It could easily be dismissed as a cinematic myth, but I’m pretty damn sure it’s true that early Hollywood westerns simplified the distinction between hero and villain by cladding the good guys in light colours and the bad guys in dark ones; watching in monochrome, it would appear the characters an audience were supposed to root for wore white hats and the ones an audience were supposed to boo and hiss wore black ones. This method of visual storytelling itself probably derived from the folk fairy tales of Europe, a tradition Disney upheld when the studio began animating them; it has also persisted as basic shorthand to bypass shades of grey within any movie or TV series that has a linear narrative.
If only life were that straightforward. Once we realise that reality places demands upon us to discern the difference between a saint and a sinner without offering such signposts, the divisions become murky. Even then, however, there are certain archetypes the sussed know not to trust – politicians, gutter-press journalists, door-to-door salesmen, and crackpot cult gurus, to name but a small handful; they are sophisticated reincarnations of the childhood bogeyman offering us free sweets. And then there are those who make no pretence to obscure their villainy, such as brazen criminals or twisted interpreters of religious texts, who revel in their lack of empathy with the kind side of human nature. In this respect, perhaps the white hat/black hat educational tool that enables us to tell good from evil survives into adulthood.
Over the past twelve months, the strain of cautious cynicism I have been forced to employ as a safeguard against being shafted has received a series of severe blows; unexpected exposure to touching gestures that are amongst the finest examples of the benign weapons in this species’ sublime emotional armoury has reminded me that not everybody is a bastard or a bitch with an ulterior motive. Engaged as I am in a permanent pursuit of beauty, whether that be the exquisitely pirouetting ballerina, the classical musician possessing absolute mastery of their instrument, the mesmerising brushstrokes of an old master or prose and poetry powerful enough to provoke tears, seeing beauty in the kindness of strangers who I then embrace as friends has immeasurably improved my existence. Yet, in a curious way, it has also opened my eyes anew to the real villains in this world, those whose contrast with the bona-fide ladies and gentlemen it has been my pleasure to know couldn’t be more striking.
These cold, callous, self-aggrandizing, spiritually bankrupt, mercenary and mendacious leeches busily building a repulsive empire on the backs of those they manipulate and exploit for their own despicable ends appear even greater aberrations in the light of the love I have encountered, even greater stains on the positive potential of the human spirit. They know who they are. They are illiterate Philistines, not through lack of education or impoverished origins, but through choice. They saw a bandwagon travelling in their direction and they gleefully hitched a ride on it, eventually working their way towards the driving seat and pressing down hard on the pedal, not caring who they ran over as they ignored the speed limit. At times, words fail me when it comes to describing the utter contempt I hold them in. I would leap in front of a flying bullet for our beloved landlady, but I would not waste the contents of my bladder to extinguish the fire it would give me immense pleasure to witness this pond life perishing in.
They have abused the English language because it means no more to them than it would to someone for whom it is not their mother tongue; they have wrenched words away from their meaning and remade them in their own indecent image; they have perverted the mainstream media with an unprecedented level of cynical opportunism, distorting the truth so that the truth is buried beneath impenetrable layers of a lie of their own profane invention; they have engineered the hounding, persecution and imprisonment of pensioners by capitalising on the confusion and vulnerability of the mentally ill and encouraging the avaricious instincts at the dark heart of the acquisitive society in an unedifying spectacle they appear shamelessly proud of as they gloat in the wake of each miscarriage of justice; they have ridden roughshod over the principles laid down in an ancient document celebrated as the foundation stone of what made this country a civilised beacon of fair-play for all; they have devalued and belittled the sufferings of genuine victims as their reclassification of crimes has placed the innocuous on a level playing field with the unforgivable; they have legitimised a cottage industry previously written-off as the irrelevant bedroom rantings of autistic virgins; they have manufactured a climate of fear unseen since the seventeenth century in order to profit from the paranoia of the ignorant, ill-informed and easily led; they have expressed a chilling absence of compassion for the casualties of their corrupt crusade as their lips, sullied with the untruths of the revisionist, drip with the blood of the falsely accused. They are reprehensible charlatans of the lowest order, wolves whose immorality is cloaked in the sheep’s clothing of morality, legal gangsters whose sleep patterns are an unfathomable mystery to me.
It never ceases to astonish me that so many whose intellectual capacity to see through the bullshit of public figures is as sharp as the sting of a wasp at the height of summer inexplicably accept the agenda laid down before them. X is a predator; X has always been a predator; X was a predator all along, and though everybody knew so, nobody acted upon this knowledge. This is the truth now and there is nothing you, I or any other honest resident of the blogosphere can do to alter that. It is fact, engrained in the national consciousness, supported by the unchallenged testimonies of those who suffered at X’s hands and by the subtle erasure of historical evidence that contradicts this agenda. Yet, though we may well be pissing in the wind, there is always the remote possibility our discharge might just splash someone in the face and cause them to question the consensus. We live in hope because we continue to believe in the faint likelihood of good triumphing over evil, and this is what distinguishes us from them.
The random mood-swings of the great scriptwriter in the sky, whose ultimate power over plotting the progress of his characters will always be beyond our control, are only ever predictable when he sees fit to remove a cherished character from the storyline. Those who are deserving of deletion never seem to be scrubbed-out; they hang around like an optimistic importuner living in hope that an honourable member will visit his office and present him with the prospect of a financial advantage when times are hard. All those vile, loathsome blots on the landscape of beauty will still be with us when it feels like beauty has been eradicated for good. But it won’t be because beauty is as immortal as its antithesis. Even in the darkest of dark ages, there will always be light. I know because I’ve spent time in its company.
So, if you happen to stumble upon this either by accident or design, you shallow, shameless, contemptible abominations of humanity, you disgraceful betrayers of all love, kindness, decency and charity, do not make the mistake of assuming that this missive is some contrived outburst of stylised rage meticulously prepared for the converted. I am directly addressing you straight from an internal organ you are unfamiliar with, the heart. Although I am undeniably emotional at this moment in time, raging against the unfairness of Him that giveth because he also taketh away, I am able to articulate that emotion in a manner you are singularly unable to on account of the simple fact that you have no soul.
You are a lower form of life than the mucus that clogs my nostrils, the spit that swims around my mouth and the bodily waste expunged from my orifice. You may remain when your intellectual and spiritual superiors are gone, but you will not win in the end. We will not let you.