Despicable Me

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with In This Moment

You will always be the villain in someone else’s story. There will always be someone around-whether you know them personally or not-who will hate everything you ever do just because it’s you doing it. … If you are going to put yourself out publicly in anyway, if you dare to bare  your soul to the world SOMEONE is going to hate you for it.”

villain g

Have you been the villain in someone else’s story? I know I have. Multiple times. It used to bother me, but then I realised that being the villain is not all that bad. You know what they say: all publicity is good publicity.

Being the “bad guy” can have its advantages. Heroes have very high expectations to rise up to. Just think of the pressure! Every good deed they make, every decent thing they say is taken for granted. After all, that’s what heroes are supposed to do. But villains – the freedom! – you can’t go wrong. Going wrong is just what villains do. Can’t blame a wolf for doing what wolves do. And every good thing you ever do it’s a bonus and the world stands to attention.

He-he. I think I may act the villain more often from now on. It all sounds rather delicious to me.

But what makes a villain? Moreover… what makes a good villain? Now that’s given me some food for thought. Let’s talk recipes for success, fellow villains!

To be a true villain, we must wrap our malevolent heads around what it means to be good or else we’re wasting our time.

I think I’ve come up with one: a leader not a follower be. We’ll make up our own minds as to what we think and what we do, and let others rage in our wake. After all “there will always be people telling you what your motives are.” Whether they are wrong or right in their assumptions, “they won’t hesitate to tell you what you really think about something,” and to stay true to our villainous selves we must make sure to give back as good as we get. For good measure, add a sneaky cackle to your depraved actions. Everyone loves a cackling villain, don’t they?

Of course, whatever we do and say must be morally indefensible – after all that’s what us villains trade in, it’s our bread and butter – but we should come up with some skewed justification for it too, you know, so that it all makes sense for us at least. We are after all the evil products of our own experiences and beliefs. Shock and horror: it may be that we actually see everyone else as evil and ourselves as the few whose pursuits and opinions are truly admirable on this planet. We are bound to be a little self-involved that way – we are villains after all.

Now for the essential guide to becoming the best version of your “Despicable Me”:

You may want to start regarding others as intolerable waste, get rid of that all too bothersome empathy with their troubles, and start thinking that the world owes you something. Made note of that? Now we are truly on our way of being the villains they so want us to be, and when they tell us that what we do is “wrong or stupid or useless or repetitive or pointless or cruel or…you get the point” at least they’ll sleep well in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can to meet their expectations.

Next, let’s get ourselves some understandable and compelling motivations and goals. Evil for the pleasure of evil itself is hard to do well. The effect we want to go for is realistic, but chilling… What we do must look like something anyone would do given the right circumstances and enough of a push. I mean, that’s how we got to this place, didn’t we? We were pushed into it. We wanted to be good, but as they were so determined to make villains of us, we had no other choice but to do it. Started working on that torture chamber yet, anyone?

And we are not alone, mind you! We must get ourselves an army of minions and allies. They are bound to follow us wherever we go. They will respect and admire us – the great villains that we are – may even do a spot of worshiping on the side. Aww. Now that prospect warms my wicked heart. Where their goals don’t coincide with ours, fear will do the trick. We are criminally infamous after all. But beware of false allies turning against us at the crucial moment. Make sure to clip in the bud any secret plans of vengeance.

As for our opponents… Well. They can be rather irritating at times, can’t they? Hell bent on our destruction. But such persistence can be rather amusing, especially when we watch their frustration mount. (chuckle-chortle-cackle) Who’s resisted them in the past? Let this be your motto, fellow villains of the world, as -M- puts it “If you’re going to be the villain you might as well get some enjoyment out of it.”

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44 thoughts on “Despicable Me

      • Yes it does, I’m still pondering your words on good vs bad. True each feeds of the other and the “good guys” often get the shaft. But the weight of evil is often a huge cross to bare. Unless one is a complete sociopath. Just a thought.

      • I read recently an article about heroes and villains which suggested that villains in fiction are not always the “bad guys” that oftentimes they are “opposites,” that is to say they are they are the mirror representation of the hero. So… if that is the case, a well rounded villain would not necessarily evil, but would embrace a different set of values and norms, think of the world in different terms from what is expected, and develop a different aspect of the theme.
        Sociopaths do make good villains, but then… think of Sherlock: he is a highly functioning sociopath, and yet – the hero 🙂

  1. Is there something called good villain? Villain by definition is bad no ? Shouldn’t it be a true villain ?
    Yes, I accept that there is a kind of liberation in villainy 😉 No need to think about good or bad. If it is good, well people will ignore it and if it is bad, again people are not going to blame you for it, because hey, that is what you are supposed to be right ?
    Why did this post bring forth Joker’s face (especially that of Heath Ledger’s) to my mind!!!!

    • The Joker’s face was my second choice for this, KG 🙂 but I decided to go for something a little less… disturbing? Ledger’s joker gives me the creeps.
      I agree with you regarding good vs true for villainy. In fiction and creative writing a good villain is considered to be a well-rounded up villain, someone who is well developed, well written, with multiple dimensions, motivations and backstory – so this is what I mean by good villain too.
      In many ways this post can work as a “how to write a good villain” checklist too. I think I’ve covered most bases with it.
      Now I’m off to nurture my villainous self 😉

  2. Myself, I treat it like a Hockey player would (my favorite). They don’t mind being the villain, in fact, it motivates them to slap the puck (er) harder. Just sayin’. I believe it’s born of envy, and I feel for those that are afflicted with that disease. I’ve also noticed that the more success a person obtains, the more those friends that once said, “You won’t forget me when your famous, will you?” begin to shy away as though you might be contagious. No, I won’t forget them, but they sure do their best to get me to do just that. Yes, I have been the villain. But I have a mission to complete, and sacrifices must be made.

    • Isn’t it so strange when a friends says that “Don’t forget me when you’re famous.” I mean… I don’t even have my foot on the ladder yet, and already there seems to be some apprehension in that respect. I don’t get it. Why a change in circumstances would directly result in a sudden bout of forgetfulness?
      I loved that phrase you used, Erik: “begin to shy away as though you might be contagious.” May have to borrow it.
      Great comment – it made ma smile and gave me something more to think about. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Aly. It seems inevitable, doesn’t it, that we’ll end up being someone’s “bad guy” at some point or other.
      I promised -M- that I’ll pick up the topic and come up with another way to approach it, but needed a couple of days to let it brew, and this is what my mind has concocted in the process. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • Good one, Bradley. That’s right, we’re not going to be just another cardboard villain. If we’re going to do it, may as well do it right, and have some fun with it too 😉

  3. Vic, did you just finish watching “Despicable Me”? I’m going to come out of the closet and confess to enjoying these sorts of movies. Comes from having watched so many Disney animated movies with the kids when they were young.

    There are the loveable villains who are evil for the love of it (e.g., Groux). I can do Groux. }:-)>

  4. Such a delicious read! And I love how I got to read it right after I replied back to your post on the “Red” animated short. This is exactly the sort of thing I feel when looking into the villain and I can’t help but say again how I have a soft spot for them. Great job!

    • Thank you, love o’clock 🙂 I’ve been loving these little coincidences where I write about something then find another blogger who had approached the same topic in a different way. It always gives me a new perspective and sometimes it even nudges me into coming up with a new follow up post.
      Listening to what some of my favourite actors say about playing the villain has helped a lot in figuring out how to write them better myself. The fact that in order to play a villain they have to find a point of empathy and understanding with that character, search for justifications for their actions – it does transform one’s way of delving into the character’s mind and backstory. Very pleased you enjoyed the article. Thank you.

    • Ha-ha! Thank you, Scarlet. Well… I do my best to balance the naughty and nice. Sometimes it tips more to one side than the other. And, yes! Being the villain can certainly be very sexy indeed 😉

  5. Now you sound like someone who has been hurt – so hurt – that you flip to the other side – might as well be the one who hurts others, so what… Very unlike the deep meaning in a previous poem “Alone Together”. Go back there .. I don’t know you – are you writing from your mood or just a pretty good writer who can capture these different moods with empathy?

    • Hi Elspeth,
      Thank you for the comment. I will try to answer all your questions below.
      Regarding the distinction between “writing from your mood or … capture these different moods with empathy” – I would say the latter rather than the first. Although in order to write about opposites with empathy, of course, I try to delve deep and find some way of making an experience my own.
      With Let’s Talk Opinion pieces in particular, it is other blogger’s experiences that matter to me first and foremost. They are always conversations with someone else, trying to offer a new perspective, which sometimes can be opposite, or at other times – as is the case with this piece – an extension of their argument with a twist.
      “Despicable Me” was written in reply to -M- who has recently been vilified by a friend who misunderstood something they said and wouldn’t take the time to listen to their explanation.
      Things like this have happened to all of us at some point or another, so I decided to take up the topic and share it.
      The post does several things.
      -It continues the conversation with -M- on being made a villain in someone else’s story;
      -It looks into what it means to be a villain (I picked up on villains in fiction for this, but of course there would be parallel’s to reality too);
      -and it is also a tongue in cheek address to those who are quick to judge others without giving them a chance to explain their meaning and intentions – unfairly labelling them as villains in the process.
      – I follow the ‘reductio ad absurdum’ strategy to do the above: by taking every aspect of “villainy” to its logical conclusion.
      While the topic is a serious one, I’ve approached it with playfulness and humour. And rather than rejecting the label, I’ve chosen (for the purpose of this post at least) to embrace it and invite others not to feel bad about themselves when they are labelled as villains for their views and opinions.
      So, I think this brings us nicely back to your first question. Did I “flip to the other side”? I find it difficult to even dislike people, so hurting anyone would certainly not be high on my list of priorities. But I agree with -M- in that you will always end up the villain in someone else’s story, whether you like it or not, and despite all precautions you may take against it. We’d all be very unhappy if we strived for universal popularity, so the sooner we realise that, the sooner we can move on and do whatever we love doing, no matter what others may say about it.
      I hope this has answered all you concerns, but if there is something more you would like for me to add to this, just let me know and I’ll happily do so.
      Thank you for visiting my blog and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate all feedback. 🙂
      Warm regards,
      Vic

      • thanks indeed ! This detailed reply fills in the background, so a newcomer like myself can get more of an idea how/why you wrote the way you did. Great to have your thoughts, and I agree. We can indeed end up being the villain in another’s story, inadvertently or carelessly or however.
        regards Elspeth

      • My pleasure, Elspeth. Any time. I am very glad that I was able to explain and I hope that you enjoy being part of the WordPress community. It’s a very friendly and interactive group – and the support certainly exceeded all my expectations.
        Warm regards,
        Vic

  6. Pingback: Show | Don’t Tell | vic briggs

  7. Can’t please everyone. And peoples interests can easily be diametrically opposed with neither breaking the law or being immoral, haha.

  8. Pingback: Out of Character? | vic briggs

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