Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I find that one of the reasons I'm being turned off of comics once again is one of the basic conceits of the medium, and often of fiction writing in general, is that there is good and there is evil and very few grey areas. This has always bothered me. I see these types all the time and it bothers me because nobody is really like that, unless they are unhinged in the head. There is no Snydely Whiplash twirling his comically long and evil mustache and imagining the nefarious plans he has in store for that Dudley Do-Right.
Likewise, I do not believe in the concept of a being who lives for only doing good, aside from people like Mother Theresa, whom I'm sure had other flaws, but one may have been, was she doing all these good deeds because of a kindness in her heart, or in an attempt to gain eternal access to heaven? This is, of course, a needlessly cynical thought, but it is not an evil one. It does question what her motivation was, because, let's face it, more people would do what she did in her work with the poor and sick if good was real.
It all comes down to the shades of grey. I can't believe that Lex Luthor is evil per se. Selfish? Definitely. Devious? Yes. But doing evil for evil's sake just doesn't make sense to me.
Let's put it this way: even when I was at the lowest in my bouts of depression, I truly wanted to be a good person. I just didn't feel that inside of me. I'd do things for friends and loved ones, not because I wanted to, but because that's what a good person would do. But I was also naïve. I believed that doing good things like that always led to good results, but that's not always the case. What if you do something good for somebody and they don't notice or acknowledge it? It can stain your perceptions, and one thing I can tell you about harboring negative emotions is that they breed like rabbits. Furry, pus-dripping rabbits leaving little pellets of negativity all over your nice carpet.
Everybody has a dark place inside them. How it materializes is always different. I have a friend who I'd write about right now who continues to be a perfect example of this, at times a walking contradiction of opinions and actions, but to write more would be telling a little much. But I don't think he's evil. Like me, he overthinks things, which can lead to the wrong choices. Enough wrong choices can snowball, to the point where you're at the top of the hill and all below you has been run over.
That's what I think real good and real evil are. Just conflagrations of different perceptions. This person wouldn't sacrifice that act for me so I will treat her with animosity. That person didn't see how much such-and-such behavior bugged me, so he needs to be cut out of my life. Both of these could be confused for evil. But in the same way, so could I'm gonna take this friend I have in life to a concert I know he'll enjoy and he'll notice my sacrifice because I really don't like this group, stuff like that.
Basically, unless you're a telepath and can read minds, I don't believe in evil or good. There are shades in the spectrum but not absolutes. That's why the reveal of Alexander Luthor being Mazahs! (Evil Shazam I guess since it's backwards) just made me reach for the last issue of Saga and wonder when it was going to be on shelves again.