The New York Times on Villains

The New York Times has a fascinating, lovely, and, honestly, quite disturbing interactive feature today.  Accompanying the mini-films is a slide show with commentary by the actors and actresses on their portrayals.   Additionally there is an aptly titled Rogues’ Gallery. It is really wonderful stuff. 

I recommend watching the videos (top link) first and seeing how many characters you can identify.  Then go through the slide show and Rogues’ Gallery to fill in the holes.  What I found most enjoyable, is that even when I could not identify a specific character in the videos, I had no problem figuring out what archetype was being demonstrated. 

This spoke to me on levels in regards to how we identify villains.  While we very often desire good heroes in our narratives, it is often the stark contrast of villainous characters that create the real memorable in stories.  I’ve heard many people say (and said it myself) that the bad guy is often the more interesting character.  I suspect, that part of the fascination with villains, is that, while we all may like to think of ourselves in the hero roles, we all secretly dread that perhaps we are the real bad guys.  Evil characters challenge us with our own darker potentials.

Check out the New York Times’ pieces above.  They are some of my favorite interactive features I’ve seen recently.  A good demonstration of why I’m happy to pay a subscription for their content.

~ by Nathaniel on December 7, 2011.

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