"To those who dare ask why I behave as I do, I say: With my memories, I can do nothing else."
—Leto Atreides II, God Emperor of Dune.
They used to call him nigger boy
When he was but a tike
So he grew up to be
An angry young man.
They said: "Run now nigger boy!"
At football games in highschool
He grew up to be
An angry young man.
If they'd called him a brother
or a neighbor or a cousin
Then the world would be less
one angry young man,
but they called him little nigger boy
When he was but a tike
So he grew up to be
An angry young man
—Les Claypool, "Ding Dang"
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
(He's just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this monstrosity)
—Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
It's not his fault that he can't behave
Society's made him go astray
Perhaps if we're nice he'll go away...
"This world may have failed you
They fuck you up, your mum and dad;
They might not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
And add some extra, just for you.
—Philip Larkin, "This Be The Verse"
I was born in the rotten part of the town
The biggest trap I've seen
Wherever you'll go and wherever you'll get to
Evil is all around
My mother's a bitch, my father's a killer
Gettin' paid for a murder
Fightin' and strugglin' the whole day
The only way to survive
Wanted from law but they'll never catch me
I'd much rather die in this bloody war
— Helloween, "Victim of Fate"
My daddy is a bastard
My ma's an SOB
My grandad's always plastered
My granny pushes tea
My sister wears a moustache
My brother wears a dress
Goodness gracious, that's why I'm a mess!
In order to realistically portray such a comfort zone, then, try creating a reason why the character has whatever emotional response you are giving him. The single best way to do this is through childhood experience
Wherever an inferiority complex exists, there is a good reason for it.
— Carl Jung
"My heart bleeds for him, as a child. Someone took a kid and manufactured a monster. At the same time, as an adult, he’s irredeemable. As an adult, someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks."
—Will Graham, Red Dragon
You wanna know how I got these scars? My father was a drinker, and a fiend. One night, he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit. He takes the knife to her, laughing as he does it. Then he turns to me, and says "Why... so... serious?" He comes at me with the knife. "Why... so... serious?" He sticks the knife in my mouth. "Let's put a smile on that face!" And... why so serious?
Nothing made him that way. No matter what terrible things happened in his life, no matter what dreadful hungers rose up from his soul, he chose to act on those desires, he chose to do the things he did. He's responsible for his own actions, and no one else.
"It doesn't justify it... but it might explain it."
— Detective Olivia Benson, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
"It's not my fault that I'm so evil, it's society, society. You see, my parents were sometimes abusive and it made a prick of me."
Spike: The tingling in my forearms tells me she's too far gone to help. She's one of us now. She's a monster.
Angel: She's an innocent victim.
Spike: So were we, once upon a time.
"No. Please. I had a terrible childhood."
"All assassins are fucked up somehow, or we wouldn't be in this profession."
—Travis Touchdown, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
"I'm often asked why my behaviour is so crooked now, but it's a lot clearer when you see what manky loins I sprang from. 'Man hands on misery to man', y'know. Actually, 'This Be The Verse' would have made a killer song. Unfortunately Philip Larkin never got around to writing 'This Be The Chorus', which is essential for chart success. And it has to come on in the first forty-five seconds or Radio 1 won't play it."
- Murdoc Niccals, Gorillaz: "Rise of the Ogre"
"I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no, don't... say, 'Well that's your fault,' because it isn't, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no. No no no don't let the weird-looking Eric KID come along."
— Eric Harris, before committing the Columbine High School Massacre with Dylan Klebold
"I grew up in a wild hood, as a hazardous youth
with a fucked up childhood, that I used as an excuse"
— Eminem, "Bad Influence"
"What else could I have been? My father was a half-crazed military failure, my mother was a bitch-queen from hell. Yes, I admit I'm nothing. But from what I started with, nothing is up."
— Arnold Rimmer, Red Dwarf
"I'm depraved on account of I'm deprived!"
— West Side Story, "Gee, Officer Krupke"
"My country lay within a vast desert. When the sun rose into the sky a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came the wind carried the same thing... Death. But the winds that blew across the green fields of Hyrule brought something other than suffering and ruin. I... coveted that wind, I suppose."
—Ganondorf, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Pit: Why are you doing this?!
Pyrrhon: Why?! I'll tell you why! Everyone knows who Palutena is. Everyone knows who Viridi is. Everyone even knows who Hades is!. But what about me, huh? Does anyone even recognize me? Anyone worship me? Anyone even acknowledge me?! No. Well, that's all about to change. Now it's Pyrrhon's time to shine! I'll make everyone remember me! Even if I've gotta carve my name into the very fabric of this planet!
Why do you treat me this way?
And why do you try so hard to break my spirit?
I think someone was mean to you,
When you were little,
That's what I think
I think someone was mean to you
— The Mountain Goats, Pseudothryum Song
"You're crazy. That's not the way to deal with it. That's not the way I'm going to deal with it!"
"I am not crazy! This is a perfectly sane and rational response to my traumatic experiences. And if you don't believe me... I'll kill you!"
—Becky Albright and the Scarecrow
You'd think it was because my parents didn't love me, but actually, they loved me a great deal.
—Raj, The Big Bang Theory
"Backstory! Backstory! Backstory! The backstory is what drives an evil scientist. It is the 'Why does he do what he does?' of the 'What does he do?'"
—Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb
Announcer: Lord Darkar. The malevolent ruler of the UnderRealm. What makes him so evil?
Bloom: I think he's just misunderstood.
Lord Darkar: There's no misunderstanding. It's just... I'm pure evil!
Stella: I think what Darkar needs is a girlfriend!
Lord Darkar: Ok, first of all, I have a girlfriend, but she lives far away. And second, I'm EVIL!
— Winx Club, Lord Darkar advertisement
"I'm sorry, I had a difficult childhood!"
The Beyond Birthday case made so much more sense now, BB wasn't a megalomaniac he was L's spurned and neglected lover. Clearly the jam was just the aftershock of being forced into sex with someone that looked vaguely like a crack head. And she had prevented him from burning himself alive, if she had to have sex with L she might have tried to burn herself alive too. Naomi noted to herself that perhaps it was a good time to go to L.A.'s prison and apologize to that poor madman.
"Baxter, I have been trying to get back at my father, but I think I've a good reason for it. Dad's a prick."
"Why did you beat me so hard?"
—Joseph Stalin to his mother in her later years. (Her response was "That's why you turned out so well.")
Chris: …and then Lionel lies to his son about where Clark was while the holding facility was being blown up and then literally tells his son that there are dozens of people in the world that are out to get him. PARENTING!
David: AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY LEX IS AN ASSHOLE. SERIOUSLY.
Chris: Isn’t there something we read about how Ollie used to bully him at school, too?
David: Yeah, and he was really bullying and dismissive towards Lex in this episode as well for basically no reason. He’s had an absolutely terrible life, and superheroes have constantly been picking on him basically for no reason.
And I've looked at it from your side
and I've looked at it from mine
and I know you had a hard time, when you were only nine
but that was long ago, and now there's just no denyin'
you're an asshole.
— Jim's Big Ego, "Asshole"