Ask Dr. Sinisterion: To Hench, or not to Hench?
(Because of the holidays, I’m a bit behind in my work, and that cuts into my blogging. Luckily, my brilliant and infinitely talented guest blogger (whose hand never shakes a bit when holding a destruct-o-ray gun on the person transcribing what he dictates) has once again come to the rescue. Here is his weekly dose of insights about the world from a decidedly and distinctly unique point of view. Please join me in welcoming Doctor Sinisterion.—Mike Stackpole)
Doctor Sinisterion (D. D.), is the author of the recent book If I Was A Supervillain. Having retired after a long career as a spiritual consultant and entrepreneur, he took time to study many of the great criminal enterprises of our time, and offers his critique of them in his book. Critics have suggested the book is merely an exercise in revisionist history. He scoffs at his critics and happily dances on their mass graves. He has recently undertaken a new line of work: he is now a life coach for those in the costumed trade.
Dear Dr Sinisterion, What would you consider the main benefits to being a henchman rather than a sidekick, besides the obvious ‘Evil has more fun’?
Had It With Haloes
Quite the astute question, one which shows you have potential which could bring you into the red zone, if you wish to pursue your career on the other side of the street, as it were. Historically sidekicks who have crossed over do well until that unwarranted but inevitable confrontation with their mentor, which seldom turns out well for the sidekick. I would wholly advise against such a confrontation.
First, you must understand that henchmen (the term “henchperson” just never having caught on) is merely one of a myriad of classifications for underlings. Most scholars use the classic Doom-Al-Ghul taxonomy, which I find decidedly cumbersome and limited by certain preconceptions and idiosyncrasies of the authors. Thus I have my own classification system, and have supplied the chart below for your edification.
Underlings must be grouped first by their entry vector, which will be either Ideological or Materialistic. As you can see, henchman is entry-level on the Materialistic side of things. While most supervillains tend to tap only one side or the other, I’ve always recommended developing both wings simultaneously. A coterie of cultists is always useful for wiping out minions who want to unionize; and a professional group of mercenaries and assassins can heal a schism when some pesky prophecy or other fails to come true.
It is then from these entry-level positions that a supervillain will harvest, promote and initiate individuals into the higher ranks of the organization. If you will, positions below the green line on the chart are management. You, being a seasoned sidekick, would enter here, though likely would undergo a stringent vetting process, given your resume. One can never be too careful.
A supervillain is required to share more information and more loot with management, all the while testing them mercilessly so as to catch out any traitors which might have infiltrated the organization. It is also useful, if you sense someone in management is getting too big for their spandex, to set them up with their own organization on some “secret project.” You can dump all your malcontents on them, give them crappy equipment, and use them and their incompetent operation as bait for your archenemy. He destroys it, gets cocky, and will likely fall for any ambush you set up thereafter.
One cautionary note about the individuals who fall beneath the red line. These people will betray you at some point or other. This is especially true if they are a lover, since they will always want more intimacy with you than you can deliver. They seldom understand that Universal Domination is a full time job. Likewise, children can have their affections alienated rather easily, and killing them is always such a waste of genetic potential. Always be careful with these people, for their knife, metaphorically speaking, is aimed at your back.
As you suggest, Haloes, evil can be more fun; but not because it involves hurting people. Evil is only evil because it has been defined that way by individuals who are, by their very actions, being evil. They see evil as the ultimate in selfishness. Ironically they claim virtue in their being the arbiters of what selfishness is and is not—that being a rather selfish usurpation of power and used to greedily preserve their status among the virtuous.
They will suggest that the willingness to sacrifice yourself for others is the height of selflessness—the very antithesis of evil. They will claim this is doing a good deed for all of mankind, but let us examine that idea. If you know that you are a superior being, a pinnacle of evolution; how is your destruction going to elevate mankind? It won’t. For a superior individual to sacrifice himself is, in fact, incredibly selfish since he is reserving his genius to himself, refusing to share it with anyone else, from that point forward.
Thus, hedonism is, in fact, a virtue. Only through full self-exploration and by rewarding yourself for your continued superior existence do you have a reason to continue living and reaching your full potential. Thus what they define as evil is actually utterly unselfish since it allows you to continue sharing yourself with the world. And in that prospect there is true joy.
So, one can continue, selfishly, to deny pleasure to others, basking in the praises of professional repressors who wish you to deny your true human nature; or one can join the ranks of the truly liberated who will lead mankind into the future. And though it might seem that being “good” is the smart play, remember that your allies are quick to judge and will fall upon you like a pack of hungry piranha should you ever make a mistake; whereas the truly liberated will welcome you with open arms.
And, we have cookies.
￼In Hero Years… I’m Dead comes in two editions. The basic edition costs $5 and contains just the novel. the Deluxe Edition includes a long essay about the process of the writing and the genesis of the ideas. These two links will take you to my store where you can buy the epub format which works on Sony readers, the iPad and the Nook.