiple Personality Disorder, now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder, has remained one of the most hotly contested diagnoses among psychologists. A lot about the definition of the disorder has been confronted and explored by scientific study, but the main point around which experts have been fighting has been the cause of DID. One group claims that multiple personalities exhibit themselves as a response to intense childhood and/or sexual trauma, while the other blames the influence of media (The United States of Tara, Fight Club) and psychologists prompting suggestive patients.

But what exactly about this debate has made it so trenchant and inconclusive?

Dr. Onno Van Der Hart

Ph.D., Psychotraumatologist,

Professor at University Utrecht

Why this debate is lasting so long is, my opinion, caused by the fact that the opponents of this model, i.e., adherents of the so-called sociocognitive model implying that patients develop the symptoms belonging to this disorder by therapists' suggestions and influences from the media, are academic scientists who lack both the clinical and research experience of working with actual patients with DID. Together with this lack of experience and knowledge goes a lot of hubris or narcissism: the inability to admit one was mistaken. The neuroimaging research which has been published on DID has strong evidence that true DID cannot be imitated using brain functioning measures, for instance (cf. Reinders et al, Schlumph et al., to be found at Enijenhuis.nl).

And the publications of these DID deniers often are included in abnormal psychology handbooks, thus influencing new generations of psychologists and related professionals... Furthermore, there is a profound lack of knowledge of dissociation and the dissociative disorders, including DID, also among psychiatrists, which furthermore fosters the myth that DID is merely a matter of suggestion.

Finally, there is the question to which degree some of those denying the validity of the DID diagnosis and its etiology have something personal at stake in denying the mind shattering effects of severe child abuse, including sexual abuse, and neglect.

Estimated new cases of testicular cancer in the U.S.







Dr. Steven Jay Lynn

Ph.D., ABPP (Clinical Forensic), Distinguished Professor, SUNY, Binghamton University 

The notion that people house multiple personalities or identities that emerge as a way of coping with terrible trauma is deeply rooted in the public imagination and popular culture, stamped in by media portrayals in films like Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve and television programs like The United States of Tara. It is no wonder, then, that some vulnerable patients -- whose therapists buy into this widespread belief and use suggestive techniques to ferret out traumatic memories they believe are deeply repressed -- come to believe that their many and puzzling shifts in emotion and problems in living can be accounted for in terms of a dissociated or fragmented self.  Interestingly, many people with the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder do not display clear-cut symptoms of dissociation before psychotherapy, but come to therapy with other problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and often longstanding and serious personality disorders. It is only after therapy that they come to think of themselves as "dissociated."

Although researchers have found some degree of association between traumatic experiences and dissociation, the strength of this relationship is often not particularly impressive, and the link between documented trauma and dissociation is often very weak or not found consistently in studies that follow people over time.  That is, studies that do not rely on people's self-reports and recollections of childhood events, but rather on corroborated or substantiated cases of child abuse, for example, not infrequently find less than convincing evidence of a connection between trauma and dissociation. Also, there is precious little evidence that people possess "identities" that are truly separate or dissociated from one another--what the science shows is that when information is presented to one supposed "identity," it influences one or more supposed other "identities"--thus, there is no clear or demonstrable barrier between one identity and another, disproving one of the foundational claims for truly dissociated identities.  This is not to say that some people do not behave as if they possessed dissociated identities--in fact they do arrive at this conviction, often during their therapy--it is only to say that despite appearances, this is unlikely to be the case."


And while the two opposing schools of thought argue over the issues, 1-3% of the general population is said to suffer from Dissassociative Identity Disorder, with an average of ten seperate personalities per person. Maybe in Fight Club 2, we'll actually meet a whole other Durden. 



Sources: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, IMS Health via The New York Times, The Department of Justice, Mike Barker, Starbucks.com, Stastista.com, CancerNetwork.com, Cancer.gov.

Additional repoRting: Mike Sheffield and Marina Galperina