Some people are theme party sort of people. These people have an extensive wardrobe, a box of props, and always, always own at least one hot pink feather boa. Their walk-in closets look sort of like that warehouse the Royal Shakespeare Company keeps all its costumes in. They plan Halloween in March. And for the record, I am not one of these people. It's not because I don't enjoy the dress up, but there was this incident once at a pimp and ho party that spilled over into my house and, well, it ended up with me burning my bedspread. Let's just say I'm not getting much use out of my orange valour hat these days. It's for the greater good.
But I'm going to a 17th Annual Procrastinator's New Year's Party this weekend and the theme happens to be Superheroes and Supervillains and I'm sitting here trying to come up with a truly inspired costume and I got to thinking: has there ever been a real supervillain?
Sure, we've had some villains that one might call super: Hitler springs to mind, as do Pol Pot, Stalin, and that guy who created the Wiggles. But what I'm talking about is the guy who's really out for world domination, who has a super weapon, who's willing to blow up a small Caribbean island to get his point across. A comic-book style, James Bond flavored sort of villain, in other words.
And you know what? I don't think any have ever existed. The closest we can get are dictators and mad scientists, but the former are just depressing while the latter are largely fictional (although Isaac Newton was supposedly fairly loopy with mercury poisoning for a while, so: honorable mention). I guess there's always Ken Lay, but he never looked good in Spandex.
(For that matter: henchman. What's never been properly explained to me is why henchmen actually exist in fiction. What benefits are there to henchman-ery? A good dental plan? A reasonable 401K? Essentially, a henchman is just a hanger-on, right, hoping that this whole world-domination thing goes juuuuust right and they get to be the Duke of Bakersfield? I'm confused by this. I'm going to stop talking about this at the risk of sounding like Seinfeld. Thank you for your time.)
What's the moral here? Well, I've got no costume and I've got no historical figure to draw inspiration from. But at least I've realized there's never been a real life Skeletor and that, somehow, is strangely comforting.