Sunday, January 06, 2008

Will Smith and the Problem of Evil

Lord, a new year and what happened to the old one? One resolution for this year, however, is to keep up to date with this blog more often - well, it's not going to be difficult considering my last entry was in August, is it? Oh, and to get something in print. At last. Somehow.

Anyway, the real reason for this entry was a somewhat depressing news article that I spied online last week and I thought I'd share with you. Not depressing for the content, more for the context. Well, see what you think.

It was an online news site. Can't remember which to be honest but it was a reputable one. The headline was 'Will Smith says Hitler was good'.

Now, as attention-grabbing headlines go, it worked and I dutifully clicked on the page. The article was less sensational. In a nutshell, Will Smith apparently said that he didn't believe that people were deliberately evil. He said that he didn't believe that even Hitler woke up in the morning and considered how evil he could be that day - he was doing good for his country as he saw it, no matter how twisted that was or how many suffered. In his own mind, according to Smith, he was not being evil.

Now I have a certain sympathy for this point of view. The best villains don't realise that that is what they are. Their motivations are not 'kill, maim, conquer' but 'extend, extol, improve'. A villain who you can sympathise with, who you can - at least in some off-kilter parallel world - understand the actions of, can be the scariest thing there is, because in him is a bit of you and that is downright terrifying.

But that is not the reason for this post. No, put aside philosophical ruminations and consider this instead: the article depressed me because, after giving us Will Smith's justifications, it then went on to explain who Hitler was.

Because there are people out there who don't know. And that is scary and depressing and actually very sad.

Happy New Year!


Blogger Peter Pan said...

In real life, I think Big Willy has a point .. but I am bored now of fictional villains having to have a reason d'etre for being swines. Bring back tache twirling pure evilness to our movies! Or Cruella....

2:16 AM  

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