I’ve heard it said before that every villain is the hero of his own story. And I do believe there’s a lot of truth to that.
I’m not trying to downplay the difference between right and wrong, or good and evil. Not by any stretch of the imagination. At the same time, perspective is important, both in real life and in fiction.
As we’ve talked about before, perspective is – for better or worse – bias. It’s a limited view of the world, whether because of honest ignorance or purposeful indoctrination.
As such, someone can feel completely justified or at least completely unconcerned about making truly harmful decisions.
For instance, sexual harassment. Perpetrators can excuse their bad behavior any number of ways, telling themselves stuff like:
They can walk away if they want to. It’s not like I’m physically forcing them to stay.
I wouldn’t actually push it any further.
If they take offense at this, they’re just being oversensitive. It’s all in good fun.
They don’t matter as much as I do. Or at all.
I bring this particular topic up because I just watched a YouTube session with Katy Perry. And it was a very interesting display of exactly what we’re talking about here.
Let’s set this up…
Think of an open, professional-looking room done up in deep yet unassuming shades of brown. In it are two wide, padded chairs facing each other, maybe three feet apart.
In one sits a tall, stately, older black gentleman in a full suit, though no tie. In the other sits a thin, pale-skinned girl with very short blond hair and, frankly, an odd, rather shapeless, light-yellow dress that shows off her knees.
The gentleman is Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh, host of The Therapist. The girl is Katy Perry, someone who’s been accused of sexual harassment more than once.
A few months ago, Josh Kloss – who played her romantic counterpart in the “Teenage Dream” music video – says she pulled his pants and underwear out to show off his privates to a group of her friends.
Now, yes, he could be lying. But remember her on-camera disregard for an American Idol contestant’s wishes for his first kiss? The much younger man flat-out said he wanted to wait for his first real relationship. Yet she deliberately smooched him anyway.
And there’s at least one other allegation out there as well – all about someone who once portrayed abduction as an erotic experience (in “Alien”). Overall, her songs and music videos show a clear pattern of making sexuality seem up for grabs.
So, I’m sorry, but there’s good reason to consider her guilty as charged.
Yet watching her interview with Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh (who doesn’t seem sincere either), you don’t see a villain.
You see a long-sufferer. You see a victim. You see a sympathetic character.
Katy Perry talks about how traumatizing her childhood was. How nobody understands her. How she doesn’t even understand herself due to her childhood.
She cries. She smiles bravely. She looks lost and adorable and likable.
And, in her mind, you can tell she’s convinced of that #truth. She’s the good guy. She’s doing her best to simply get through a hard, cold, confusing world.
If she is indeed guilty of serious levels of sexual harassment, how can anyone be so delusional?
Well, practice for one thing. Wallowing in self-pity certainly helps as well. And surrounding oneself with yes people – which she certainly has the money and influence to do – probably doesn’t hurt either.
So is Katy Perry the hero of her own story? Watch the interview and tell me that she’s not.
But in someone else’s story – three other people on record – she’s a villain.
Keep that disconnect in mind the next time you want to get into one of your antagonists’ hearts, minds… or very souls.