A lot of times, when I watch movies that pit good vs. evil in easily distinguishable sides, I wonder about someone actually choosing a path that is clearly evil. Take Star Wars, for example. Why would someone choose to be on the dark side, with all the available evidence that it’s just evil? There are moments when I have trouble suspending my disbelief. George Lucas tried hard to make Anakin’s descent into the evil persona of Darth Vader believable, but it was still rough around the edges. The depiction of evil in movies can be so exaggerated as to be cartoonish.
Most people don’t just set out one day and decide that they are going to be bad. So, in the movies, when some kind of transformation happens, it’s hard not to give it a little extra scrutiny as a plot device. Good films usually show some slow decent into evil. We say, “The path to hell is paved with good intentions,” and it’s usually one little thing that leads to another. A kind of breadcrumb trail that a person follows until they find themselves out in the middle of the dark forest, lost and confused, and they think that wrong is right.
Then, it turns out, some people are okay with embracing evil. Madison Cawthorn, who just lost his reelection campaign to the House of Representatives, is calling on the power of Dark MAGA to avenge him. Dark MAGA refers to a group whose main political platform is revenge. The reason the third (oh okay, call it the sixth) Star Wars movie was retitled The Return of the Jedi from The Revenge of the Jedi was that revenge is not a virtuous pursuit. The realization was that truly good people, as represented in the films by the Jedi, do not seek revenge.
The Dark MAGA adherents are consumed with the destruction of their perceived enemies. They are, in the mode of high fantasy like Star Wars, choosing the dark side, the side of the Sith. It’s all as ridiculous as it sounds. It would be laughable, except when you think of the reality that Cawthorn was elected once, and not trounced in his reelection bid. Now it’s a little too close to be humorous.