Quack Villain
Years ago, I came across this site:
Which had the following article:
It is titled Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science by Robert L. Park, and it was originally published in 2003. The author attempts to define junk, quack, dangerous, illegitimate, illegal medical practices. The primary site has hundreds of articles about bogus medical practices, supplements, programs, people, and devices. Here are the seven basic warning signs Robert identified:
1) The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
2) The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.
3) The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
4) Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.
5) The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.
6) The discoverer has worked in isolation.
7) The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.
Two types of people use these techniques. A fraudster who wants to promote their product or an inventor oblivious to their creation's ineffective/destructive nature.
We often see these bogus claims on television. “Use X, and you will lose ten pounds overnight!” “Pharaoh Cleopatra used X for healthy skin.” “Millions of doctors certify X to be the best method.” “Hospital administrators do not want you to know about X.” “I worked in secret for 50 years to develop X.”
As I kept these seven rules in the back of my mind, I saw the same pattern in Engineering. “Device X will improve performance by 100%” This is to be expected because the seven signs are part of human nature.
What do the seven signs have to do with writing? Villains need to be bad, and writers now have seven sources of well-defined unacceptable behavior to tap into.
Let’s create an example. Coworker Jenna does not like Sally. Using identifier #1, Jenna does not take her concerns to the boss and instead posts to Twitter. Using identifier #2, Jenna complains to her coworkers that the boss likes Sally and not her. Using identifier #3, people noticed that items have gone missing in the group refrigerator. Jenna informs people she saw Sally doing suspicious activities in the break room related to the missing food.
Using identifier #4, Jenna pointed out that Sally does not always work an 8-hour day. Using identifier #5, Jenna also pointed out that Sally only got the job because her family worked at the company for years. Using identifier #6, Jenna told everybody that she needs to work late to cover for Sally. Using identifier #6, Jenna got the employee handbook changed to prevent Sally from wearing her favorite shoes.
Wow, it only took five minutes to turn Jenna into a jerk. Did you notice that technically, Jenna did nothing wrong? For example, she did not hit Sally. Yet readers passionately dislike Jenna.
What do the seven signs add over the traditional lousy person? These signs point to insidious behavior as opposed to direct actions. Jenna is intentionally trying to deceive and manipulate the surrounding people. The seven signs provide a high-level crafted approach to creating an undermining character.
The quack doctor would not say, “Take non approved medication to cure your pain.” That is far too honest. Instead, they would say, “Drink spring water from well X to cure your pain.” Can spring water be evil? In the right hands, it can.

You’re the best -Bill
November 04, 2020

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