Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Is there such a thing as pure evil in a person? As this article points out, the answer is no. Even the most violent personalities can have likable human qualities. This highlights the dangers of demonizing others, something PR shouldn't do, but which happens. Blackening another's name can set up cognitive dissonance when a bad person proves magnetic and warm. What does this mean? Hitler, by many accounts, had charm and liked children and dogs. Those who fell under his spell idolized him. So too, Stalin and Mao. All three are the worst mass murderers in history. If one portrays them as monsters dripping blood from every tooth, the picture is wrong and indefensible. Rather, one should assert the facts of their evil deeds and let the reader or viewer decide how to portray them. That is difficult enough. Stalin was known as "Uncle Joe" in the West at the time of his greatest terrors. He benefited from Soviet propaganda and wasn't called to account. Had the public known that "Uncle Joe" had consigned millions to gulags, they might have regarded him as pure evil, but there was still a human lurking there somewhere in his cynical, paranoid mind. One should depict that without flinching from the truth.