Worm Essay 1
- We’re all in this together; An essay on the similarities between Skitter and Harry Tuttle.
- Brazil, and a world gone mad with apathy.
- I don’t know if you’ve seen Brazil. Chances are fairly bad- It’s not exactly an incredibly well known movie, but it’s one of the most strikingly dark things I’ve ever watched. Appropriately enough, it was released in 1985. Imagine 1984, but with nobody willing to take responsibility. British Bureaucracy, gone to the darkest possible places. And yet, there are moments of beauty and heroism.
- Harry Tuttle. Motive force of the plot, terrorist first class. Rogue pipe repairman. He first appears in the movie by aiding the hero, fixing his pipes quickly, efficiently, armed with a gun, sneaking in under cover of night, hiding from Central Service’s pipe repairmen, who are more interested in rooting out corruption and scabs than in doing work.
- The main character saves Tuttle from them with some quick bureaucratic paper-slinging, and is thanked by Harry, who proceeds to prepare to leave, remarking ‘We’re all in this together’, before leaving on a zipline, with an inspiring operatic horn number.
- Harry Tuttle does some questionable stuff, even outside of the trippier sequences near the end. And there’s not a happy ending in it for our hero, though that’s not Tuttle’s fault. But the movie’s plot is started off when the wrong person is brought in, due to an insect falling into a typewriter and causing the wrong person to be brought in. It’s nobody’s fault directly, but there were many, many bureaucrats who could’ve taken the time to realize something was wrong. And that is the theme of Brazil. That when people do not do bad things, but allow bad things to happen, it is a more monstrous system than any number of bad people could make.
- The connection to Worm.
- There is a similar feeling, in many ways, in Worm. When the institution becomes more important than the Ideal, things fall to pieces. Those who would seek to do good become the criminals, because they don’t submit to the bureaucracy. Those who try to do good within the system all-too-often find themselves becoming dependent upon the system, becoming attached, becoming enslaved by it. And so, they become a part of the continuing cycle of disgust.
- Worm could say it herself. ‘We’re all in this together.’ Every human being who wants to see the human race keep going, whether they’re powered, or not. They’re all in this together. Even the criminals, even the murderers, even the gigantic assholes, because they don’t want things to stop, because at worst, they’re parasites, and they depend on the continued health of the civilization to keep going. The Slaughterhouse Nine, the Endbringers, all the creatures that are content to see humanity end, they’re the enemy to every living creature.
- The truce is a farce. The truce lasts only as long as a given endbringer attack; But what is the point of that? The war isn’t /won/ after the Endbringers are driven off. It’s not a truce, an armistice, it’s barely even a ceasefire, it’s just a preparation to attack again. The Endbringers aren’t going to stop, and they need to be stopped. But everyone treats it as a temporary event, and jumps back into the cops and robbers state of mind, not considering that the villain they send to the birdcage might save their life the next time an Endbringer comes around.
- Trigger Events and Depression
- Why do people who have trigger events become villains? It’s not just because they’ve gone through a deeply traumatic event. That doesn’t explain their rage against the world. Think about what a trigger event usually has to be. A sense of supreme helplessness. This is the feeling that has reigned in every trigger event that one could care to think of, there being something /wrong/ that they can’t do /anything to fix/.
- Take a personality like that, suddenly given great power. And then tell them that the law is watching them, and that the moment they screw up, they’re going to the Birdcage. Look at the innocent people who want to do good, who actually do good, like Canary, and Amy, and what happened to them. They were given no chance. The reason that people who trigger naturally become villains is because Cauldron doesn’t trust them.
- Helplessness is a deep element of depression. The Pit of Despair, Learned Helplessness, famous psychological experiments involving doing deeply unpleasant things to animals, they show us that when you can’t do anything, you become depressed. Clinical depression is a serious thing- and what’s terrifying is that human beings and other social animals are naturally predisposed to attacking and lashing out at those who show signs of depression, furthering that. It’s natural human results. But we’re all in this together.
- So, what do the ones who are depressed but functional enough to do something about it do? They use their power. And because the law makes no place for them; Because the law only increases the feelings of depressed despair; they go outside the law.
- This is the great beauty of human nature. Depression breeds a certain strength in some people, because someone who can survive through helplessness, through the mind itself turning against you and torturing you mercilessly, can become terrifyingly effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of villains show certain signs of bipolar or borderline personality disorders; The kind of depressive state that would create a sense of helplessness, and the kind of manic phases that would result in flurries of activity and focus. But again, the beauty. When a society becomes stagnant, with a powerful force in control in this way, it breeds people with the wounded strength to fight this system. Each person who stands up and fights inspires those who see them. It doesn’t matter if they fail, because they were just one person; And enough people will be inspired that it tends to grow. The more oppressive a situation is, the more revolt there will be, and as it grows, it becomes powerful enough to spark a revolution. Worst comes to worst, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. But sometimes, the people at the lead of the revolution are Good Enough. And they do something magnificent. They change the world.
- Maybe the world is going to end. But maybe what replaces it won’t be so bad. Maybe we’ll lose the war but win in the long term. There’s nothing saying the world isn’t going to have a lot of deaths. But maybe, just maybe, those deaths will mean something. Maybe it won’t be the end.
- And you know who can survive? The ones who have spent every day of their lives tortured as bad as that. The ones who know what despair feels like, and who can soldier on through it anyway. The villains. The helpless ones. The ones who know that just because you feel helpless, doesn’t mean you truly are.
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