Friday, June 8, 2012

Lessons from Comic Books - both valid and invalid.

When I was a young child, I hated to read.  My father, a brilliant psychiatrist, knew that comic books encouraged reading, and introduced me to them (in direct refutation of that idiot's Wertham's false hypothesis).

As my father knew would happen, by introducing me to comics, he created a voracious reader.   I began with comics, then, as my reading skills improved, I moved on to books.

From my long experience with comics, I noticed two distinct trends in them.  One is an accurate reflection of the world, the other is false.

The most common weakness for a villain to have is arrogance.  The most obvious situation is assuming that of course your trap is inescapable, so you can leave the good guys alone.  But it happens all the time.

The most common weakness for a hero is to be excessively good.   Superman is famous for it.  They refuse to kill the bad guy, let alone risk killing the victims.  They will let the bad guy escape just because he threatens to kill someone else.   Oh, they usually catch the bad guys in the end, but only after he has gained some kind of advantage by threatening to kill a victim.

One of these ideas is true.  The other is blatantly false.

Take a second to think about it.  Done yet?

spoiler alert

Villains are arrogant.  Read/listen to anything a North Korean 'leader' has ever wrote/said.   But the good guys are not soft hippies that refuse to kill.

In the real world, the good guys are just as strong, just as violent as the bad guys.  The Navy Seals didn't hunt down Bin Laden and ask him to please come with them - they shot him dead without even asking him to surrender.

They did this under a liberal president and he congratulated them for doing a good job.

But at first they lied about it.  They tried to claim Bin Laden had a weapon.  Why?  Because they believed the comic book 'goody two shoes weakness' and were scared they would get in trouble with the liberal President if they just killed the terrorist.  They were wrong.

The good guys are not weak.  We don't refuse to kill.   We do it, and we do it well.  With no less compunction than the bad guys.

The difference is not what we do but why we do it.

And that my friends is all the difference in the world.   It is not what you do that distinguishes you from the bad guys but why you do it.   Why changes who you do it to.  Why changes when you do it.

It's why the fictional character Dexter Morgan is the protagonist  instead of having everyone root for him to be captured.  Despite having occasionally killed an innocent man or two, most of the time he is trying to kill the bad guys because they are bad guys.

The truth is that in the real world, the good guys are more like Dexter Morgan than Super Man.

Cops, soldiers, and yes, politicians, are not weak willed wimps.  Not the conservatives and not the Liberals.

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