Main Historical Villain Upgrade Discussion

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04:49:47 PM Oct 19th 2013
edited by
Should the blog posts of Stephen Lendman qualify for this trope? I'm asking because it's view on politics quite literally exemplify this. He portrays the entire United States and it's allies as a bunch of Always Chaotic Evil Omnicidal Maniac out to quite literally, destroy the entire frakking world For the Evulz. Also he gives repeated blatent glorification of Putin that quite literally borders on Draco in Leather Pants. We already have Latuff on this page for some reason so why not Lendman?

Let's consider what he says about Obama:

He(Obama) risks WW III. He cares only about advancing America's imperium. Mass killing and destruction are small prices to pay. So is risking humanity's annihilation.

On American Governance:

It's corporatist, soulless, lawless, belligerent, and repressive. It's a hair's breath from tyranny. Don't explain media scoundrels to explain.

While these viewpoints have appeared in views critical of US foreign policy, and I admit to being a critic of US foreign policy, US politics and the two party system in General—many of Lendman's worldviews take it Up to 11 and is written with an over-the-top Black and White Insanity plus little sense of geopolitics. On the other hand, it wasn't always that way and many of his earlier entries had a point and made sense—but at one point he went insane.

tl;dr: He makes actual critics of US foreign policy look bad.
08:19:39 AM Sep 13th 2013
Removed this example for discussion. Apart from the natter, which could be fixed, it raises the question whether Dracula the vampire is in any meaningful way supposed to be identical to Vlad Dracula a.k.a. Vlad Tepes, ruler of Wallakhia. Stoker played around with the idea that his Count Dracula could be famous Vlad Dracula, but:
  • Dracula's former identity as a human is not cleared up and hardly ever discussed in the novel. His character simply doesn't have a backstory.
  • Certain bits of information given about Count Dracula in the book would actually contradict his identity with the historical Vlad Tepes (Stoker probably didn't even notice this, because he didn't care).
  • The plot of Dracula and Count Dracula's villainous pursuits have no relation to the career or actions of the historical Vlad Dracula at all.
In a nutshell, Stoker only dubbed his vampire villain "Dracula" because he needed a name that sounded both cool and appropriate for an aristocrat from South-Eastern Europe. It's not in any way a historical novel about Vlad Dracula. Filing Dracula as a Historical Villain Upgrade feels like shoehorning.
  • Vlad Tepes aka Dracula was a particularly ruthless warrior-prince remembered for impaling his Turkish enemies as psychological warfare. Today, however, he's far better known for being the inspiration for Bram Stoker's vampire villain, a supernatural monster of pure evil. Colored by that impression, public perception of the actual historical figure in some circles often amounts to little more than an evil overlord.
    • This was happening centuries before Dracula, and possibly even within Vlad's own lifetime. Lurid pamphlets describing his atrocities published in the late fifteenth century, just after the invention of the printing press, became some of the first "best sellers" in publishing history, but it's hard to credit them with a great deal of accuracy.
    • The thing is, Vlad may have been a cruel despot, but his "kingdom" (if you could call it that) was only half the size of present-day Romania, and his reign lasted all of five years. In fact, many of Wallachia's other rulers were just as bad as he was, and many were even worse. He wasn't a very competent military leader, and was, in fact, only one of an alliance of leaders who opposed the Turks (whose empire lasted much longer than they did). The biggest reason for his notoriety was the fact that his reign coincided with the invention of the printing press, making his atrocities well-known because they were reported to the rest of the civilized world, making him, in effect, the first tyrant to get bad press from the media.
08:51:15 AM Sep 13th 2013
Good point. Also, it seems like with the exception of Anno Dracula and sort of with The Historian (in which Vlad becomes a vampire but isn't Dracula), works which have Dracula as Vlad usually present Vlad in a sympathetic light (i.e. Bram Stoker's Dracula) that would probably be a Historical Hero Upgrade.
06:42:55 AM Sep 21st 2013
Right. I don't even think the original poster of the example was right in calling Stoker's Dracula "pure evil". He is evil, but he also has a tragic side. It reads like the contributor already had to struggle to make the example fit.
05:54:11 AM Nov 17th 2012
Cut out some Natter. For posterity's sake, here were the original paragraphs. I don't know which one's actually right, so I'm putting both up.

  • Done with President Martin Van Buren in Amistad. Although in reality he was almost an abolitionist, in the film he's a weak-willed coward who simply bows to political pressure.
    • Van Buren later ran on a quasi-abolitionist ticket, but during his presidency he was in fact pretty beholden to the south - no anti-slavery tendencies really emerged until much later, and even then it is dubious that they represented much more than political expediency - by running as a Free Soil candidate he was able to prevent his hated intra-party rival from winning. Perhaps the movie exaggerates somewhat, but it's not right to call Van Buren an anti-slavery president, much less "almost an abolitionist."
09:11:56 PM May 23rd 2012
One of the Paragraphs on the Persian effectively gives an historical Villain Upgrade to Alexander The Great. Despite being Persia's Conqueror Alexander himself would by quite offended by this vilification of Persia, he admired Cyrus and made a deliberate effort to continue the very some Persian Multiculturalism being praised here. In fact much of the Hate he latter got from his own people was for his personal adopting of Persian customs, and encourage Intermarriages between Greeks and Persians.

He only ever Burned down 3 cities, for 2 we have explicit historical references to him regretting that decision.
08:49:24 PM May 23rd 2012
Caligula qualifies, especially since I,Claudius and A.D> ignore his progression to madness and treat him as a Damien child. I, Claudius is either a Hero or Villain upgrade for just about everyone, not just the title character and Livia.

I think people deleting entries for that this doesn't mean the person upgraded as actually Good Guy, hence even Hitler counting.
11:19:04 AM Mar 22nd 2011
Why the hell is this YMMV?
09:12:42 PM Apr 19th 2011
Yeah, what gives? This seems pretty indisputable: fictional representations exaggerating the negative aspects of historical figures isn't something that counts as an 'opinion'. It's one thing if a work is calling the figure as they actually were a Complete Monster, but that's not this trope.
03:03:32 PM Mar 19th 2013
Yeah, this seems like a pretty factual trope to me.
04:29:22 PM Oct 4th 2013
I think it's because YMMV items are subjective, because otherwise it would devolve into Natter
06:20:44 PM Dec 13th 2013
^ It's not subjective though, because it requires explicit factual inaccuracy.
06:53:46 AM Dec 14th 2013
... It's not a YMMV trope.
09:56:23 PM Jan 18th 2011
Why was Caligula deleted? He's the Trope Namer of The Caligula, and he fits this Trope perfectly. I didn't see any discussion here or reasons on the Page History. What gives?
07:20:57 AM Jan 8th 2011
Anglo-Saxons/King Arthur: "And if you're English you'll want to use one of the Anglo-Saxon bastards against the brave and heroic King Arthur." I know it's supposed to be ironic... Yet I have to clarify for those that might misunderstand... King Arthur was Welsh/Cornish; the Anglo-Saxons are the English(England = Engla Land, or Angle Land).
12:28:37 AM Sep 12th 2010
tussl12: Mao Zedong. Before someone flames me for being a maoist, I'm specifically referring to Mao:the Unknown Story by Chang and Halliday. Yes, Mao wasn't a nice guy, but this biography is not only the largest selling biography on Mao (by a long shot), academically it is considered crap. Anyway, should this be included or would it start a flame war?
03:04:10 PM Mar 19th 2013
Is it regarded as crap because it portrays Mao as worse than he was?
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