You should always underestimate the bad guy. Because to do anything less is overestimation by default; and that’s both unwise, and, probably, a sin of some kind (who thinks highly of monsters?). It is nearly impossible to conceptualize how someone might engage in the poor life choices necessary to take up Villainy; this should be obvious for any hero, and, indeed, anyone (and it should be everyone, shouldn’t it?) who is on the side of light and good.
For who would be a Villain, save those who lack either lucidity or correctness of thought, or both? The path otherwise makes no sense, for several reasons.
I. As we all know, crime doesn’t pay.
(For certain definitions of crime.)
(And certain definitions of “pay”.)
(Actually, I’ve never seen any real proof of this. But it stands to reason that if, say, you steal an object of great value, at relatively low cost to you, and you sell it for a high price, you will go broke. That’s just simple math; if your cost is low and your revenue is high, then you’ll succeed, unless you’re a bad person, in which case, Mother Nature will remove all of the vitamins and protein from your money, rendering it worthless.)
Besides, even if you DID make a good living as a Villain, would it really be a worthwhile life? You’d have to live in fear, because
II. Criminals are a cowardly lot.
I was just speaking to an angry mob of my acquaintance, and I remarked, “…besides, criminals are cowards, right?” And they all replied, “Absolutely, Mr. Hero, criminals are cowards, black is white, and everything you say is true, only please do not hurt us. And please tell the rest of the mob that we agree with whatever it is you are trying to say, wholly and its entirety!”
Now, could villainy inspires such ideological purity and such a sense of security in social settings? Surely not.
III. All villains have fatal flaws.
I was recently speaking to a heroic friend, and he pointed out to me that antagonists always lose, because their evil is inherently, fatally flawed. I asked him why that should be, and he shrugged and responded,
“Sorry, I have to drag myself off to a hospital now. Somebody with a slingshot hit me with a pebble from my home planet, and I may die.”
IV. Heroes are peaceful, but villains get into unwise confrontations on a regular basis.
I mentioned this to a certain alleged villain of my acquaintance, but he declined to comment. Technically, he couldn’t; his mouth was immobile, because he’d been on a trip to the convenience store when the League of Protagonists jumped him and broke his jaw.
League spokesbeing “Stupendously Fantastic Person” explained, “It could have been a trip to get evil chewing gum.”
Thank you, O League, for protecting the mastication of that which is good and right.
V. Most of all, Villainy is no fun.
Come on. Who wouldn’t want to live a safe and happy life of constant mutual surveillance, as you and your fellow Heroes make sure that none of you ever deviates from expected behavior? (And if any of you do—marking you as a potential rogue, or a doppleganger, or robot double—you get taken down immediately and without question, before you can take actions you might later regret.)
We all know that all humans are fallible, so if you create your own moral and ethical code, you could create something monstrous. That’s why you should rely on large groups of humans to do your thinking for you, because who could possibly be wiser than a large group of primates who compete with each other for food and dominance?
Remember, if you must be yourself, you will be excluded from being part of a faceless army of soulless do-gooders who’ve never examined the real-world implications of their implacable rules and societal norms.
In conclusion, I am going to go and procure a cape and a death weapon the size of Jupiter. I hope you have found this discussion as instructive as I have!
Yours in service,
I write songs and books and stories and a whole lot of tweets. I’m a Villainpunk and reformed Steampunk. I like words. Words are nice.