Follow TV Tropes
I think people forget that Freudian Excuse's purpose isn't always "make us feel bad for the villain" and more often also "humanize the villain"/make them more believable/real feeling.
I mean, quite often, like with the grifters and some neo-nazis in real life, it tends to provoke less understanding and more of futher loathing of that guy, since their reasoning and the events, which led them down the "dark" path, is sometimes less tragedy or some painful experience, and more something so petty, self-absorbing and pathetic, you honestly can't fell sorry for them (like grifters (people like Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro, the entire Info Wars channel and ec.) desire to make money through racist conspiracy theories and political parties desire to maintain their place in the government by appealing to the neo-nazi and fascist movements to make them vote for them and ec.).
Guillermo del Toro did something similiar, by using pure evil villains Freudian Excuse to make audience hate them more, rather than feel sorry for (Captain Vidal from Pan's Labyrinth for example)
I will say that a far-right coded villain(and by that I mean KKK or Nazi down to the ideological formula) is easily to be made more hatable or driven by the least excusable impulses due to the ideological basis of racial/cultural supremacy and ruling over(or destroying) the "weak" behind Fascism. Obviously exceptions exist(ie: a couple of gundam villains and a couple of Imperial characters in the Star Wars expanded universe: Paelleon and Kallus being the big ones from legends and canon respectively) but it's much easier to write a hate sink or pure evil far right villain.
A far-left coded villain is considerably harder as the basis for socialist ideologies is arguably rooted in benefitting the majority of people even if it didn't pan out as such in practice, and there is a arguement that a lot of the reasons behind the way modern tankies act is tied to the failure of less authoritarian socialist projects their forebearers initially got behind leading ultimately to increasing authoritarianism and a extremely dim type 2 view of Eagleland and western history vs. Marx's more optimistic view of the potential for western society for socialism when he was alive, albeit not too unfounded due to the horrors of colonialism and racism, combined with their unconditional sympathy for any government in the third world arrayed against the west.
While it's easy to write this sort of character as a hate sink, it's harder to write a "tankie" as pure evil unless it's horrific opportunistic regime personnel in communist governments or genuine psychos.
Of course we have the Caleb Maupin types and the unironic "Nazbol"/Totalist/Ordosocialist types on the "left" that's an exception to the above rule...but they're a different story altogether.
Villains that don't have some sort of political parallel outside of pure applicability? Can go either way unless they're deliberately written as vile or hateful and alternate character interpretation can play a good part here.
Edited by xie323 on Jul 20th 2021 at 12:05:54 PM
With far-right and far-left villains usually I'd say the issue is that we tend to compare Stalin and Hitler, which I don't think is a fair comparison. The leftist equivalent of Hitler would be someone more like Pol Pot.
The rightist equivalent of Stalin would be someone like Bioshock's Andrew Ryan.
Id say a Trotsky-esque figure is a better comparison to Ryan if you look at the far left. Ryan was from what I recall a unflinching ideologue. Stalin was actually pragmatic policy wise despite his brutality.
Edited by xie323 on Jul 20th 2021 at 1:26:32 AM
I think saying Stalin is pragmatic is stretching the word beyond all measure.
As someone who live in a country rule by a far left regime i heavy dispute the idea is dificult to create hate sink because the actual president here is pretty much one and I will said is not diferent than trump in many way: heavy antintelectualism, machismo, pettiness against everyone who is not them, they are mirror match of each other really.
In general there is sense that because communism deal with injustice and what to do thing better for anyone make it dificult to hate often ignore comunism somewhat problematic nature in their discourse, namely their arrogance when it come with their own position, is love-hate relationship with violence as means to do good, their somewhat reductive and maniquetic view of good and evil and so own, there is a reason many comunism regmime were staff by military junta backed by vast and bloated burecracy in the first place.
In my experience as latin america I find many "westerns"(I hate that term because I feel it excluse latin america in general), often engage in a sort of romantized of my country, ether painting chavez as good guy turn bad(ignoring he enter the political theater by traying a damn coup), often pulling a bothsiding bringing US or whatever and finally that separation of "is good in theory but bad in pratice" that at times feel be use more to protect one political ideology from scrutiny that actually saying something worthwive about it.
In general isnt that dificult to make far left villian hateble not more that you can make a christian villian hateble even when cristianity emphasis in peace and love.
Oh creating a CM or a plain hate sink character that's a personnel in a "left leaning"/"Communist" regime or government is entirely feasible.
Creating a pure evil character that's bascically a allegory for "western tankies" on the other hand is a significantly harder.
Edited by xie323 on Jul 20th 2021 at 7:29:10 AM
Define tankies, if you means progresive as whole I will said yeah, they are easier to be show as purely good, if somewhat naive at times, if you talk about western tankies I will said is easy since many of them care very little about comunism crimes and are dismisive of them.
What is hard is to do is make tankies to act like neo nazis, at worst of it tankies just grumpble and show warm suport for comunism regime because they want to remove people foe whatever idea they have, but rarely they engage in insurgency and terorism as neo nazis does, probably because they know sociaty and goverment dosent give them the same breath and double standar as they do to right wing forces it, when that happen you can see here in venezuela or peru.
You can't really make western tankies as bad as Nazis since Nazis are pretty much the worst. That said, "better than actual Nazis" isn't exactly a high bar to clear.
I feel like if you support authoritarian dictatorships against fascists, you've completely missed the point.
I will said western tankies at the worst are like ben shapiro and many libettarian-to-facist pipeline, because neo nazis as guy who punch other and comit hate crime dosent have that equivalent in western countries unless the goverment suport them like tupamaros does here in venezuela.
I guess that a non fascist authoritarian dictatorship is seen as the lesser evil compared to fascists. Doesn't help that the notion of benevolent dictatorships also exist. Kemal Attaturk is seen as a popular example of one I believe. Enough atleast that one defence for Subhas Chandra Bose's belief that India wasn't ready for a democracy and desire for a 20 year dictatorship is that he wanted a kemalistic autocracy instead of fascist one (which I am inclined to believe even though the guy wanted a synthesis of fascism and socialism since given how inclusive the Azad Hind Fauj was to my knowledge, it wasn't the exclusionary aspects that he loved and added with his love for the military discipline aspect he most likely just fell for the "fascism is efficient" myth)
Edited by xyzt on Jul 21st 2021 at 5:19:58 PM
The one way you can make a western tankie a very hateable figure is if you emphasize the Black-and-White Insanity aspect of the tankie with a dose of Knight Templar and I Reject Your Reality and put them in the context of the people he or she is supposedly "helping" while the heroes of the region have to deal with their nonsense.
Think of it as another extension of the White Man's Burden, same arrogance, same unilateralism, only wrapped around socialist/communist ideology instead of imperalist propaganda.
Did Attaturk continue the state policy of repressing the Armenian, Kurdish and Greek minorities in favour of the Turkish majority?
Edited by raziel365 on Jul 21st 2021 at 10:15:42 AM
For one thing, the Surname Law basically forced non-Turks to either change or "Turkify" their surnames.
Edited by DrunkenNordmann on Jul 21st 2021 at 9:24:23 PM
I think people underestimate how deluded Western Tankies can get, there's a reason they're at times called 'Red Fascists' in some Leftist circles, since they operate in the same realm of deluded reality. Plus, they both really like to do apologisms for authoritarian regimes and deny the existances of genocides made by said regimes.
Something bad happens in a so-called 'communist' country? The Americans did it, of course, couldn't possibly be systemic issues within the actual country. The Hong Kong protests of 2019 are a good example of how deluded Tankies can get when defending nations like China.
Despite being a leftist myself, I don't trust anyone that calls themselves a 'Marxist-Leninist', it's the biggest red flag (heh) possible.
Edited by Makir on Jul 21st 2021 at 11:29:39 AM
Yeah, there is a reason why the stereotype of the white, priviliged college kid liberal is even a thing.
With revolutionary villains I'd tend to emphasize their tendency to invoke You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and collateral damage.
On a bit of a sidenote, I'd argue in any sort of war or revolution story like this you want to be sure to have the political values of your respective factions to factor into the plot, at least symbolically. When designing your villains, their ideology should not be something that's interchangeable.
For communist villains, I'd tend to emphasize Black-and-White Insanity and With Us or Against Us.
From what I can find on the wiki regarding the turkification measures passed under him, doesn't seem like he was much better to the non Turkish minorities.
I was writing a whole comparison of Stalin to the Nazbols, and then I realized that I was missing the point. The reason that Stalin often looks rather right-wing for a communist leader is that authoritarians of any stripe tend to grab at reactionary tools of repression, particularly targeting hate at "the other" and embracing conservative social attitudes as a method of control. So you can write a far-left dictator who still looks a lot like a Nazbol and be completely believable - indeed, Lenin was kinda the exception to the rule in that he didn't embrace a regime of reaction.
Tankies, meanwhile, don't make believable villains. They really tend to be absolute caricatures, blindly supporting any enemy of the US even if they have no real nexus to socialism whatsoever (such as modern Russia - they're white, not red). If you do write them, trying to make sense of them is missing the point.
Well who are we defining as a left wing villain.
There were a bunch of Marvel communist super villains from the Silver Age, but all of those villains were dull as dish water and struggled for relevance after 1991.
Poison Ivy I guess is a left wing villain being an economic terrorist, but she gets treated somewhat sympathetically because she is kinda right sometimes.
In other news the same alt right chuds who hated on the She-Ra cartoon are having on the new He-Man cartoon for similar reasons.
I cannot see a Tankie villain working as a real threat beyond the most reactionary strawman possible ('Look at what EVIL LEFTISTS are doing to our GREAT NATION!'). If you really want to use a Tankie as a villain, a Tankie as a sideshow or distraction to a bigger threat is more believable.
That said, I would strongly advise against writing any kind of politically left-coded villains even if your intent is in good faith. Any kind of work that does will be a magnet for the alt-right and neo-nazis who will assume you agree with their views and all that entails.
Edited by BaronVonFistcrunch on Jul 21st 2021 at 7:35:09 AM
Tankies are a special brand of loathsome to me, to the point where I honestly don't feel like they deserve any more exposure in media, even as villains. If they really are to be included, it's best to have their status reflect that of the real world - fringe and insignificant, a joke and annoyance occasionally brought up, whose influence don't extend beyond far left websites and social media groups. No need to depict a world where they actually hold power in office, have widespread support, or even pose a serious terrorist threat, because that would be pandering to the common right wing view on antifa.
Edited by Alycus on Jul 21st 2021 at 7:44:31 AM
The closest thing I can think of in terms of an actual entertaining unsympathetic left-wing villain is Omega Red, an over-the-top Stalinist Soviet Super Soldier.
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?