Friday, February 22, 2013

mudbloods, cake, & how to be the very best bad guy

I know this is going to come as a HUGE shock, you guys, but I watch a lot of movies and/or Netflix. I have a deep, deep love for pop culture, but the thing that annoys me most is the constant need to remove all responsibility from the main character. By delegating negative traits to everyone except the "protagonist," it allows the lead to sparkle majestically on a glittery pedestal of untarnished awesomeness, excusing all questionable behavior because everyone else has more questionable behavior. Questionabler behavior? Sucks more.  Because eeeeeveryone else sucks more.
It's okay for Jessica Day to cheat on her boyfriend because he checks his phone in bed. It's okay for Katniss to kill everyone, because they're not as caring as she is, and it's always an act of self-defense. It's okay for Hermione to punch Malfoy because he called her a Mudblood. (Also, it's worth noting that I feel totally dirty writing that word.)
See also: It's okay to eat cake for dinner because you've had a bad day. It's okay to quit work because your boss is a jerk. It's okay to take a spontaneous trip to see an out-of-state friend because things have been just so stressful.
Sound familiar?
Why do we feel the need to justify our actions by focusing on the bad?
I know for me, it's always so much easier to legitimize the choices I make, or even how I feel, by placing the entirety of the responsibility on an outside source. Honestly, I feel stupid chalking up a bad day to the simple fact that I MIGHT BE HAVING A BAD DAY. Instead, I'm having a bad day because someone cut me off, then flipped me the bird. Or because I got yelled at during work for something that wasn't actually my fault. Or because I had to get up too early. Sometimes, my mood and decisions are a direct reflection of my environment, (if I throw up, I'm going to call in sick, etc), but sometimes I find myself scraping the bottom of the barrel for reasons to do what I do and feel how I feel.
In stories, there's always such a clear "good guy" and "bad guy," but what happens when your coworkers are great, yet your job doesn't inspire you to be more kickass than you were yesterday? Or your spouse is wonderful, but just not the right sort of wonderful for you, and you want to end things? Or you get thrown into an arena and have to kill everyone in order to win tons of fancy bread for your family forever and ever but everyone's sort of nice and equally scared? (Flashbacks to my 16th birthday party, by the way.)
Life and I and you and we are not dichotomies, as modern culture would have us believe. The world just doesn't function that way. Instead, we perpetually reside in these gorgeously morphing blobs of information, options, and circumstances where opposites overlap, and sometimes have tea, and frequently throw robot dance parties together. 
So please, for the LOVE OF PETE, let's be "bad". Please, let's frolic through those gray areas and make the choices we want to make simply because we want to make them. If we need an excuse to go after the life we want, let the excuse be that we deserve it. Our justification for being us is that there's no other way to be, is there?
We don't have to be the victims in our lives to be empowered. We are not in distress, and we do not need saving. We are, however, uniquely powerful forces of nature. And we have the right, just by being the pure, undiluted, unadulterated people that we are, to make any decision we damn well want to.
Except doing intravenous drugs or getting face tats. That shit crosses a line.


  1. This is the best thing I have read all week.

  2. Now, to be faiiiiir, Katniss is one of the most flawed protagonists I've read in a while and she does a lot of stupid shit simply because she doesn't know better. Not necessarily because of this feeling of "because of this..." or because anyone is doing "worse" things than she is.

    In other news, YES. Let's all just accept that bad things happen because sometimes life sucks, instead of trying super hard to find something to blame it on. Eat a piece of cake, take a nap, and let's move on. (This is sound advice for any situation in life, I think.) Cake + naps = WORLD PEACE. Or something.