“Victory Lap” and our Inability to Humanize the “Enemy”

Pieces of writing nowadays can take us through many different perspectives and points of view. We can see through the eyes of a schoolgirl from the 1800’s, a stockbroker during the great depression, or just your average teenager. But, what we don’t often get to see through are the eyes of those we are pitted against.

What surprised me the most about “Victory Lap”, looking past the very interesting characters and detailed plot line, was the writers choice to have a part of the story be told from the point of view of the assailant. We are often fed the backstory of a villain as a way to pick out his or her motives from the short list that is usually given (revenge, jealousy, etc.). We can infer from that a carefully and (often) simple narrative of why they do what they do. But, what is not always presented is the full perspective. This could include shows of emotional response, less relevant personal information, or even just a glimpse into how their mind actually functions. It is almost as if we are afraid to give these villains (or whatever you’d call them) full access to the human spectrum. We need to have an invisible wall between “us” and “them”.

Recently, these in depth narratives have been showing up more and more. What first comes to my mind are the surprisingly large number of Netflix documentaries focused on the backstories and minds of killers, depicting very detailed accounts of very gruesome topics and people. I think it’s interesting to see our society bringing awareness to the fact that these people are still human, and humans are capable of theses kinds of things. And, although it can be frightening to take down any walls that separate the “villains” from the “protagonists”, doing so can also provide insight into how certain actions come to be, and maybe even how they can be prevented.

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