Search Box

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Naughty vs. evil

One thing I've noticed over time is that naughty people will say the wrong thing but usually do the right thing, whereas evil people will say the right thing but do the wrong thing.

Naughty types often likes to pose as bad, sometimes as a joke, sometimes because they're wannabe tough guys.

Evil people, on the other hand, seem to like to pose as noble, beneficent, and kind -- which is the opposite of what they really are.

All this is brought to mind by the recent case of Frank Incognito. At first he seemed like a stereotypical evil bully: he took pleasure in humiliating Jonathan Martin, to the point of driving him away from the Miami Dolphins. He had even threatened to gang rape Martin's sister.

Then it turned out that despite his use of the n-word, Incognito's black teammates, who considered him an "honorary brotha," refused to condemn him. And he and Martin had supposedly been friends, and Incognito had stuck up for him in several previous situations. At that point Incognito just looked like a dumb wigger who tried too hard.

But then I saw Incognito in an interview saying that everything he said to Martin "came from a place of love" -- which is exactly the kind of thing a sociopath would say. So I'm not sure what to think.

In any case, I've known a lot of nonsociopathic guys who liked to appear "badder" than they actually are. They may have prided themselves on their drinking ability, or bench press, or daredevil driving, or the number of girls they'd had. And they could be obstreperous, obnoxious, and even rude. But they weren't nasty by nature; they simply felt they had to live up to a certain macho standard.

This undoubtedly rings a bell; maybe you're even thinking, hey, that's most guys.

Now think of famous sociopaths, and the touchy-feely, compassionate image they often like to project.

Think of Bill Clinton saying, "I feel your pain."

Think of Karen Sypher going on and on about her devout Catholicism, her dying grandmother, and her misgivings about having had an abortion.

Think of Jack Kevorkian portraying himself as someone whose only motivation was allowing people to die with dignity.

Think of Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong foundation.

Think of Anna Benson saying, "I'm all about good, I'm all about love."

Think of all those murderous prison pen pals who talk about how empathetic and caring they are, and how much they love children and animals.

I've known one or two evil men who liked to pose as naughty to disguise the fact that they were truly evil. One Wall Street sociopath comes to mind. He would say something extremely insulting to someone, then turn away and wince, as if mortified by his own rudeness. But mortification was in fact not part of his emotional repertoire.

Still, for the most part, guys who like to pose as bad are not. And practically everyone who feels the need to appear compassionate and beneficent is the opposite.


Anonymous said...

But then I saw Incognito in an interview saying that everything he said to Martin "came from a place of love"
He's rumored to be fired after his suspension ends in a couple weeks, so he's in P.R. Mode. He can't exactly tell the truth: that Martin was a pussy and needed to be toughened up a little. Martin probably also has a "kick me" aura about him, so in an environment with ultra-competitive alpha males, the "abuse" will never end. It would be sad, if not for the fact that the "victim" is 6'5" and 300+ pounds of muscle who didn't know how to say "No" or "STFU" or "F Off", and really has no business being labelled a "victim". The way he seems to be structuring his psychiatric treatment and media reports to build the groundwork for multiple lawsuits leaves me with more antipathy than sympathy for him.
No question, though, Incognito is an asshole, but that's what the NFL is for: asshole gorillas. The world is better off if he's playing football, than working construction. If no team picks him up after the Dolphins fire him, he'd also make a great fake wrestler.

John Craig said...

Anon --
That's actually a good, balanced analysis. Good point about Incognito being in PR mode, and I hadn't realized that Martin was setting the groundwork for a lawsuit. (But of course, why else would he save all those phone messages and emails?) And now that Incognito is no longer incognito, I'm sure the WWE has a place for him. It would be fairly easy to write his scripts, as he's a natural bad guy.