So, I was on the receiving end of a slightly one-sided conversation about Hannibal. While I was avoiding thinking about uncannily appropriate rhymes, my brain instead went to a strange connection – Edward Cullen. Then it bounced earlier to Lestat. From there, I went to Dracula. Having had it with vampires, I went to Loki, Moriarty, Moran, and the list could go on.
When did we start to romanticize murderers? Furthermore, if we just take another step, when did we begin to romanticize murder? Death?
Is this just a strange offshoot of the bad boy? Or was the bad boy and anti-hero an attempt to minimize the underlying evil?
Undoubtedly, the general populace is attracted to disaster. We gape at car crashes and any other morbid curiosity. People eat up mystery, question intelligence, quote charisma and magnetism. If you get wrapped up in the shiny packaging in books and movies, I suppose you could just float along pretending it was more romance with twist than twisted with abuse.
Perhaps the audience focuses on the physical beauty (Loki) or even the goodness of their real life counterpart (Tom Hiddleston). Maybe people rationalize the codes of contact as being more rational (Hannibal? Moriarty? Moran?). It would even be that we simply want to be wanted to the point of obsession, and those who have such weaknesses (methodical or madness) are often rather unattractive in their manners if we don’t hide it with the gossamer of romance place by the author (Cullen).
After these thoughts invaded my head, I looked up what others thought. Most blamed Dracula for the vampire invasion, the murder delight, and furthering the idealizing of death. Poe didn’t help either for the last though I’m not sure he formed a murder delight so much as a mystery buffet. Some point towards Heathcliff.
People have written characters to be redeemed through love while the question remains if they can truly be redeemed (Angel (forced soul), Spike (worked to get soul back), Dexter?). Television, books, movies twisting how psychopathy exists, how it functions – questions of how honorable killing is.
Interestingly, those who are huge fans don’t seem to be pro-death penalty. It struck me as a little odd to romanticize someone being killed via a single person’s code of honor/ethics/insanity/contact versus a country’s law (i.e. majority of people).
Are we imagining Hannibal Lector has a better understanding of who ought to live and die than our government? What does that say about us – the schmucks who elected them?
We can point at the Victorians all we want and blame them for subculture and media culture obsessing with death, murder, and questionable relationships (looking at you, Opera Phantom Erik), but we’re tipping between anti-hero, bad boy, and just plan unhealthy.
Saddest part, I’m not sure everybody can tell the difference between those three anymore.