About The Bad Guys
There are all types of bad guys. My favorite word for bad guy is villain. Something about the letters, it looks more ominous. Plus, there isn’t a cool Michael Jackson song called Villain.
Turns out though, villain didn’t always mean bad guy. It’s derived from the Latin villanus, which meant farmhand or one that worked on, you guessed it, a villa.
So how did a fella working the fields turn into something foreboding? As a lover of words, I’ve done some research. Turns out, it’s pretty sketchy. It probably morphed over the years because centuries of rich jerkoffs started telling their kids not to hang out with the simple souls tilling the fields. After a while, a word associated with honest labor became synonymous with soulless unscrupulousness.
Soulless unscrupulousness. That’s a mouthful.
However it came to be, we’ve got villains among us. Actual bad actors. Thieves, murders, liars, cheats. People invent new ways to be vile everyday. I lack the imagination to go into salacious details, and this is a family show.
On a daily basis the TV and internet bombards us with new stories of people doing horrible things. Real life bad guys. It’s enough to make you want to climb into bed and hide under the covers.
But we don’t. Well, hopefully. On the contrary, we turn to movies and TV, literature, all the innocuous things we do to distract ourselves.
Funny thing, though. Any real story needs a bad guy. I deduce that it’s some sort of cathartic balm, but that’s just armchair psychology.
So here’s a weird question. What’s the best kind of villain? It’s actually pretty interesting to think about.
I like the ones who are just plain evil. No redemptive arc. No looking back. Sure, there might’ve been environmental or genetic reasons, not enough hugs, etc., but not that we know of. I’m talking about the guy wearing black who just shows up in town and starts making things ugly for the sake of it. I’ve always been fascinated with that sort, probably because of my puritanical streak. My ancestors ran away from England because it wasn’t polite enough, for God’s sake, so I have no shot at being the guy wearing black.
Who’s the worst of all time? Easy. The Devil. But why is the Devil so evil? There’s a bit of a backstory there, but I get the sense that we’re not really meant to understand him. He’s just an inscrutable prick: rebellious, grafting, plotting, imposing, without a shred of guilt or a doubt in his head. God's right hand dude? Not good enough. He’s evil. It’s right there in the name, and that’s all there is to it. Some bad guys are just bad.
One more classic. I love the movie Tombstone. They depict Johnny Ringo as a real villain in that one. Doc explains that there is nothing really behind the guy, just a hole that can’t be filled. That’s a good explanation, one that’s always stuck with me.
The truth is, we’re all bad to some degree. I had a good day today, worked hard, did my chores, worked out, and didn’t do anything too stupid. Still, there were moments when I was bad. I could’ve eaten a little less. Could’ve turned off the Netflix and put in an extra thirty minutes at the storyboard. I’m a simple guy with a conscience, and I still get up to no good. Just a farmhand with a dream. Hope I don’t turn into a villain. I’ve heard that can happen.
See you after.