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Mr. Perfect


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Mr. Perfect

asshat.jpg

Mr. Perfect

What would we have in common and why would I be interested in reading about him?

We have all met Mr. Perfect in literature. Perfect grades, perfect teeth, perfect family, perfect life.

What an perfect ass-hat. We have NOTHING in common. I'm hating this guy already.

He's one of those rich, preppy guys that have parties with their rich, preppy friends on their perfect yachts and their perfect mansions.

Where's an F-ing U-boat when you need one?

He looks like an Uber-crumbie & Fitch model: perfect washboard abs, perfect clothes, perfect car.

Now I'm planning on setting this a-hole on fire...

He has no weaknesses, is sweet as Jesus, has unearthly charisma and is loved by all.

Die, die, die!!!

His friends love him and would never betray him, nor would his lovers screw around on him because... he's just so perfect.

*Growls incoherently, falls out with stroke.*

Mr. Perfect does have enemies. They are always one dimensional slack-jawed yokels who just happen to be EVIL for no apparent reason. They are always stupid, short-sighted and overconfident and leave the scene in the back of a squad car.

*From the floor* go villians go! Aw Damnit!

Mr. Perfect may face jeopardy but you are always confident that he will prevail because he's just so perfect, has perfect friends and perfect support in his perfect world.

From the floor *Gack!* Slides clips into automatic pistols and chambers rounds*

Mr. Perfect is hung like a horse and ALWAYS gets the girl/boy friend, gets even f-ing richer and lives happily ever after.

*Gunfire breaks out, explosions, fire...*

Why do we hate Mr. Perfect? The reasons vary. He is the guy of our dreams that couldn't be bothered to fart in our general direction. He broke our hearts. He shacked up with us once when he was drunk and kept calling us Skip or Chip. Regardless of the reason: he's an asshole. He has to be because perfection just isn't natural.

Humans aren't perfect- a fact that at least one major world religion has exploited mercilessly for over 2000 years. Humans have braces, acne, bad breath and average tools. They have real world problems and lovers that screw around on them. They might get along with their parents or they might not because they are alcoholics, religious fanatics, just plain flakey bastards or all of the above.

Humans worry about money and making a living. They worry about their position and prestige in socirty, if any. They betray and are betrayed by the people that they hold dearest because that is their nature.

Humans worry about their career and success and failure and all the hues of the spectrum that lie in between. For Mr. Perfect, success is a forgone conclusion. For humans, it takes a great deal of effort, work and sacrifice and even then, they can fail in spectacular fashion.

Humans aren't invincible. They get hurt and sometimes a trip to the hospital can be their last. They get sick and die. They get depressed. They experience pain so intense that they blot it out with years of alcoholic or drug induced delerium. They get their hearts broken. Sometimes they never get over it. Sometimes they get so fed up they blow their brains out.

Humans have friends but they aren't magical. They can not read minds, alter fate or effect space-time. Friends are sometimes fickle, and change their loyalties when it suits them.

Humans drink, smoke and do dope despite the fact that it is bad for you. They also eat high chlesterol diets, drive at insane speeds and have sex like drunken bunnies. Why? BECAUSE THEY AREN'T F-ing PERFECT!

Humans do and say things exactly the oppisite of their core values, like the faimily values republican arreasted in a rest area for giving $20 blow jobs to truckers. Why? BECAUSE THEY AREN'T F-ing PERFECT!

Humans are worthless and weak and stupid and shallow. On average they live in a trailer park in Tennessee and have more fleas than their dog. They are also all that we as authors have as subject matter and we must embrace them as they are because they aren't perfect. Those very flaws give us room to create the drama that is the life blood of good writing.

I humbly submit that we need to forget Mr. Perfect and get to know some humans: warts, bad-breath, freckles and all because they are a MUCH more interesting than PERFECT people. Readers will actually relate to their humanity; flawed as it is because at the end of the day- none of us are perfect.

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One more thing when adding flaws to characters -- make them believable!

I can remember one story where the hero was an almost Mr. Perfect. He did have a flaw, but besides his perfection (he was a champion athlete at the international level in multiple sports), the flaw was minuscule and unbelievable.

When flaws exist, show them. It could be that the guy is a coward -- then make him a coward. Have him work to avoid confrontation. Don't have someone say he's a coward, and then spend the next six chapters showing a character who is anything but.

People have multiple flaws and virtues. They don't have just one, and it's is rarely simple. Take the coward. It may be that his love for his family will help him overcome his cowardice at times. Or maybe when he's sometimes pushed too far and fights back -- until he has a chance to think about what he's doing and then he runs away again. Something may be more important to him than being scared. It won't be easy, and he'll hesitate, but he just might do something courageous, given enough motivation.

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Recognising that perfect people exist only for isolated moments and then rarely completely, allows for the full gamut of character development in writing.

The danger of adopting an attitude that "perfect" does not exist, and therefore we should only concentrate of the imperfect, is in itself fraught.

Gratuitous descriptions of perfection in characters are as equally unacceptable as gratuitous descriptions of violence.

I have seen far too many movies and read far too many stories where the characters are flawed to an unforgivable degree. Like the opposite 'perfect' they amount to being unbelievable upon depth of examination.

The villain without redeeming feature is however, "fashionable". The "perfect" hero is not.

When the dark-side is portrayed without those redeeming features or without quantified reasons for the acts of violence and evil, then the story really has nothing to offer except to perpetuate the lie that humans are basically evil by nature.

Dramatic conflict is the core of any good story. In fact without conflict the story is dull, uninteresting and unforgivably boring.

Without redeeming qualities in flawed characters, the story is not worth the time or effort to read it.

Uncompromising flaws in a character are as unbelievable as unflawed perfection, and for me just as boring.

Now after all that, it should be possible to also see that many genres can and do have characters of the worst villainy as well as the purely heroic.

The more simplistic tales such as myth, fantasy and fairy tales may be entertaining reading for the moral message in such stories. The flawed and flawless characters in such stories are symbolic distillations of the more complicated "real" life human characteristics.

When a character is built around human susceptibilities and faced with various conflicting choices, the resulting actions will determine the nature of that individual, complete with a range of both perfect and imperfect character traits. How these are portrayed and developed in any given context determines their believability.

To the idea that humans are imperfect, shallow or even sinners is to state a kind of acceptance that these things are okay. When stories are not balanced with some kind of redemption or resolution of these flaws, then the writer runs the risk of being interpreted as advocating the flawed state of human existence as acceptable.

Truly great stories of insights into the human condition with all its imperfections and when confronted by the tragedies of life, invariably show a believable and justifiable sense of the human potential for good, that amounts to an affirmation of life and not its denial.

That it is not easy or, even an easy story to tell, is what makes it worthwhile.

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Des-

I think what we're talking about is a difference in world view. You see people as basically good while I see them as the scumbags that they really are.

When the dark-side is portrayed without those redeeming features or without quantified reasons for the acts of violence and evil, then the story really has nothing to offer except to perpetuate the lie that humans are basically evil by nature.

I actually do believe that humans are evil by nature and only do good for fear of punishment or consequences. Those people that are basically good are a pleasant statistical aberration.

All too often in literature we see the protagonist portrayed as pure as new fallen snow while his motives are never examined. His ego, his desires, his lusts are sacrosanct and held beyond examination.

E.G. The hero pulls over and helps someone stranded on the roadside. In how many stories is the mere fact that he pulled over to help told/shown/delivered and the impact of the roadside person in distress cute ass is completely ignored? :lol:

Nay dear Des from the enchanted Downunder- I seek not to bury heroes, merely to humanize them.

I seek not to make heroes so flawed that it is unbelievable.

I am just tired of the perfect paladin on a white horse without vice or fault. :lol:

Give the hero zits and freckles and I'll love him even more because I can relate to that guy; I can be that guy. Perfection, despite my many good qualities, is simply beyond my grasp. :wub:

James

:hehe::lol::hehe:

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Des-

I think what we're talking about is a difference in world view. You see people as basically good while I see them as the scumbags that they really are.

Yes, James I thought was the difference I saw, so I posted my opposing philosophic view purely as a balance. I think you know that no attack on you personally was intended.

When the dark-side is portrayed without those redeeming features or without quantified reasons for the acts of violence and evil, then the story really has nothing to offer except to perpetuate the lie that humans are basically evil by nature.

I actually do believe that humans are evil by nature and only do good for fear of punishment or consequences. Those people that are basically good are a pleasant statistical aberration.

Again this is something with which I basically disagree. "The evil that men do lives after them The good is oft interred with their bones." -Marc Antony, Shakespeare's' Julius Caesar.

It is quite possible to make a neutral case that humans are neither good or bad, but develop along paths that leads the individual toward one or the other, but never fully one way or the other. The propensity for individuals to act selfishly as opposed to developing selfless and loving maturity is affected by a number of environmental conditions and experiences.

All too often in literature we see the protagonist portrayed as pure as new fallen snow while his motives are never examined. His ego, his desires, his lusts are sacrosanct and held beyond examination.

E.G. The hero pulls over and helps someone stranded on the roadside. In how many stories is the mere fact that he pulled over to help told/shown/delivered and the impact of the roadside person in distress cute ass is completely ignored? :hehe:

Nay dear Des from the enchanted Downunder- I seek not to bury heroes, merely to humanize them.

I seek not to make heroes so flawed that it is unbelievable.

I am just tired of the perfect paladin on a white horse without vice or fault. :lol:

Give the hero zits and freckles and I'll love him even more because I can relate to that guy; I can be that guy. Perfection, despite my many good qualities, is simply beyond my grasp. :lol:

James

These are points with which I do not disagree. Where we differ is how we arrive at them.

I cannot allow myself to ignore all the evidence I see that evil is the aberration. Evil occurs in the absence of good. It makes no sense to believe that only evil exists. Goodness occurs despite evil.

For me, to humanize a character is to show that despite the warts and all, there is an underlying goodness inherent or achievable in each of us.

James, I am not defending "perfect" characters. Except as I point out in those forms of fantasy and myth, I probably find them as sickening as you. I wanted to draw attention to those stories that only show the darkside as insurmountable. They are detrimental to our potential to realise and do good.

I make that statement not from the point of view that evil is the norm, however, but that we have the inherent ability for goodness despite those moments that appear as bad.

There are many obstacles in life, believing that we are all evil is one of them.

:hehe:

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There are many obstacles in life, believing that we are all evil is one of them.

I agree.

There is a median line that's easy to walk: have faith in people until that faith is broken. Often it's not.

People aren't good, they aren't bad, they are just people.

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....have faith in people until that faith is broken. Often it's not.

Usually, I must point out, it is. Which is why I err on the side of caution. As a rule in the general population, PEOPLE SUCK. Some groups buck the average (for example the AD community attracts a better group -- especially if you don't count rodents).

People aren't good, they aren't bad, they are just people.

Yes, that is true. You're using that to support your position and I consider it an indictment.

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As a rule in the general population, PEOPLE SUCK. Some groups buck the average (for example the AD community attracts a better group -- especially if you don't count rodents).

Eh, it ain't all that bad. I think eventually, people do the right thing. Hell, Bush's approval rate is below 35%, so that must tell you something.

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Pecman: Bush's approval rate is below 35%, so that must tell you something.

It is also revealing to consider that his approval ratings were once almost 80% and about the pre-invasion of Iraq near 75%.

40% don't want to take responsibility for the mistakes that they've made.

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Eh, it ain't all that bad. I think eventually, people do the right thing. Hell, Bush's approval rate is below 35%, so that must tell you something.

Yes 35% of the population (4 out of 10 people) sucks. 302,577,797 is the population of the USA today according to the US Census Bureau. That means in the US alone there are presently 105,902,228 people who think Bush is doing a good job. People suck.

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Yes 35% of the population (4 out of 10 people) sucks.

Yeah, but even by your own figures, 65% of them don't suck (or at least, don't suck as badly). The glass is 2/3 full.

And I speak as somebody who never voted for Bush. The only president I ever voted for in 34 years who won was Clinton, and I'd vote for him again if he ran. Bush is far worse than even I ever expected him to be. Hell, I thought Reagan was bad in the 1980s (particularly for gays), but Reagan was a prince compared to Bush Junior.

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Reagan was also bad for funding for the Arts. But he was also instrumental in getting the country out of the general malaise Carter had allowed us to fall into through a regrettable lack of leadership. Reagan had pluses and minuses. Bush, on the other hand, seems to have zero pluses and a whole lot of minues, including a lot of dead American kids who have sacrificed for no discernable reason, as far as I can see. He has an awful lot to answer for.

C

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