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Are Anti-heroes Anti-christian?

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Today's post over at Speculative Fiction by my friend author Kat Heckenbach.

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Silence of the Lambs has been one of my favorite movies since my husband and I first saw it in the theater on our first date. Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lector helps Clarice find serial killer Buffalo Bill. Highlander is another of my top-favorite-ever movies, starring an immortal who goes around beheading other immortals because “there can be only one” rather than any sense of goodness. Sure, the villain is super villainous and deserves to be separated from his head, but the main character is a murderer, a thief, and quite the con man. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (a contest between con artists), Fun With Dick and Jane (ordinary couple turned bank-robber), A Knight’s Tale (yes, Will Thatcher wants to be a knight, but he’s a thief and liar even though he has a good heart, and Chaucer is a complete scoundrel). The Punisher, James Bond, Maleficent. I’d even call Iron Man an antihero because it’s really Tony Stark’s ego that drives him.
 

OK, OK. So I may be pushing into some gray area here, and it’s not always clear where the line is between antihero and just-plain-flawed hero. Regardless, antiheroes are out there in full force these days, and they seem to be getting more popular. What makes this true? And how as Christians should we handle antiheroes? Do they have a place in what we view and read? Do they have a place in what we write?

 

 

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I'm wondering how you distinguish between flawed heroes and antiheroes. I'm thinking in terms of biblical people. Abraham twice claimed that Sarah was his sister, allowing another (powerful) man to take her as his wife and ending up profiting from the experience when God intervened. We all know the story of David and Bathsheba, but he had some other problems. 

 

What about Jacob? It seems to me that he was more than just flawed. He cheated his father, his brother, his uncle, ... all the way through his story. 

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Personally, Biblical characters were people and I consider them as such. I keep the hero / anti-hero language for characters on the page.

 

Prince Valiant was a hero, Jack Sparrow is an anti-hero. It seems passe to write straight-up heroes these days. A pity.

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The most iconic anti-hero I can think of comes from Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name (or you call him 'Blondie' if you think you could get away with it).

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The Man With No Name

The Antihero: Clint’s seminal drifter, scowling away from a filthy poncho and just waiting for the opportunity to reach for his six-shooter. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore! 

Effortless Cool: There’s a studied menace about The Man With No Name, despite his honourable intentions. We like the cut of his jib.

 

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The man with no name is nicknamed Blondie, but his name is Joe Blanco. I know I've seen the movies a dozen times and they come out the same way every time!

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Heroes sin and repent.  Anti-heroes may wish they could repent, but they feel, deep inside, too much satisfaction with the sin.  

Our present society has done away with God.  Nobody needs to repent anymore. Thus the anti-hero comes out on top.  

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A horse trainer once told those at his training event is that human beings are the only animals who do the same thing over and over and over expecting a different result.

 

The joy of writing is that the writer (sometimes) determines the outcome. (Some stories seem to do that on their own, and the writer may as well go along with it.)

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I don't watch television- haven't for roughly twenty to thirty years.  Over that same time period, I've watched perhaps fifteen movies- not counting The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, which I've watched over and again because I enjoy the music.  But after listening to everyone, I think I should watch a television show to see what their characters and plots are like.  Any suggestions?

 

I'm intrigued to see first hand what Nicola is talking about re the anti-hero reversing roles with the hero.

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I don't watch television either.  And I don't want to encourage you to do so.  Research is not a good enough excuse!  

Those with a unique perspective/voice/imagination should protect it from influence.  Reading has a profound effect on the brain but I believe a creative person can more easily separate his own ideas from the written page, than from the moving pictures and images on a screen.  They affect the brain neurons in disparate ways.  

There are non-creative people out there. I use them as a filter.  "Tell me the story of that movie.  What were the characters like?  What happened that you will remember the rest of your life?"  I far prefer to study the influence society has on people than the society itself.  

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15 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

A horse trainer once told those at his training event is that human beings are the only animals who do the same thing over and over and over expecting a different result.

 

I think he was trained to say that.

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2 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

"What happened that you will remember the rest of your life.

All too often the answer is, nothing.  Therefore, I have saved myself valuable time and brain space by using a filter.  When the answer is intriguing, I'll seek other impressions.  I don't have a television connection so I can't watch for myself.  

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