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Or: what is wrong with you people?
I do have to ask what is wrong with people these days, but that’s a list so long, it would break the internet.
… Who am I kidding? I think the answer is the cumulative content of the internet.
Recently, I’ve come across yet another stupid “evil is so cool!” posts. The most recent concept being that “we should see a mad scientists hanging out with Igor after completing his death ray, just having some beers and high-fiving each other.”
No, seriously, are these people massively brain damaged?
The psychology of evil —there’s even a book by that name —does not work that way. Evil, and evil people, do not function like that. In fact, evil doesn’t really see other people as, well, people.
You can probably sum up evil like Tolkien did.
And into this Ring [Sauron] poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life.
Yes, I’m probably quoting the films, but I think it’s a good summary.
Look at any serial killer duos, and this is a perfect reflection of what I’m trying to convey. Take Leopold and Loeb if you like, but it doesn’t matter. Tolstoy was an idiot: all happy families are not happy in the same way. Evil is always the same. It’s evil, it’s boring, and it probably has mommy issues…
But I digress.
The closest paradigm of “evil having friends” is the serial killing duo. Theoretically, they should be the best friends in the universe. They have one hobby that they can share with no one else in the world. They should be natural partners.
But they’re not. They never are. There are always Alphas in such a relationship. The other is never a friend, but a minion. The Alpha psycho will always control the less dominant part of the relationship. Note I say part, not partner. Because the Alpha sees the other as a tool, not an equal, or even a friend. Even their definition of “friend” is warped, seeing it as more “a friend is someone who does what I say and want when I want it.”
In short, the Alpha sees his sidekick as a way to exercise his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate.
I don’t see what makes that so hard to understand.
Take another common trope thrown around these days: “it would be so cool to see a supervillain in love. Because they’d burn down the world for one last kiss!”
Yeah. No. It doesn’t work that way. Sorry folks.
Your average evil sumbitch doesn’t really know what love is, or how it works.
Let’s define love for a moment. Because love is not a feeling. Love is an action. Love is going out of your way to do someone for someone because it will make them happy. Love is all about the other.
Evil doesn’t look at it like that. Evil is narcissistic and solipsistic. The world is all about them, and only revolves around them. The best imitation of love that evil can make is when evil sees family as an extension of itself; evil doesn’t see family as other people, but as part of itself.
For the moment, look at Prodigal Son, a Fox TV show that was so awesome, it had to be cancelled. It involved a serial killer named “The Surgeon” and his offspring—the son became a profiler, hunting down psychos just like dear old dad. The Surgeon spent every episode professing his love for his son… because they’re “the same.” The Surgeon didn’t even show the same level of affection for his daughter … until she needed to kill someone. Because after that, they were “the same.”
It’s a great illustration of how evil “loves.” At best, family is important to the evil one because evil sees family as an extension of itself. Family isn’t other people, it’s “me.” And I don’t mean the romantic notion of “this person completes me, because they have complimentary qualities.” I mean “this person is me” or is “my legacy.”
Evil is selfish and self-absorbed. “The supervillain burning down the world for one last kiss” would not destroy everything for X … unless it’s comic book Thanos, who really wants to destroy everything anyway, because he’s a nihilist who wants to kill for the sake of killing. In that instance (The Infinity Gauntlet comic book storyline) Thanos was courting Death herself, because he was in love with death, period. (Again, nihilist.)
So the idea that evil would sacrifice the world for someone s/he loves … evil can’t love to that degree. Evil is incapable of caring that much.
Evil can’t burn down everything for one last kiss— “everything” includes their stuff.
Take the fictional cases where antagonists do shoot for that level of risk, for the goal of someone else. The only case that comes to mind is Doctor Doom, literally going to Hell to get his mother out—and Doom is less of a villain, and more … broken than evil.
I can almost hear you out there saying “What’s your point?”
My point is that evil isn’t cool, damn it. Hell, real evil looks more like a mental disorder than something edgy. Real evil is kinda sad, really. I’m going to ignore serial killers like Edmund Kemper, who was abused by his mother until he finally murdered her, then turned himself in.
Jefferey Dahmer—apparently had no abuse growing up, killed his first victim when he was a teenager, raped men and boys, and kept souvenirs to eat.
Ted Bund — also never abused, but killed, raped, decapitated, had sex with corpses until they rotted, and was a sadistic psycho.
Saddam Hussein — I don’t know if he was ever sane, but by the end he looked and sounded like a Schizophrenic.
Hitler— he may have been crazy, and evil, a result of inbreeding as well as drugged up to the eyeballs.
Show me an evil bastard, I’ll show you a self-absorbed prick who is either a sadist or thinks nothing about the suffering of other people.
A better illustration of burning down the world for love is probably the John Wick films. The week his wife dies, her final gift to him, a puppy, is killed, triggering a minor war; the ripple effect of which is dozens if not hundreds of dead Russians and assorted bad guys.
Hell, you want to see any good example of “will burn down the world for love,” see any superhero story where they kidnap a loved one. That’s pretty much the point where the hero usually turns into Jack Bauer.
Don’t fear evil people in love. They have their limits.
Good people in love? Don’t f*** with them. They will end you.