By: Staci Stallings
Long before this incarnation of my life (house, kids, two businesses, etc.), I was a newly-married young woman with a lot of time on her hands. My newly-married husband and I liked football, and at the time, after football and with nothing else to really do, we liked to watch a show called, “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” It was a fun show, as I recall, all old-style charm and romance–with some violence thrown in so Superman had something to do. Then the kids came and the house and the yard… and well, you get the picture.
So the other day I was walking through Hastings, making a bee-line for a new book I wanted when I saw the four sets of discs on the shelf. All of the episodes! How could I pass that up?
Short answer: I didn’t.
While digging out from the unbelievable pile of laundry in my house, I’ve been watching those old episodes (children are all at school now, so I can watch things more adult than Max and Ruby–what a concept!). Through the prism of the 18 years that have passed since I last watched the show, I now see the things that so fascinated me about it back then. The romance is so real–he loves her and wants to protect her, but she won’t let him because she sees that as her being weak, and the two of them trying to figure out how to become one in a way that gives each the room to also be themselves. It’s fascinating.
However, another aspect that fascinates me is the roles the villains play. Becuase Superman is based on a comic book, and comic books have comic book characters, most of the villains are cartoonish. There’s the Prankster and the Handyman. There’s Mindy Church and Intergang. What fascinates me is the lessons that are just underneath the surface about how evil treats evil. These gangsters and their ilk are not just evil toward the good guys, they are evil toward each other.
There is the one who busted out a prisoner only to kill him and frame him for more murders. There is the guy who agreed to pay the other millions for a “job,” but the payment ended up being two bullets in the back. I saw a movie one time. In it, there was a gang of three villains. In one scene Villain #3 did something Villain #1 didn’t like, so Villain #1 shot #3 with #2 right there. Now, Villain #2 and #3 had been friends prior to that moment, so Villain #2 was understandably upset that his friend had been murdered right in front of his eyes. He reached down to help his dying friend. Villain #1 looked at him and pointed the gun at him. “He’s of no use to us now, right?”
Villain #2 in a performance I remember to this day, looked down at his dying friend and then up at his new “boss.” There was a moment of decision and he sat back on the sofa. “Right.” I knew at that moment, Villain #2 would be killed by #1 by the end. Sure enough. It’s how evil works.
The other day, I was watching a Superman episode (can’t tell you which one), and one of the villains said to the other, “All you have to know is: deceive, dominate, eliminate.”
Deceive. Dominate. Eliminate.
Three words that should send anyone who even thinks about joining evil running for the hills. Let’s, for a moment, take this play book into a more spiritual realm for this is Satan’s play book open wide for all to see, and it’s the very plays he is using against us.
Deceive. This was to a letter what he did to Eve in the garden. He deceived her. I once heard someone say, “Satan doesn’t have to convince you, all he has to do is confuse you.” Deception is his foot in the door. “It’ll be okay… this time.” “She’ll never find out.” “It’s for his own good.” “What have I got to lose?” “It’s just this one time…”
I just finished reading a book in which a young woman is widowed suddenly. She loses her memory of the events leading up to her husband’s death and spends the whole book trying to piece her life back together. In the end we find out this loving husband-wife scenario she had going in her mind was a fantasy. Her husband was cheating on her to further his career. He was planning on leaving her, and their whole lives together were built her willing acceptance of his lies.
That’s what deception and choosing to live in deception will get you–misery.
However, once the evil has deceived you, it will not stop there. In the book, there is a scene in which the husband is trying to “convince” her that his way is what she should want as well–fast cars, lots of money, a lifestyle of the rich and famous. She, however, wants a quiet life with a family and a husband who loves her. He has deceived her to the point that she believes she has that… until she rocks the boat and asks him for what she wants. Instantly, deceiving her is not enough. He backhands her, and she is left trying to figure out what she did wrong. They have entered the dominate stage.
In Superman, evil is always trying to dominate evil. They will lie, cheat, steal–it really doesn’t matter, and at the right moment they will turn on each other like a vicious pack of dogs. Domination and power, however, have very short shelf lives as each new, successive villain seeks to dominate the old one. The game never changes, only the players do.
And then there comes a point when domination is not enough. The other person is just too much of an annoyance to keep around. “He got in the way,” is a famous villain catch phrase. In the book this showed up when the husband pushed her out of the car when she dared to question why he no longer loved her. It also, I suspect, led to his death at the hands of the evil he had embraced (though the book is never very specific about this).
In all examples of evil, the lesson is very simple: Do not throw your lot in with thieves. Do not take even that first step with an evil person. They have three goals: Deceive. Dominate. Eliminate.
You will no doubt be shredded by these people, and no amount of money or power will save you. In the end, you too will be eliminated. It’s in the cards when your hand was dealt.
Therefore, be very careful the company you keep, for where they go, you will follow. You will deceive, you will dominate, and eventually, no matter how hard you try or how high you go, you will be eliminated.
Best to stay out of the game to begin with.