RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 140,049
Posts: 5,431,036
Members: 24,926
Currently online: 483
Newest member: In_Correct

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Chrysalis
By: Michelle on Oct 18

The Next Generation Season Seven Blu-ray Details
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

CBS Launches Streaming Service
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

Yelchin In New Indie Thriller
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

Saldana In The Book of Life
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

Cracked’s New Sci-Fi Satire
By: T'Bonz on Oct 16

Beltran Introduces Shakespeare To Theater Group
By: T'Bonz on Oct 16

Burton To Be Honored at Facets Boo! Bash
By: T'Bonz on Oct 16

New Trek Puzzles
By: T'Bonz on Oct 15

Star Trek Online: Delta Rising
By: T'Bonz on Oct 15


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 3 2008, 02:02 AM   #61
George Steinbrenner
Fleet Admiral
 
George Steinbrenner's Avatar
 
Location: Mr. Laser Beam is in the visitor's bullpen
View George Steinbrenner's Twitter Profile
Re: Lex Luthor

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
Why is it that so many people find it easy to just decide someone else is "evil" and leave it at that, when talking about REALITY?
Because some people just *are* evil. We didn't decide that, they did. By their own actions. What's there to understand about, say, the Nazis? It was perfectly obvious what they were all about: the complete and utter conquest of the world. They demonstrated that time and again. So why should we have wasted valuable time trying to 'understand' what is already obvious?

See, if you can paint somebody, or some GROUP of people, as unredeemably "evil," and if you then claim that those people, by virtue of being "evil" don't need to be understood, only defeated or destroyed... you've basically just made it OK to do ANYTHING YOU WANT to that person or group.
Ah, I see. And this matters how, exactly? What did we do to Hitler? Nothing, to the man personally. To his forces? We waged war against them, with the rules of engagement in place. That is what we do. So what's the problem?

On the other hand, if you look at what the "other" person or group is thinking, you don't have to AGREE with them, but you'll recognize soon enough what it is that they're thinking. And that means that you have another option besides simply DESTROYING them, doesn't it?
I think a better word than 'destroy' would be 'contain'. Did we destroy the Nazis? No, we fought them openly and defeated them. And after that, we didn't destroy the survivors, we put them on trial for war crimes. Would you count that as destruction?

If "Luthor is evil," in that overly simplified cartoon-villain way, then it's justifiable for Superman (or whoever else) to just kill him and be done with it.
Says who? You? Superman would disagree. He follows the rules - he never kills. He could have killed Luthor at any time, but chose not to. (Except in a rather lameass Superboy episode, of course. )
__________________
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
George Steinbrenner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 06:45 PM   #62
Gotham Central
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Chicago, IL
View Gotham Central's Twitter Profile
Re: Lex Luthor

^^^^^

Actually you are wrong about Hitler. The allies spent years psycho analyzing Hitler before, during and after WWII. Indeed most dictators have been psycho analyzed at one point or another. Knowing WHY people do what they do allows you to better understand them and thus makes them more predictable.

There were endless documentaries and papers written on Saddam Hussein before we invaded Iraq. Quite a bit of our initial war strategy was based the government's understanding of him as a man. Having a better grasp of his psychology also explained both why he did not comply with UN weapons inspectors yet had long since destroyed the WMDs he did have. His actions seem illogical until you understand how he views the world and his place in it.

Krimlinology was the study of the Soviet government. Not just how it was fun, but the ideological basis on which it functioned. To this very day (including the situation in Georgia) it has been argued that we fail to understand the Russia's often paranoid mindset. Understanding and acknowledging their paranoia makes their actions of late so much more predictable. We do not have to buy into their paranoia, but it helps us to know that it exists and why they respond in a particular way.


The reality is that NO ONE EVER sees themself as the villan of the story. Hitler really did think he was doing the world a favor by eliminating the Jews and trying to conquer Russia (and honestly did not understand why other Western countries fought against him).

Many homicidal murderers think that they are perfectly justified in their killing. Mobsters frequently see themselves a businessmen filling a preexisting nich in the market that our societal rules create (hell many members of the Italian mob still go to church and are devout Catholics). Gang members think that it makes total sense to shoot someone for any percieved act of disrespect (to allow such disrespect is to put ones onw life in danger).

Likewise, even a cursory glance a terrorist literature of any stripe lets you know that they think that they are doing good and necessary work.

Its this reality that has always made some aspects of the DCU seem rather childish. No one forms a "Secret Society of Supervillans" or an "Injustice League." The "Crime Syndicate/Society of Amerika" makes little sense if you think about it. How can people that run the world and make the rules call what they do a "crime"?
__________________
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia

Green Day
Gotham Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 09:39 PM   #63
Galactus
Rear Admiral
 
Galactus's Avatar
 
Location: The High Father
Re: Lex Luthor

I have often heard those arguments made, and I can say that except in a very few cases, the person truly knows what they are doing and know that it is not good. There is a difference between having a different policy such as a country and it is another to think that slaughtering people in a good thing. The problem is that people now know that people they thought were good, have done things that are not so good. The extension of that is that people they know are bad have also done similar things so are they really as bad as you thought or are the misunderstood?

I have no doubt that a lot of the people that do evil deeds say they are the heroes, but they know they are evil. That would be the ultimate form of evil would it not.
__________________
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Galactus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 09:56 PM   #64
Cary L. Brown
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Austin, Texas
Re: Lex Luthor

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
^^^^^

Actually you are wrong about Hitler. The allies spent years psycho analyzing Hitler before, during and after WWII. Indeed most dictators have been psycho analyzed at one point or another. Knowing WHY people do what they do allows you to better understand them and thus makes them more predictable.

There were endless documentaries and papers written on Saddam Hussein before we invaded Iraq. Quite a bit of our initial war strategy was based the government's understanding of him as a man. Having a better grasp of his psychology also explained both why he did not comply with UN weapons inspectors yet had long since destroyed the WMDs he did have. His actions seem illogical until you understand how he views the world and his place in it.

Krimlinology was the study of the Soviet government. Not just how it was fun, but the ideological basis on which it functioned. To this very day (including the situation in Georgia) it has been argued that we fail to understand the Russia's often paranoid mindset. Understanding and acknowledging their paranoia makes their actions of late so much more predictable. We do not have to buy into their paranoia, but it helps us to know that it exists and why they respond in a particular way.


The reality is that NO ONE EVER sees themself as the villan of the story. Hitler really did think he was doing the world a favor by eliminating the Jews and trying to conquer Russia (and honestly did not understand why other Western countries fought against him).

Many homicidal murderers think that they are perfectly justified in their killing. Mobsters frequently see themselves a businessmen filling a preexisting nich in the market that our societal rules create (hell many members of the Italian mob still go to church and are devout Catholics). Gang members think that it makes total sense to shoot someone for any percieved act of disrespect (to allow such disrespect is to put ones onw life in danger).

Likewise, even a cursory glance a terrorist literature of any stripe lets you know that they think that they are doing good and necessary work.

Its this reality that has always made some aspects of the DCU seem rather childish. No one forms a "Secret Society of Supervillans" or an "Injustice League." The "Crime Syndicate/Society of Amerika" makes little sense if you think about it. How can people that run the world and make the rules call what they do a "crime"?
Very well-stated. For the past several years, I've spent a fair amount of my free time reading about and studying Islam (from an "outsider" perspective, mind you). Because of this, I understand why those among that belief system who engage in violence are actually thinking... and yes, they really do believe that by blowing up a schoolbus full of children in Israel, they're doing "good." Horrifying, but true.

I moved to a new topic a couple of months ago, and have been studying the history of socialism (in all of it's forms). From the first real "socialist" government taking power during the French Revolution, to Hegel, to Marx, to Lenin and Stalin and Mussolini and Hitler... all the most well-known "internationalist socialist" and "nationalist socialist" leaders... to the lesser-known "religious-socialists," to the softer forms we see among western democracies today (usually referred to as "progressives").

It's easy for those on the right to villainize all "progressives" as evil, simply because their philosophical basis springs from the same well as the others mentioned do... but that's not really fair, because the overwhelming majority of people who follow that belief system really do think that they're "doing good." Unfortunately, the teaching of history has failed, in recent decades, to pass along the lessons of who some of these "villains" of recent history really were.

Hitler was undeniably a bad guy. But if you really know much about what he did and where he stood on a LOT of issues, well.. it's stunning to see how many of his positions are broadly supported here, in the USA, today. Not by "neo-nazis" and certainly not by conservatives, but by well-meaning "progressives."

Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Part of learning from history involves UNDERSTANDING the people you're talking about. Hitler was a racist and an extremist nationalist... but he was also a crusader against cancer, strongly against smoking, a teatotaller, in favor of "the village" taking on responsibility for the raising of children... anti-big-business (unless it was under the direct control of the government), anti-religion, except for historically germanic "pagan" beliefs, a proponent of "pure evolutionary" theory (and it's offshoot, Eugenics), very much in favor of governmental funding of arts, of governmental control over education... and the list goes on and on. The fact that he was also an ultranationalist racist is the only thing that clearly separates him from current American "progressivism."

Now, let's talk about other "bad guys." Ones in the world today. The leader of Iran, for instance... you can dismiss him as a nutcase, but that's both insulting and stupid. Find out what he really believes (about the imminent "return of the 12th Imam" and everything associated with that) and you'll understand why he's so dangerous. The man believes that Allah intends him to be instrumental in the "end of the world."

On the other hand, Kim Jong Il is FAR less threatening. Why? Again, you need to understand who he is and why he does what he does. Jong is not nearly as anti-west as he's portrayed in the American press. And his "nuclear weapons" aren't really anything developed by his country anyway... they're basically "gifts" from the Chinese government, who've had nuclear weapons for many years (and are now building US-created designs they obtained last decade!). He's actually in a very rough position... as the defacto "pitbull" of the Chinese government, he knows that if he were ever to go against them, he'd be dead. But don't forget, he lived in the west for many years until his father, Kim Il Song, died... and his apparently "goofy" actions (like his love of Elvis Presley) are at least as much an effort to show us (in the west) that he's not REALLY consumed by hate for what we represent. The poor guy simply has no choice... be the "pit bull" or turn up dead one morning.

Milosovich... why did he do the "evil" things he's accused of? Do any of you know anything about him except that Javier Solana chose to side against him? You know the term "genocide" has been tossed around, but have you ever tried to understand what HE may have been thinking?

The point is... you can't effectively deal with ANYONE, without understanding what their motivations are. And EVERYONE thinks that their motivations are "good." (Even when they're totally wrong!)
Cary L. Brown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 10:50 PM   #65
Othello
Commodore
 
Re: Lex Luthor

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
Watch Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League: Unlimited.
Hell, watch Smallville. He's easily Smallville's best and most developed and dynamic character.

There it is. On Smallville he's not just evil for the sake of being evil. There is a method and reason to his madness and it was a beautful thing to see play out.
Othello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 11:06 PM   #66
Othello
Commodore
 
Re: Lex Luthor

Galactus wrote: View Post
Holdfast wrote: View Post
.......
Lex Luthor is both the greatest and worst that mankind can be and that makes him a brilliant character. You may not like what he does, but you can't help respecting him.
This is part of the post I was referring to recently, but there have been similar ones in the past that I have read about Luthor and other villians. There is always this theme of "good" characters are boring and the "anti-hero"/bad guy is so much more interesting. It is those comments that bother me the most.
That theme is very much right on target. Hero's NEED villians to bring out the goodness for others to see and cheer for. As "Rowdy" Roddy Piper said about he and Hulk Hogan "do you think they would have cheered you so hard if they didn't hate me so much" I mean people totally DESPISED Piper in a visceral way and the more he pised people off the more they cheered Hogan. It's the same way in the movies and tv.
Othello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 11:30 PM   #67
Praetor
Vice Admiral
 
Praetor's Avatar
 
Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
Re: Lex Luthor

Cary, I won't quote you because that was so long but I think it was quite well said and insightful. I think that part of the appeal of Luthor as a character is trying to understand and rationalize why he would stand against Superman from a very common, human, emotional place, in the same way we try to understand our enemies.

__________________
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q
Praetor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2008, 11:47 PM   #68
Holdfast
Procul, O procul este profani!
 
Holdfast's Avatar
 
Location: 17 Cherry Tree Lane
Re: Lex Luthor

Galactus wrote: View Post
Holdfast wrote: View Post
.......
Lex Luthor is both the greatest and worst that mankind can be and that makes him a brilliant character. You may not like what he does, but you can't help respecting him.
This is part of the post I was referring to recently, but there have been similar ones in the past that I have read about Luthor and other villians.
OK, let me see if I can explain it. Not to convince you, because we clearly come at things from very different angles, but just to further the exploration/discussion. I'm enjoying this thread.

I've always found evil characters fascinating. Done well, they are an exploration of the extreme. Most of us are bound by societal rules and at some level agree to conform to them, recognising a net utility to doing so.

Now, not all of us consciously and overtly make that choice, but it's there. Whether we choose to get jobs, get married, obey laws, raise children, or whatever, it's an expression of an agreement with the status quo because we either consciously or subconsciously recognise we get a net benefit from doing so. We suppress some parts of ourselves to get a net reward. Again, not saying this is always a conscious choice, but I don't think it's rocket science to suggest it happens at some level with everyone, otherwise there would be anarchy.

Criminal behaviour in general is a fascinating study because they think they are able to break out of that conformity. Comic book supervillains or even more existential evil forces like Lucifer or Sauron are criminals of the purest sort - they represent what every child wishes they could do. Break the rules without either morality or societal coercion/punishment intervening. Pure id. In short, perfect emotional freedom. Freedom is a very attractive concept, which makes supervillains of this sort very charismatic.

Their sheer audacity in defying convention and conventional morality demands attention. However, unlike a child throwing a temper tantrum, the best villains harness that audacity to a razor sharp intellect capable achieving their aims - they are the Moriarties, Lecters and Luthors of the fictional world.

Of course, in reality, such characters would be terrifying to encounter. As someone who has interviewed psychopaths, both of low and high IQ, there is little more genuinely chilling than chatting with a true high-functioning psychopath. What's most chilling is that for a while one actually quite likes them, until they say or do something so horrifically unconventional that it shocks you back into perspective.

However, with well-written fictional supervillians, that almost never happens - instead you see the charm, the chutzpah and the freedom. When they do something horrific - like Lecter frying and feeding whathisname his own brain, the audience squirms, retches and chuckles but doesn't feel personally threatening. That's why fictional supervillains are so appealing to large numbers of the public, including myself.
Holdfast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 4 2008, 12:04 AM   #69
The Dead Mixer
Vice Admiral
 
The Dead Mixer's Avatar
 
Location: Connecticut
Re: Lex Luthor

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete."--Sun Tzu
__________________
The Old Mixer, celebrating 50 years under our Fab Overlords.
The Dead Mixer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 4 2008, 01:09 AM   #70
Galactus
Rear Admiral
 
Galactus's Avatar
 
Location: The High Father
Re: Lex Luthor

Holdfast

Thank you for you well thought out answer. I based on my own experiences I agree with most of what you said. I know the idea that one can do whatever they want is very fascinating to a lot of people, especially today, which is why you have shows about bad cops, a spaceship full of people you want to be killed by robots because they deserve it, a serial killer, and the list goes on. People truly like people like this, and I really think they would like these type of people in person. People that tend to do bad things, surround themselves with bad things. It is one thing to understand your enemy, it is another thing to admire them.
__________________
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Galactus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 4 2008, 02:03 AM   #71
Guy Gardener
Fleet Admiral
 
Guy Gardener's Avatar
 
Location: In the lap of squalor I assure you.
Re: Lex Luthor

Personally, with knowing what was to come, Australia could have been a little better off with Luthor in charge.

I just saw Slaughterhouse 5 for the first time yesterday. Miss Tessmachers chesticles were like omnipresent and should have gotten top billing as they paraded from side of the screen to the other and back again.
__________________
"Glitter is the herpes of arts and craft."

Troy Yingst. My Life as Liz
Guy Gardener is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
superheroes

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:23 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.