Every story needs a villain. Without conflict our protagonists can’t grow and change. The Wizard of Oz without the wicked witch is just the tale of a Kansas farm girl coping with head trauma.
Our institutions take advantage of our need for simple narratives, politicians and the media in particular. Sometimes it’s true, of course–there are evildoers in this world–but reality isn’t a story. Every good guy doesn’t require a bad guy, and every real-world scenario doesn’t require a villain. Only when reality is transformed into reality television are bad guys required.
Getting us to think of complex problems within the framework of false dichotomies is perhaps the most powerful weapon in the propagandist’s tool kit. Keep that in mind the next time you see a crowd being led in chants of “lock her up” or whatever, but for now let’s get to the music:
“Villains,” The Verve Pipe.
“Eternal Villainy,” Plant Tribe.
“Mr. Bad Guy,” Freddie Mercury.
“The Adversary,” Crime & the City Solution.
“Low Life,” The Police.
“No More Mr. Nice Guy,” Alice Cooper.
“The Devil’s Rejects,” Rob Zombie.
“I’m Bad Like Jesse James,” John Lee Hooker.
There you have it: Eight songs for your own personal Snidely Whiplash. What did I miss? I’m listening.
Categories: From the Stacks