Friday, September 28, 2012

A Handbook for Supervillains: Setting Goals

So You Want to Rule the World: A Handbook for Supervillians

Chapter 2: Setting Goals

Or, Small is the New Big

This may not be as simple as it seems for the beginning supervillain. Sure, everyone says that they want world domination, but is that what they're really looking for? There are a lot more options for a forward thinking individual than current publicity today shows.

There's nothing wrong, of course, with wanting to rule the world. It's a fine goal - one your mother could be proud of, if she was the kind of woman to get a kick out of such things. Many worthy notables in the profession have shared the same goal, including several villains on Wall Street and in the entertainment industry (all bow to the great Oprah). Historical supervillains such as Attila the Hun, Ghengis Kahn, Napolean, and Alexander the Great had similar ambitions, though these later individuals had the advantage of considering the world a much smaller place then we now know it to be, so they had less territory to cover. Still, a villain who chose this as an ultimate goal would be in very worthy company.

The only problem is, they wouldn't be in particularly successful company. Because, though ruling the world is a very nice aspiration for any villain to have, it is an impossible one to actually obtain. There is no way that only one person can control the whole world, no matter how powerful or devilishly good-looking you are.

Yes, yes, I know. Cue the chorus of all supervillain hopefuls currently reading this that want to voice their heated denials to the last statement that I just made. One, two, three - "But I can do it!" There, now that we've gotten that over with, we can stop any attempts on your part to try and prove this to me, and most definitely the gratuitous boasting that is certain to go along with those attempts (not that I disapprove entirely - I myself have participated in gratuitous boasting on several occasions, and generally find it very relaxing. Now, however, is not the time), jumping right to the point where I explain why all of you are wrong.

Unless you happen to be fortunate enough to lead an alien race who sees earthlings as lower life forms and is conveniently equipped with a large and scary fleet of very well-armed spaceships (in which case, you would technically not be considered a supervillain - more like an impartial enslaving and destructive force. Most aliens aren't allowed to enjoy world domination, a stigma which will be discussed later), the entire world is simply too large a territory for one supervillain to keep an eye on. And it's impossible to truly be the complete ruler of any area unless you can be exactly certain what's going on in every area of it. The often used phrase "information is power" may be a cliche, but that doesn't mean it doesn't know what it's talking about. This is particularly true when one has to deal with pesky resistance movements.

There's no need to be upset, though. Just sit down on your great and dreadful thrones for a minute and think about this. Do you really want to rule the entire world? Or do you simply want a large enough chunk of it to keep you supplied with money, love slaves or your chosen gender, and people willing to cower and/or bow in front of you? It’s as easy to steal what you want as it is to order it handed over to you, and in small territories there’s no place for those annoying heroes to hide a secret army.

When you rule a small territory (such as a floating island or terrifying mountains stronghold) you get to lounge about and enjoy your evilness. Conquer something much bigger than that, however, and you actually have to spend time managing your holdings. That my evil young supervillain hopefuls, is code for paperwork. And if we wanted to deal with paperwork, we wouldn’t have bothered with becoming supervillains in the first place, would we?

Next: Choosing a Persona, or Step Away From the Spandex

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