Maybe Stephen King started it with his approach to villain-picking.

As an undergrad, back when the Internet was still brand new, I decompressed by reading through Stephen King books borrowed from the Carnegie Mellon library and noticed something.  One of his recurring techniques was to imagine the familiar as the monster.  Cujo was a dog.  Christine was a cool car.  Firestarter was a little girl.  The title character in Cycle of the Werewolf, which became the movie, Silver Bullet, was the local priest.

As a non-King movie, Child’s Play, showed, the idea caught on, and naturally, artists’ explored the opposite: heroes whose appearances or identities are typically associated with villains.

One of the defining peculiarities of the present day is that this species of literary device has become written into our society and is affecting our ability to assess reality. Consider this headline: “‘Drag Mom’ Who Mentored 11-Year-Old At Satan-Themed Pub Sentenced For 11 Child Sex Felonies.”

At this point, we’re being encouraged to actively suspend our common sense and long social experience to avoid harm before it’s done.  What do we think is going to happen?

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