Evil Rant

Why Villainesque?

(Note: This particular rant should be seen as a kind of statement of purpose or declaration of intent.)

I believe that it's no secret that I am a very selfish bastard and that much of my decision making process is based on this principle. For some, this might raise the question of whether or not I'm capable of looking beyond myself, at something larger. The answer is yes.

In my Why Villainy rant, I introduced many of the factors which have drawn me to the title of villain. These selfish motivations are, of course, my primary reasons for choosing villainy; but there is something larger then that going on here. And these larger ideals are my reasons for creating what I call Villainesque.

The giant mosquito defines villainesque as: "The category of individuals who naturally or deliberately exhibit the psychological traits, tendencies, interests, attitudes, and aesthetic normally associated with the archetype of a villain. A person who enjoys taking on certain attributes which are associated with villains in culture or entertainment." This is a reference to villainesque as a sort of lifestyle brand. I would also expand that definition to include a genre of entertainment which is characterized by an extremely pro-villain attitude; meaning that the protagonist possesses many traits normally associated with villain characters, or a story or plot which is set up so that the audience is encouraged to root for, sympathize or otherwise side with a character, who in any other stories would clearly be acting as the villain. Of course, this genre would only appeal to people who are willing to see these types of tendencies within themselves, and it will, undoubtedly, be argued by people who don't quite "get it" that villains, by their very natures, cannot be sympathized with because they are villains. A broader definition of the word villainesque would include anything which is extremely or deliberately "villain like". If anyone were to do a web search for the word, they would find it used for a wide variety of purposes in various internet forums and the like.

Although, when discussing a concept like villainesque, there could be much debate about what a villain truly is, and whether or not a character whom you sympathize with and root for can ever be truly call the villain, I find such analysis to be petty, pretentious and utterly pointless. You can dissect the word and its precise definitions till doomsday, but everyone knows, in general, what a villain is. And considering how iconic these types of characters have become, I think we can safely conclude that, in our current culture, the word villain has transcended any definition which would limit it to only describing a characters role in a story, and has come to describe the attributes of the character or personality themselves. Essentially, villainesque is just an inversion of standards; entertainment from the bad guys perspective. And despite its simplicity, this is enough to make it unique as a genre; as it so blatantly and inspirationally encourages the kinds of principles, psychology, believes and general worldview that you would expect the character of a villain to have. It's a view of the world design for everyone who has ever heard a villain (in fiction) make a speech about why they do what they do, and thought to themselves "cool, that makes sense, I really like that". Or, to really simplify it, villainesque is a stylized genre, which offers an almost glamorized version of evil; the way it should be.

My basic reasons for pursuing this villainesque genre/ lifestyle are much the same as Thomas Berger's famous quote about why writers write; "because it isn't there". Villainesque is an attempt to fill a need which I first saw in myself and then in the larger culture. I'm creating it because it wasn't here before; believe me, I looked. I did notice increasing signs of what I now call villainesque, which is how I knew that there was a need for it. Twisted Jenius is certainly not the first "evil" site on the web; not by a long shot. But no form of entertainment that I found, was willing to go as far with the idea as I wanted to. I wanted to be completely and unconditionally immersed in the idea, both from a serious philosophical standpoint and from a fun entertainment standpoint (you'll notice that Twisted Jenius constantly blurs the line between serious ideas and pure entertainment; often, we're not even sure if we're serious or not). However, I've seen the symptoms of this building up for years. Twisted Jenius, as well as the larger villainesque genre/ lifestyle which it supports, seems to be the next logical step in this cultural evolution. Villainesque is obviously geared towards a fringe market, and will certainly not be suitable for every one.

In many ways, villainesque is an extension of what's already out there in entertainment. The ideas, attitudes, aesthetics, characters and mechanisms have already been well established. Villains have been around for a long time and have become iconic staples in entertainment. Our job is to expand on this idea even further; to fill in the gaps and make it all encompassing. Villainesque is designed to show things from the villain's point of view and, as a genre, to align the audience with the mindset of the "evil doer". Villainesque is about a change in perception and living in a different world. Basically, the audience hangs out in the villain's lair as opposed to the hero's base. The guidelines have already been put in place, and very well. Now, we just need more of it. In this way, it is Twisted Jeniuses' task to expand on these already established ideas. To facilitate a much deeper immersion into the world of villainy, for those who want it. This is what we offer.

The appeal of villainous characters is pretty obvious. In a sense, it is wish fulfillment. Many actors have commented that playing villains is more fun than playing heroes or protagonists. I've heard others argue that villains are, in a sense, more human. This is because they are more flexible and therefore more capable of a wider range of human tendencies. Heroes always have to be "good" (at least to a certain extent), but villains can be honorable, considerate, affectionate and loyal towards those who they choose. They can also be ruthless, greedy, manipulative, sadistic and vengeful if they want. They are less one dimensional. One of the biggest appeals about villainy is that of power. Most people wish, on some level, that they had more control over their own existences. But it is often considered evil to try and take more power for oneself. Villains have the benefit of only having to look out for number one. And, by their very natures, this is all that is expected of them (the ability to indulge in unbridled selfishness does have a way of making everything much simpler!). Of course, there's also a distinct coolness factor associated with being a villain, and this is undoubtedly part of the appeal.

We are not the first to consider this idea of a villainous lifestyle. We are however, among the first to go to such great lengths to make it happen and to provide it for others (for profit, of course). And I sincerely hope that we won't be the last. Perhaps some other enterprising individuals will pick up on this villainesque idea and run with it (I really don't want to have to create all future villainesque merchandise myself, better to have others supply it for me). I have no doubt that there are people out there who have already seen the site and said to themselves "that's a good idea, I like that". Maybe they'll come up with a villainesque clothing line (this should be distinctly separate from other specialty clothing types such as goth or punk; after all, we villains are some very discriminating customers), or something which I've never even thought of. I expect that the villainesque style and genre will continue far beyond the boundaries of Twisted Jenius.

I know what I said in my first rant, about having no intention of making the world a better place. It still stands. However, in a really twisted sort of way, I think that villainesque could actually help to improve things a bit. There are many pro-goodness folks out there who would want to suppress any representation of the dark side of human existence. But ignoring these things will not help us any. It is only by accepting them that we can learn to manage and deal with them; even enjoy them. Villainesque could very easily assist cultural progression in this way. This darkness will be Twisted Jenius's dubious contribution to the world.

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- False Prophet

August 26, 2007