Smart people are inspired by life. Clever people are inspired by other people’s lives (or biographies). Mildly sly people are inspired by novels. Average people are inspired by movies. Mildly ditzy people are inspired by hour long TV shows. Insufferable people are inspired by sitcoms. Only idiots are inspired by ads.
My inspiration for this article is an ad for a sitcom. Since this muse is not quite in the sitcom slot or the ad slot, I will just call it life.
The ad was many years ago and it was for the now ended Malcolm in the Middle. It described the show as the epic struggle between evil and… evil?
It has me thinking even this many years later.
From many stories that have good fighting evil, it would seem that for good to triumph that good must be more powerful than evil. But the Malcolm in the Middle suggestion says that evil fights evil, too.
Thus good can triumph while being lesser than the full host of evil.
Everything was going the Axis way at the start of World War II. The Nazis were allied to or had conquered most of mainland Europe all the way east to Poland. But the Russians were not officially aligned and had taken the other half of Poland. For awhile the evil of Hitler and the evil of Stalin were allied.
But Hitler couldn’t stand the truce with Russia and attacked them. That allowed the “good” powers, the British Empire and eventually the United States to open up two more fronts – one in Italy and later France, that combined sapped Germany’s strength.
The less obvious Cold War saw the Soviet Union and communist China united for a few years. This scared the western countries. But eventually the two communist powers no longer trusted each other and ended up building up heavily along their shared border. That might have helped sap the strength of the Soviet Union and contributed to its collapse in 1989.
So the west (or “good” as they like to be called) won the Cold War, too. Both are instances where good wasn’t necessarily more powerful but came through because evil doesn’t like evil anymore than it likes good.
So there it is. The wisdom of an ad using the wisdom of a sitcom to say something that is definitely life. Don’t be evil. But if you are, don’t play nice with other evil.