Thursday, August 12, 2010
If you can't play nice, I'd probably like to play with you. Wickedness has a powerful allure for me. Not evil--which I associate with the cool, passionless cruelties of the righteous and the powerful: multinational corporations that destroy ecosystems and economies, judicial systems that follow the letter of the law to deprive individuals and whole groups of people of their natural rights, bureaucrats who plead that they are "just following orders" when they enact patently heinous policies--all that "banality of evil" business.
But wickedness. Now there's an idea. Anything but banal. There's mischief and energy in wickedness. Unlike evildoers, the wicked look like they're having fun, not just doing their duty, turning a profit, and pleasing their lord. To my way of thinking, wickedness has an aesthetic quality that distinguishes it from evil. R.P. McMurphy is wicked; Nurse Ratched is evil. Flirting is wicked, while teasing is evil--when you flirt you share something, if only a bit of winking attention, but when you tease you only assert your control of the situation. Wickedness is the rejection of social niceties, the innocuous, efficient, and decent facades that often cover all kinds of malice and ineptitude. But wickedness is flagrant--zesty!--self-indulgent--and, sure, sometimes destructive, but seldom dire.
Heels are fun. Nobody takes them too seriously, and they're sometimes even cute, blurting out stuff they shouldn't, running away from fights, stuffing their sleeves with more tricks than Wile E. Coyote. And it's fun to watch them catch their comeuppances at the end, sent home with their tails between their legs until they connive on a brand new strategy and strut back out to the ring to dish up more reckless (but hardly ever serious) unruliness. (See the mayhem on YouTube at DigitalTuxedo.)