Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Confession: Duality VS. FIGHT EVIL WITH GOOD

So, I've seen quite a few TV shows or movies (many of them I like!) that have virtuous heroes against baddies, who just like being bad.

For instance, my daughter just started watching She-Ra: The Princess of Power on Hulu. Princess Adora, long lost sister to Prince Adam (He-Man), fights the evil tyranny of the Horde, ruled by Hordak, by becoming She-Ra with a magic sword.
Sexy, Blonde, Virtuous, and Sexy
It's such a clear-cut evil vs. good show, that there is no nuance, not really with the villains. Even by having Adora a member of the Horde herself in the beginning, seemed like an artificial attempt to add depth to a character who really is one-dimensional. She simply "had not seen" the Horde being mean to people, but as soon as she sees an old man get thrown into a lake, she does a 180 and has no trouble fighting against the people who raised her. (Side note, I also think it's funny that these evil villains can at most "stun" their victims but they never seem to kill them.)

Horak: Evil or Just Misunderstood?
I know it's a kid's show, and I know it's supposed to be fun. I get that. I enjoyed watching it with my daughter personally. I'm merely pointing out the stark unnatural contrast of good vs. evil, and the lack of nuance.

I noticed the same thing in Captain Planet. In it the baddies are just out to pollute simply because they like filth. Captain Planet sets out to be a show about the environment, but it fails to make the final connection in between Verminous Skumm burning coal and making acid rain, to the very electricity that is powering the viewer's television to watch the show. Also, what is Mr. Skumm's bottom line? Is he burning coal just for fun or is he making any money by doing so?
Green mullets are HAWT.
The truth is, the environment is in danger, not because two dimensional villains burn coal just because they like "filth," but because powerful corporations are providing cheap, dirty electricity to consumers who are only too willing to purchase it. Besides, it's a lot easier to tell people to sort out their garbage for recycling, than point out that their way of life, at a fundamental level, is raping the environment. It helps avoid cognitive dissonance. ;)

The point of all this is that in the novel I'm trying to write, I want to put a spin on the whole good vs. evil thing. People will point out two sides of the same thing and try to separate the one from the whole. It's the whole idea of yin and yang. There's a balance of opposite qualities in everything. Even at a quantum level, particles behave like waves and vice versa. Neither can exist without the other. Just like death and life are inherently connected, and one can only be if the other is.

In my story, the theme has a lot to do with what happens when things are "unbalanced." When one part is seen as "good" and the other as "evil," is when the trouble begins. I have a long way to go with this, but I look forward to finishing... eventually.

3 comments:

  1. very interesting.

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  2. If the audience are kids, villains can get away being evil for the sake of evil .
    A more mature audience needs villains with more depth. The best villains are the ones who think they are doing the right thing. An example would be X-men's Magneto (or for real life, Hitler). I don't believe people are black or white. Everyone has a yin and yang within them.
    Is your novel based on the philosophy of yin and yang? I would recommend doing research because it's not just about good vs bad, it's also push & pull, rain & sunshine, cold & hot, etc. As wiki put it "ying and yang is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn."
    Good luck with your writing!

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  3. "If the audience are kids, villains can get away being evil for the sake of evil ."

    I was pointing out kids shows because they are more blatantly obvious. But you see a lot of that in adult entertainment as well. One classic I absolutely love is Lord of the Rings and it boils down to good vs. evil as well. 

    Secondly, I wasn't saying that yin and yang is at all about "good vs. bad" at all, I was trying to say the opposite and now I am a little concerned I wasn't to clear about that in my post. haha

    Yin and Yang is about hard and soft, light and dark, etc. I understand pretty well what it means, as it is something I've actually studied quite a bit in my study of philosophy and religion. In fact  what I'm trying to do with yin and yang is GET AWAY from the concept of "good" vs. "bad" which is where I'm going with my writing. Specifically, I'm planning on addressing the duality of life and death.  It's a fantasy based on beings who represent life and death, and a war in between them and the unbalance that causes. 

    The unbalance of the yin and yang is really what I'm going for as the "not good thing." It's a little difficult to explain, but I hope I was able to clarify what I meant. :)

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