Recently, I have begun to use a word which I keep calling villainizing. I’ve written some initial thoughts on it in an article it called Thoughts on villainizing. I got to thinking about it and ended up saying some interesting things:
I found myself thinking about it as I was wondering what, exactly, I meant by it. I seem to use it all the time and in a specific way.
As I use it, villainizing refers to a new attitude that seemed to appear in the 1990’s. This attitude seemed unique and has a specific quality. It is more than “making people look sinister”. It seemed to go beyond that. It seemed that, in villainizing, people were made to “look sinister” to satisfy some other end or motive. This is why villainizing has this quality of false accusation, or falsely making people look sinister, or something similar. In fact, this quality of “false accusation to serve some other purpose” is a distinct quality of villainizing. I was particularly mystified by what this “other purpose” was. Overall, there is something about it that was hard for me to put my finger on.
As I thought about it I went on to say that several things are significant when it appeared in the 1990’s:
- The Cold War ended. I said that villainizing may be a result of America’s need to have an enemy after the Cold War. Basically, during the Cold War the fight with the “enemies”, the Soviet Union and Communists, gave America a legitimacy, cause, and purpose. After the Cold War ended the absence of an enemy caused a big vacuum and, in a way, caused a crisis in the U.S. that still exists today: legitimacy and purpose. I can even recall other people mentioning Americas need for an enemy in the 1990’s, of how there was no one to fight against anymore. It almost seems that villainizing became a way of “creating enemies” or “creating sinister people” to satisfy America’s need for an enemy. As a result, this causes a tendency to be all-to-willing to villainize people. It also means that people are falsely “turned into enemies” and “made to look sinister”. This shows that villainizing is a way to legitimize the U.S. and give it purpose by falsely “creating enemies” or “creating sinister people”. This is one reason why it has such a unique quality, of being more than making people look sinister. Not only that, it associates villainizing with nationalism and connects it with national pride and, accordingly, national ideals and beliefs. This would help connect it with the next thing . . .
- The coming of “politically correctness”. I said that this desire for an enemy conflicted with the fear of war and other effects of “hatred” seen in the last century (the Holocaust, slavery, etc.). This fear of “hatred”, and its effects, helped to create the “political correct” point of view. By being “politically correct” no demonstration of hatred is expressed, and the fear of war/hatred is averted. In this way, it says that “political correctness” is a reaction to the fear of the wars and hatred of the last century . . . it avoids it be excluding any reference to it. The problem is that people do hate and dislike other people regardless of “political correctness” or not. As we’ll see below, this fault in “political correctness” would play a big role in the creation of villainizing.
In these ways, this suggests that villainizing is an attitude created as a reaction to the conflicts of the 20th century.
THE “PROHIBITION OF DISLIKE”
Several attitudes seem to play a large role in the creation of villainizing:
- Fear – the fear of war and hatred caused by WWII, Holocaust, Cold War, etc. of the last century
- Exclusion – fear caused a tendency to exclude any feelings, statements, or reference to war and hatred . . . “political correctness”
- Prohibition – this exclusion caused an attitude of prohibition
- Rebellion – the prohibition caused a “hidden rebellion” against it
It seems, to me, that villainizing is a reaction to the prohibition of the feelings of hate and war. In many ways, “political correctness” is a new form of prohibition, much like the prohibition in the early 1900’s against alcohol. I call this the “prohibition of dislike”. We now cannot express hatred or dislike of other people. This prohibition has become so bad, and so ridiculous, that there are people who make a life out of finding dislike and hatred in things, as if they are seeking it out . . . and then they condemn people for it! Its really no surprise that I’ve often joked that “its a crime to express hatred and dislike in the U.S. . . . we are all bound, by law, to love one another.” Though a Constitutional Amendment does not state the prohibition of dislike, as it did with alcohol (the 18th Amendment), the law tends to support it. A good example is something that began to appear about the time of “political correctness” . . . the idea of the “hate crime”. Not only that, I can get sued, lose my job, and even a prison sentence for doing something that can be associated with dislike or “hate”. Most especially, I will be villainized for it. These are good examples of how we are in a new prohibition era that is supported by the legal system . . the prohibition of dislike.
But, just as there was a rebellion against the prohibition against alcohol there is a rebellion against the prohibition of hatred and dislike. We see similar rebellions in the prohibition of alcohol and the prohibition of dislike:
- Going “underground”. Doing the prohibited but out of societies eyes. These would be like the “speakeasy” of the prohibition of alcohol era. In the prohibition of dislike era, many people hold intense hatreds privately or with close friends, expressed out of societies eyes. I believe this is more prevalent than it seems.
- Going around society. Overtly doing the prohibited but avoiding getting societies attention. During the prohibition of alcohol era people may have small [private parties where they drink, or drink privately. In the prohibition of dislike era people will occasionally express hatred or dislike in a casual way, often in just a quick statement.
- Blending with society. Doing the prohibited but in what appears to be an accepted way. During the prohibition of alcohol era this would be like “rum row”, or the “liquor cruises”, where they sold alcohol just out of reach of the U.S. territorial waters. In the prohibition of dislike era it would be like villainizing, of expressing hatred and dislike in a way that is “acceptable” (see below).
As I said above, villainizing seems to be a form of “blending with society”, of overtly expressing hatred and dislike in an accepted, or “politically correct”, way . . .
THE “POLITICALLY CORRECT” EXPRESSION OF HATRED AND DISLIKE
I went on to say that villainizing is the new “-ism” of hatred and dislike of people. In this way, we could say that “villainism” is the new “racism”, “sexism”, and such that expresses hatred and dislike. What I mean by this is that villainizing is a new form of expressing hatred or dislike of people because everyone has to be “politically correct” nowadays and, therefore, cannot express it. The idea of “politically correct” no longer allows the expression of these feelings. As a result, it comes out in other ways. To put it another way, villainizing is a “politically correct” way to express hatred or dislike of people. . . its a new way of expressing feelings that are considered “politically incorrect”. In this way, its just another way of expressing things such as:
. . . and other “politically incorrect” words of dislike between people. For example, instead of saying something like “I don’t like black people”, and risk being called a “racist” (God help us all!), a person now attacks some aspect of his character to express hatred . . . villainizing. In this way, villainizing is an illusion. It makes the person not seem motivated by hatred or dislike . . . but it is. This is why I call villainizing a “disguised hatred”.
THE FLAW OF “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS” AND THE “PROHIBITION OF HATRED”
This more or less means that the idea of “political correctness”, and the “prohibition of hatred”, has created a need for a new avenue for the expression of these prohibited feelings. The fact that this has happened reveals the flaw of “political correctness” and the “prohibition of hatred”: that people are naturally “politically incorrect”, and they dislike and hate people for this or that reason. That’s just the way it is. In short, they are trying to prohibit something that naturally appears. (I’ve written some thoughts on political correctness in this article, Thoughts on the ridiculousness of political correctness – another example of cold war paranoia). This same phenomena was seen in the prohibition of alcohol: the prohibition only caused the creation for other avenues of getting alcohol.
EXPRESSIONS OF HATRED AND DISLIKE
Some of the qualities that this new “politically correct” way of expressing hatred or dislike of people appears include:
- Making it personal – They tend to be more personal and directed toward the individual person and so its not toward their race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, etc.
- Neutrality – The dislike is expressed in more common and “generic” accusations that are “neutral”, so to speak
- Accepted accusations – They accuse people of qualities and traits that society, at that time, views as bad
- Convenient exaggeration – Little, and even insignificant things, are exaggerated to make it look worse than it is
- Avoidance – Their condemnation avoids expressions of hatred and dislike that are not accepted, like “racism”
- Playing innocent – They are over-eager to portray themselves as innocent, non-hating, and loving of people
- Playing the victim – Sometimes, they villainize people by portraying themselves as a victim of the person they villainize
- Finding reasons – They “find” and search for reasons and faults to villainize people
- Making things up – They even go to the point of making things up
- Eagerness – They are over-easy and all-to-willing to villainize people
- Absurdity – Their accusations often don’t make any sense . . . this is because they are trying to make their hatred or dislike appear “OK” and “politically correct”
There are some people who these qualities have become a way of looking at and interpreting things and people.
What’s interesting is that the people who villainize often consider themselves “politically correct” and without hatred or dislike. In so doing, it shows that villainizing is really a great hypocrisy.
A common technique of villainizing is to accuse people of “accepted bad words” like discrimination, “racism”, “sexism”, etc. but, we must remember, that this is what they are actually doing. In this way, they are the ones displaying the very traits they are accusing the other person of but in a disguised way. Again, we see the hypocrisy.
THE GROWING HATRED AND DISLIKE IN PEOPLE
It seems that villainizing is becoming an increasing problem nowadays. Overall, I tend to feel that there is a growing hatred and dislike appearing in people. In fact, more than once have I said that “we are moving into a new era of hatred and dislike between people . . . it just hasn’t been given a form yet”. Once it develops a form who knows what may happen.
THE PROBLEM OF “HIDDEN” HATE AND DISLIKE
As I said above, this hatred and dislike is largely “hidden” from view. I’m often stunned by the “hidden” hate and dislike in people. More than once have I wanted to say to someone, “if you don’t like Mexicans then say it . . . don’t beat around the bush with it”. I’ve said, many times, that what we need to worry about are not overt displays of hate and dislike but the “hidden” and “disguised” hate and dislike. When it is “hidden” and “disguised” it has no outlet and remains “bottled up”. When that happens it can appear in many weird, unusual, and unexpected ways. Not only that, it sits and simmers within a person.
FEMALE HATE AND DISLIKE
Oddly enough, the greatest dislike and hatred, that I have seen in my life, is coming from females. My life’s observation is that females are the ones who dislike and hate the most. I’ve had to deal with it all my life. More than once have I said that the females are the ones promoting hate and dislike. From where I stand, there’s a lot of truth in that.
From my experience, male hatred and dislike tends to be few and far between and is generally temporary. Female hatred and dislike, on the other hand, is more frequent and, once it appears, it tends to last a longer time. This has always struck me as odd as they like to portray themselves as the “symbols of love and peace” . . . they like to disguise their hate and dislike behind an angelic face which makes it look all the more grim.
In actuality, it was the females who first introduced me to this problem and where I first inquired about it. They still figure prominently in it. Initially, it made me wonder if villainizing is primarily a female quality. Looking at it, overall, it appears that it is just very common with them.
THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA
It seems that another thing that has led to the extensive villainizing is the media. It appears that social media, in particular, has caused an increase in villainizing recently.
The media seems to cause this effect for a number of reasons such as:
- Its very prevalent and people are always exposed to it
- There is a tendency to believe what the media says
- There is a tendency to over react to media
- There is much blind following of the media . . . if “everyone else is saying it” then its OK for them to do it
- There is an ease to hysteria, of panicking too easily
- Being social-based, it creates a tendency to express things in a “socially accepted way”
- Media tends to cater to “sensationalism” which often involves hate and dislike between people
One could say that the the media has made villainizing infectious, allowing it to spread easily and uncontrollably.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen