I never understood the fascination with bad boys. I mean, I live for a leather jacket and a condescending smirk. The ability to justly punch someone in the face can be admirable although I prefer a man who can destroy his opponents intellectually. But letting a person get away with terrible things just because he/she (let’s face it, it’s mostly a he) is good at something like solving crimes, writing books, running a country or smiling irresistibly is not fair by any stretch. Oh, you’re the greatest scarf knitter in the country? That is not an excuse for talking down to your mother. You stopped world hunger, did you? Please still wipe the toilet seat after yourself. You are the most skilled football player that’s ever lived? YOU’RE STILL NOT ABOVE THE LAW OR THE MORAL.
And while all of this seems pretty obvious, we’re still somehow mesmerized by the charming monsters all the time. Take Sherlock, for example. A dangerous psychopath who is harmful to himself and those around him. A man who amassed a devoted following, but never as much as thanked any of his helpful friends. Guys, even Conan Doyle hated Sherlock, that’s why he gave him many unattractive habits and addictions, and eventually killed him. Of course, he had to resurrect Sherlock after the queen (!!) pretty much ordered him to do that. The queen fell for this bad boy!
But Sherlock had some glimpses of human decency. There’s one unforgivable asshole I love to hate – it’s Karlsson. You know, from Astrid Lingren’s book. Lingren wrote some of my favourite children’s books: Pippi Longstocking is my hero, Ronia is a badass chick, Mio, my Mio made me cry and Brothers Lionheart were my religion. And although many of them had annoying features (we all do), they were generally nice, and they were kids! But Karlsson is a grown man who has nothing better to do than build up a lonely kid’s expectations and then crush them mercilessly. Oh, but he can fly. He doesn’t often take the kid flying, but the kid knows there’s a slim possibility. If this isn’t the epitome of an abusive relationship with a manipulative psychopath, I don’t know what is.
There are many other examples of deceivingly attractive characters with a blown up sense of entitlement: think Dr. House, Henry VIII, Garfield, James Bond, Walter White, Tony Stark, the guy from Cortazar’s Hopscotch, Kanye… I guess what I’m trying to say is, it is undoubtedly easier to be a Karlsson or a SATC Mr. Big (don’t get me started on him) than a Little Prince or a Frodo. But what do we know about the easier way?
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