Anti-Heroes Don’t Just Have a History…

by admin

I got up at 6am this morning to go for a run with a friend of mine.

Actually I got up at 5am for no apparent reason, tried snuggling up to my sleepy wife (didn’t get anywhere… darn), then got up to get ready for the run.

My friend pulls up in a VW Golf with a sticker on the back – the Autobot symbol.

Not the one I saw.  Pretty stylin' though.

Not the one I saw. Pretty stylin’ though.

First reaction: cool.  Transformers are the awesome.  Then I remembered the last Transformers’ sticker I saw on a car was the Decepticon sticker.  And when I really think about it, I have never seen an Autobot sticker on a car before.  Only Decepticons.

James Dean

The iconic bad boy. Kinda looks like my Dad ca. 1972.

It’s cool to be bad.  I guess it always has been.  Guys in leather jackets, smoking cigarettes behind the school was cool back in the 60’s.  And the 70’s.  And the 80’s.  You get the picture.

But it seems like these days it’s really being taken to another level.  People self-identify as the bad guys.  Or their favourite characters in stories are the bad guys.

I don’t know if this trend is healthy.  I remember back in my school days, Dungeons and Dragons was a thing.  Apparently it still is, but back then it got you labelled “NERD!” by your peers and “SATANIST!” by your peers’ parents.   Because, in theory, you could be the bad guy.  There were rules for that.  But nobody I knew really wanted to be the bad guy.  We wanted to be heroes.  We wanted to do good, to make the world a better place, even if it was a fantasy world.

If she made a spelling error in Sindarin script, would anyone notice?

If she made a spelling error in Sindarin script, would anyone notice?

Really?

Really?

But now it really is cool to identify with the bad guys.  The geeks of the world are getting the One Ring tattooed on their backs, arms, legs, hands, and Sauron everywhere else.

Maybe it’s decades of anti-heroes, devolving into actual criminals being set up as heroes.  Take Riddick, Vin Diesel’s character from the film, “Pitch Black” and its sequels.  The guy was a killer.  But he’s the hero of the movies.

Take the rather obvious game series, “Grand Theft Auto”.  Your goal is to steal.  And do other illegal things.  You get rewarded points for these things.

Even take World of Warcraft, the most popular massively multiplayer video game ever made.  At its height of popularity there was over 30 million people playing, choosing sides – the Alliance or the Horde.  And I gotta tell you, the Horde weren’t the good guys.  Yet, most people agree there are more Horde players than Alliance.  People prefer the Orcs, Goblins, Minotaurs, Trolls and Undead (all historically evil in the fantasy genre) to the Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Gnomes.

Being a Sith Lord is so cool... you get to throw purple lightning and rule the galaxy...

Being a Sith Lord is so cool… you get to throw purple lightning and rule the galaxy…

Darth Vader was quintessentially evil when the original trilogy came out.  Interestingly, I don’t know if he got any less evil after the prequels told us about his life growing up (slaughtering the Jedi children anyone?).  But yet, he seems more popular than ever.

I don’t know.  Maybe I am being oversensitive.  Maybe I am seeing something that isn’t there.  But I do know that as the parent of 6 boys, I won’t be encouraging them to become fans of the bad guys.


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