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Chuck Klosterman Tells Us Who Is More Villainous

After speaking with Chuck Klosterman about his new book, I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains, and the nature of villainy, we gave him a quick quiz about some of the subjects he writes about in the book. He tells us who is more villainous with frequently hilarious, and thought-provoking, answers.

The unedited interview with Chuck Klosterman

Taylor Swift v. Eazy-E

“Well, Eazy-E is trying to project the image of badness. It is a conscious construction. Taylor Swift is attempting to create the illusion of purity. I would say, though I don’t personally know either of those people, Taylor Swift is probably closer to an actual villain than Eazy-E.”

Julian Assange v. Darth Vader

“Well, Darth Vader is part robot, so that really puts him behind the 8 Ball. You know, it’s sort of like he has a robotic shell, where Julian Assange just has sort of a strange haircut. Julian Assange is absolutely convinced that what he is doing is more moral than what the mainstream media does. He is very much a believer that if you put information out, even if it harms one person or ten people or a hundred people, there’s value to that if it ends up saving the lives or transforming the lives of a million people. Darth Vader blew up planets arbitrarily. So I guess Darth Vader is more of a villain.”

Rick Perry v. Sharon Stone’s Character from Basic Instinct

“Oh, that’s an interesting one. Rick Perry can’t really be a villain by the standard I have set up, because he has terrible motives but they’re not informed by anything. Like, if we’re using this sort of straw man, the person who knows the most but cares the least, he seems to care a lot about a lot of dumb things and doesn’t know anything. Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct is framed as the villain by the director and the writer. She’s very smart, she’s very cunning, calculating, uses her sexuality in inappropriate ways. Her motive seems to be, ‘I just want to be interesting,’ which I guess is worse, it’s kind of like Lee Atwater. So I would say Sharon Stone.”  

Don Henley v. Snidely Whiplash

“Ok, that’s a good one. Snidely Whiplash had a compulsion. He could not stop himself from tying women to railroad tracks, for no reason whatsoever. He just seemed to like to do it. Don Henley really liked to make money, he wanted to take it easy, he wanted to strangle people in discos. I mean, the thing is, I guess, if Snidely Whiplash isn’t a villain, no one is, right? I mean, it’s sort of like, he’s based on the archetype of the silent movie villain. The cover of the book is essentially his outfit, so I guess I would go with Snidely Whiplash, which I guess is sort of an interesting complement to the Eagles.”  

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