Bad guys don't write about themselves?

I have noticed that in every artistic discipline, literature, theater, cinema, there are good guys and bad guys. In other words, a very clear distinction of good and evil.

Then we may state that if any author can write about bad guys, then they’re aware of every ethical or moral consequence of their bad acts. However, may a person with no ethics (any criminal or psycho) write about good and evil with the same wit and precision and moral advicements as any ethical author? (exceptions for Sade and Hitler, of course). Can they write, for example, an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, possibly being, in a future, an accused subject as in the show?

Please check that my thoughts are not very clear, I’m just trying to pull on opinions to clarify them.

(Please mods if this don’t belong to this forum, well, it’s up to you)

It’s kind of a weird and probably unanswerable question. Some writers like Genet have been deeply involved in crime, and other great writers and artists have been morally reprehensible in their private lives. It’s possible to be a criminal while still preserving a certain common code, but the question refers to those without any moral view.

There have also been many novellists and poets who have consciously avoided moralizing (Joyce, Wilde, Baudelaire, Verlaine, the French New Novel). And there are those with very curious or very different moral beliefs that may not be shared by the reader, like Albert Camus (the hero’s murder in L’Etranger), Flannery O’Connor (very intense religiosity), and J-K Huysmans (the decadence of A Rebours).

I don’t think being moral is required to create art or to write a believable character, but there is one subset of criminals that might have problems. It would probably be very hard for someone with no empathy (which may describe some psychopaths or sociopaths) to create believeable characters and to put themself in their place, just as very small children have difficulty understanding that other people have minds separate from their own.

Having said that, I do think some of the greatest writers (e.g. Dostoevsky, J.M. Coetzee, Carson McCullers) have a particularly fine and deep moral discrimination, but there is much more than morals required to make you a writer.

Hmm. A cynic would say that writers aren’t much more than professional liars, and a good liar can fake anything - emotion, compassion, sincerity and morality. After all, it’s all just words on a page. Whether they’re from the heart or not, they’re spelled the same way.

Brains, craft and talent have no relation to morals, unfortunately.

We “bad guys” are much too busy with our plans for World Domination to bother cranking out reams of light entertainment. If you are worthy to read what we have to say, we will have already sent you a copy of our manifesto and demands…

You also have to understand that most bad guys/villians don’t think of themselves as such. They consider themselves to be the heroes of the piece, which may be why there are so many books/films written from that perspective. I mean, Adoph Hitler thought that he was doing Germany (and the world) an immense amount of good. He certainly thought that he was the hero–and I think Mein Kamph would back me up (although it is on my to-read-eventually-maybe-perhaps list).

Oh, and the reverse is true as well. Luke Skywalker was a huge pain in the shiny metalic arse of Darth Vader. And you gatta wonder what a small child whose daddy worked on the Death Star must have thought about good old Luke blowing up her father.

Good writers have to be able to at least understand the arguments for what is good and bad to write credibly about that.

As an example, I may not believe that Joe Schmoe is a good looking guy, but if I understand what he likes about himself, I can flatter him. If I just have no idea what he thinks, I’ll fail.

Ha, ha, that was good, Dr. Fidelius.

Seriously, I agree with most of you, it was only a curiosity that I’ve never met a single person who agrees with murder, rape, world domination, sexual abuse, or any bad behavior. It’s incredible! Bad guys don’t exist, I must conclude!!

Can you catch my light sarcasm in this? :dubious: