I think I mentioned before here that I'm not a nice person.
I'm not an "evil" person, either. In the sense that I do and enjoy doing unmitigated wrong for its own sake.
But I'm not a sweetheart. I'm not a "nice" person, being kind to strangers and pets and generally making safe and pleasant sounds to make the people around me feel better. When unprovoked I'm generally pretty civil, but I've done wrong, knowing it was wrong, for my own safety, or for my benefit and the benefit of those I loved. Or to further an end I desired, or for spite, or out of the pure pleasure of bringing the lightnings and hellfire and destruction. The last was in my youth, mind you, before I understood, deeply, truthfully understood the meaning of grief and pain. I was young and stupid and thoughtless, which explains but does not excuse my evil. But some of the wrong I've done I'd do again, eyes open, because I had reasons of my own for doing that wrong.
In my defense I will give you fair warning before I try and do you down. And I will admit myself in the wrong, the villian, and then do my best to do you the dirty.
There. Now we understand each other. Like I said: I'm an honest man, overall a decent man, but not a nice man.
Right now I'm frankly furious with someone, someone I considered a friend or at least the friend of a friend, who is acting out of pure lust, selfishness and greed and, in the process, hurting another friend and someone who should have been her best friend.
But y'know what?
That's not what I'm furious at her about.
Lust, selfishness and greed I can understand. "Lechery, lechery, wars and lechery; nothing else holds fashion." They are three of perhaps a dozen of the most simple and profoundly human reasons for action. Love, hate, lust, despite, self-esteem, self-interest, self-loathing, greed, vanity, honor, fidelity...all of these are more often as not at the base of the things we do and say, even if we try to ignore or deny them. I may not like them, I may not enjoy them - or I might, depending on whether I am giving or receiving of their often dubious but sometimes splendid largesse. But I can hardly pretend that they are not particularly human and as such pervade the entire world around us.
I can even understand deceit. How many of us would rather face blame and obliquy if we could lie our way out from under them? Human. Despicable but very, very human. I can condemn deceit while uderstanding and, to a degree, sympathising with the deceiver.
But what I cannot understand is the cravenness of self-deceit, in the form of moral cowardice.
Are you going to act in your own self-interest and give your dearest friend a hard kick in the balls? Kick away, darlin', but don't pretend you're on some delightful journey of self discovery. Don't talk about ow bad YOU'RE hurting. Don't try and excuse yourself, don't try and whine and whimper about your feelings. You are being a right bitch and in the best of causes: your own self-interest. Kick and be done with it. Walk away from those you've hurt, go on about your business and let them get on about theirs. Which may be revenge on you, mind you - and there you've no cause to complain. Just the knowledge of the vast stupidity of embarking on a quest for revenge. Kǒng Fūzǐ knew: "Before you seek revenge, first dig two graves."
Kick with a will, and own up to the fact that here, now, in this case, you are the villian. You will all live another day and then you can be as douce and kindly as your self-respect demands. But right at the moment you are as wrong as a person can be, and you need to be okay with that.
My little Peeper has been caught up in a fascination with all things Star Wars lately, and as a result I've been revisiting the movies I haven't seen for decades. And, interestingly, I found myself watching the "Return of the Jedi" with a particularly reversed sympathy. Instead of feeling the love for Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker when he finally turns on his master, evil Emperor Palpatine, and hucks the Sith Lord down the central cooling shaft of the New and Improved Death Star II, I was having a certain wry appreciation for the bad, mad Emperor.
Yes, he was a villanous bastard who killed millions. But you knew where he stood. He wasn't afraid to do wrong and stand up and take the blame for it. In his mind, his crimes were for the best reason in the world: his best interest, and he did what needed to be done and didn't ask you to love him for it. Darth only reforms when his own son is threatened. Palpatine is a rotten bastard, but at least he's a rotten bastard on his own terms and doesn't need to feel the love, of his son, his apprentice, or anyone else. He's an honest man, in his evil way.
It seems to me that, rather than be an outright son-of-a-bitch (or bitch, gender applying), way too many people - like the woman involved in this sad incident - want to have it both ways. They want to cut you like a razor, and then, as you stand bleeding, want to hold up their hands and cry "But I'm not the bad guy here!" They're the woman who sends out the racist e-mail and, when busted, doesn't say "I'm sorry, I was stupid" or "Yeah, well, that's how I feel about those #@%$$!" but instead mewls something like "I regret if my innocent prank offended some people" as if the real wrong is the taking offense rather than the being an ignorant racist prick. It's like the murderer who cries and tells his victims' families that he's sorry but still fights every death sentence to the Supreme Court, slinging as much mud on his victims as he can in desperate attempt to save his worthless, murderous life. It's like the Vice President who lies, orders tortures and breaks his own government's laws and, when questioned about it, snarls questions back accusing the accusers of treason and cowardice.
Evil is evil and you cannot refine it. But give me an honest villian before a sanctimonious hypocrite, with the one hand stabbing me and the other cadging me for my sympathy and good opinion.
Do your villany and be done. I will not love you better for your quivering self-justification or your pathetic pleas for understanding.