There are moments where I secretly root for the bad guy. From the ageless monsters of H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker to the ignorant viciousness of political leaders like Donald Trump, I am consumed with a guilty hunger to see their plans to fruition.
Why do I want him or her to succeed in their nefarious plans? Because chaos excites me. Watching good easily triumph over evil is so vanilla and banal that I ache for something with a little more bite to it.
Perhaps, it is due to my fastidious commitment to order and control in my own personal life that I feel this attraction. These fictional and non-fictional “villains” represent the antithesis of the values that I was raised with. They are selfish, ignorant and willing to sacrifice just about anything to win.
The best villains, both real and imagined, are unpredictable and that, in turn, makes them exciting. Alternatively, the good guys (excuse the gendered language) follow the rules, tow the line and support the status quo. Predictable down to the last drop and therefore, boring.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support any of the measures that any antagonist may take. I simply enjoy a villain in a story that is so bad that fighting him or her inexorably leaves a taint on the protagonist. Perhaps destroying them in the process of defeating evil.
With the weight of evil leaning over our heads, we finally realize what is important. It doesn’t take a hero/heroine to show us that, it takes an enemy to remind us that our lives or values are important.. With no enemy, we have nothing to fight for.
Although I despise them for what they are, I can’t help but silently wish for a good villain in my life.