One of the most common insults that conservatives like to use against liberals—especially on social media—is “snowflake.” It’s macho bullshit that seeks to poke fun at left-leaning people for being “fragile” or “sensitive,” because empathizing with others instead of building a wall and kicking dirt at them is seen as some kind of moral failing.
As the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk knows a thing or two about macho bullshit, and now he’s even taking credit for the “snowflake” insult. Palahniuk gave his reasoning in an interview with the Evening Standard (via The Hollywood Reporter), explaining that the “snowflake” thing originated from a line in Fight Club: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” That bit comes from one of the many speeches given by Tyler Durden, the persona created by the narrator to try and reinvigorate a generation of depressed men by having them punch each other and blow shit up.
In David Fincher’s Fight Club movie, it’s pretty clear that Durden’s worldview is insane and destructive, and while the book handles the plot a bit differently, Durden is still definitely the antagonist in the story and the unnamed narrator eventually recognizes that his mission is objectively wrong. Despite that, Palahniuk seems pretty proud that people have started calling other people snowflakes. He stands by the line’s sentiment, saying he thinks modern culture is based around “a kind of new Victorianism” and that people these days—especially students—are “very easily offended.”
Of course, this whole thing ignores the fact that Fight Club isn’t really about people being too sensitive. It’s about men feeling worthless and lashing out at a world that doesn’t give them enough things to lash out at, forcing them to literally fight themselves. The “snowflake” bit isn’t about being too sensitive, it’s about being too coddled. But whatever, Palahniuk is proud that it’s become a new thing angry people can throw at each on Twitter, which Tyler Durden would probably approve of anyway.