ou’ve seen them. The guy with the souped-up car with nowhere to go. Or the guy with the sinister tattoo that doesn’t seem to mean anything, nothing but skulls and eagles and flames. The guy with the massive gun who is amazingly well informed about a government conspiracy. Or ever the guy with a convict glare who has never even had a library book go overdue. And yes, girls can play too.
They are trying to be so evil and so anti-heroic with their poise. Yet, if you sat with them and chatted them out (or, better yet, flipped open their skulls and rooted around in the pan) you might find something extraordinary. These evil-posers really have no backstory. No prison. No destination. No massive wrong. No place to drive to and beat a deadline. No government repression. No society that misunderstands them (because society really doesn’t care to understand). No, as the title notes, they cast themselves as purposed-evil yet do not have a backstory.
It’s all a big cosplay act with them dressed up as their favorite character of some internal fiction.
And that’s the amazing thing about our media-culture – unlike the Guttenberg years, now millions of stores are spun off, all the way from multi-million-dollar movies down to unviewed fan fiction. Our world is little more than an ocean of tropes, with meaning and truth and purity lost in the roar of the waves. Think of the difference in bandwidths – I could tell you about the Assyrians, of their war chariots, their summer campaigns, their stacks of skulls, and their capitol that was so despised that several neighboring nations nuked them so totally that they were lost to history for two thousand years. That’s a fact. But if I say “Zombie Apocalypse”, a dozen storylines suddenly spring into your head, things that never existed. You have fast zombies, slow zombies, funny zombies, scary zombies. You have ever type of character, from the bad-ass black woman to the practical white blue-collar guy. Zombies enjoy a massive media-culture bandwidth, even though Assyrians are far scarier. As I said, we live in a world of make believe. Nothing is real. Everything is a posing and a tag-line.
And this is what you end up – people not developing a character for themselves based on real strengths and weaknesses, loves and passions, but rather people who go looking for a role to play, meaning in meme, a point to existence. They gotta be badasses, even if nobody really cares. It’s all they’ve got.
It’s sad, to see how the millions of fibers of culture that flow through our TVs, radios, internet, and directed marketing create these people who aren’t really there, who exist in a storyline not theirs.
Be honest. Be truthful. Because nobody really believes your persona. We’ve all seen those movies too.