Villainy is interesting because the sheer definition, essentially, is entirely subjective. Sure, we tend to think there’s a fine line between good and bad, but if there’s anything Team Rocket from Pokemon taught me, it’s that sometimes even the most evil plans sometimes look good on the other end. But, sometimes, being a bad guy is something so obvious, so ridiculous almost ll sides can agree that the opposition is kind of a jerk. Here are the seven most notorious bad guys of all time.
7. The Confederacy
Back in the 1850’s, the central debate in the United States wasn’t centralized on whether you would want to have Tom Brady or Peyton Manning as your quarterback, it was in regards to the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation. The Articles were kind of like Peyton Manning; beloved in the South, seemingly effective on paper, and delivered favorable results for the most part. The Constitution, on the other hand, was like Tom Brady; handsome, All-American, and most importantly, it produced results when things mattered. And also the Articles were ratified 60 years earlier and effectively didn’t matter anymore. So I guess the Civil War would kind of be like angry Jets fans wanted to re-sign Joe Namath so New York could finally defeat the Patriots.
I’m getting off track. The Civil War began mostly because the South wanted more rights granted to the States (to own people), which is something the Articles granted. The North, on the other hand, said “naw” and were plenty content with the Constitution and the Federal government swinging the big stick. Well, that little slavery thing I foreshadowed earlier was apparently a pretty big deal to Southerners whose economy was reliant almost entirely on agriculture, which slavery aided in booming. The Confederacy really wanted to secede from the Union and form their own, backwards, slave-owning sovereign state, but the Union wasn’t interested in allowing that to happen, so both sides went to war. The South stood little chance of winning the war, but that didn’t stop them from allowing children as young as 12 to enter battles and force their slaves to fight on their side, meaning they were effectively forcing people to fight for their own enslavement, which is probably the most messed up thing I can think of. Thankfully, the North curb-stomped the South so hard their citizens still proudly fly Confederate flags to this day and are consistently stuck 30 years in the past. At least they have college football.
6. Ivan IV
As a 14th century ruler or conqueror, you have to really drop the ball and make some enemies for your official title to be “Ivan the Terrible”, but that fact sure didn’t curb the determination of Ivan IV, the first czar of Russia. For perspective, Josef Stalin was also a prominent ruler on Russian soil (Soviet during his time), and he was responsible for the deaths of over 10 million people (by moderate estimates), and even he is just remembered as “Josef Stalin” and not “Josef the Mean” or Josef the of Question Moral Standards”.
But, Ivan was a pretty effective conqueror. In fact, the only reason Russia transformed into an international power can be attributed to Ivan’s reign in the 14th century when he conquered nearly all of what is now present day Russia and he transformed the previously awful, cold slab of land into a multicultural, centralized hub that was still cold and awful. So, his villainy is probably related to the millions of people he probably murdered to acquire his empire? Not at all! It’s because he murdered both his son and possibly some other prominent nobles!
You see, Ivan was thought to be somewhat mentally ill and was extremely prone to violent outbursts. This is alarming from your ruler. He beat his daughter-in-law so viciously she suffered a miscarriage and during an argument with the aforementioned son, Ivan struck him in the dome with a pointed spear, killing him almost instantly. So, yeah, despite committing filicide and pillaging his way through a billion square miles of formerly not Russia, Ivan is still actually reasonably highly regarded amongst the Russian people, which in it’s own right is enough to qualify him as a villain.
5. Samuel Norton
Samuel Norton is not a real person, but his evil is undeniable. In “The Shawshank Redemption”, Norton served as the God-loving, discipline enacting warden of Shawshank Prison, where he was responsible for the rehabilitation of hundreds of inmates. Most disturbingly, Norton began the film as seemingly one of the good guys. He seemed to display empathy, willingness to help, and he allowed Andy Dufresne to build a library in the prison’s basement. What a good guy!
Welp, not really. You see, Norton took a real liking to Andy because of his background as a banker, so he employed Andy’s services to launder money he received from a series of shady off-site labor deals. Oh, did I say employ? What I really meant is he used Andy as an indentured servant to orchastrate his schemes, which basically involved undercutting labor contractors by offering his prisoners as temporary employees. I’ll save the economics, but by providing a service which costs less money, it appeared as if Norton’s scheme was legal on the surface because it saves local governments money on paying for service and also provided inmates with valuable work experience. But, Norton could pocket literally every dime he made from the expenditure, which was illegal, in addition to being criminally immoral. So not only was he using slave labor to make money, he was using slave labor to secure and protect his earnings. Eventually, Dufresne threatened to abandon the scheme after Norton denied to support a re-trial (Andy was innocent, after all) and threw him in solitary confinement. There, he ordered the murder of a young man Andy was mentoring and threatened to destroy the library, burn the books, and dance around the fire like Injuns. In the end, as Andy escaped prison and Norton’s scheme unraveled, instead of facing the music, he blew his brains out before the police could arrest him.
4. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In one of the most unbelievable sentences of all time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have actually won a Super Bowl. It happened back in 2002 and was the result of one of the greatest defensive units of all time. In an equally unbelievable sentence, the Bucs destroyed the Raiders (seriously) by intercepting NFL MVP Rich Gannon (I wish I was kidding) five times in the game.
But, like most really good teams, the Bucs were totally unlikable. Of course, most of this animosity began and ended with All-Pro DT Warren Sapp, who many people under the age of 18 probably recognize only as “that fat guy on NFL Network who moonlights as a professional hooker beater”. If you thought Sapp loved beating up ladies of the night, you should’ve seen what he used to do to guys on the field. He was a monster. In fact, he’s so tough and monstrous, he almost got in a fight with a 60-year old Mike Sherman. In a game against the Packers, Sapp blind-sided Packers linemen Chad Clifton on an interception return on broke his pelvis. The hit was technically “legal” at the time, but it was certainly unwarranted and dirty. Sherman took offense to the hit, and Sapp calmly responded by asking a man who qualified for the senior discount at Golden Corral if he wanted to rumble right there on the field. John Lynch, another member of the Bucs historically good defense is notorious for using the crown of his helmet to lead tackles and Monty Kiffin, the defensive coordinator, is the father of world-class scumbag Lane Kiffin, who thrice bounced on coaching positions to go find better ones. And the Bucs also had Keyshawn Johnson on their roster and he is seriously as likable as the Mexican version of dysentery.
The Buccaneers were the typical trash-talking, hard-hitting, high-flying defensive unit that basically fielded 11 Richard Shermans. And most frustrating of all? They were nearly unstoppable that season. Except for a Week 16 game against the Steelers! Whooooo.
Magneto, a popular supervillain from X-Men lore, is one of the greatest villains of all time. He possesses the ability to manipulate metal with his mind, which pretty much makes him an indestructible force of awesomeness in the 21st century world. Interestingly, Magneto didn’t serve as an “evil” entity; he was simply a villain because he didn’t agree with the whims of the good guys. You see, the X-Men series involves a lot of perspective. The good guys in X-Men fight for the good of the world and protecting the humans that sometimes aren’t accepting of their mutant powers. Magneto and the “bad” guys pretty much just don’t care about non-mutants, and usually focus on pushing his own agenda. In fact, each of the X-Men movies involved humans doing something to “fix” the mutants. In this sense, Magmeto wasn’t trying to take over the world or kill everything in existence; he just really wanted humans to let him live his life, which makes him less “dangerous, rogue militant” and more “Starbucks drinking protester.”
Most interestingly of all, Magneto possesses an immense respect for what is both his oldest friend and great enemy, Professor Xavier. Despite possessing a device which both blocks Professor X’s power and the ability to destroy the wheelchair bound old man with a mailbox (if he wanted to), he never does, and often opts for a more civil rivalry. This is what makes Magneto among the best villains; he possesses the ability to take over the world, but he pretty much chooses not to because he respects his old buddy so much. This degree of self-control displayed by Magneto makes him a pretty good candidate for most likable villain.
2. Dick Cheney
Political ideologies aside, Dick Cheney is not a good dude. This is because he shot his friend with a shotgun.
In 2006, Cheney and a group of pals went on a hunting trip. One of the participants, 78-year old attorney Harry Wittington apparently looked almost identical to a quail, because Dick Cheney just pretty much shot him. Wittington was hit with birdshot in his chest and cheek, but fortunately, didn’t die. Unfortunately, he did almost die after suffering a heart attack three days later, but ultimately pulled through, after doctors decided they would just leave 30 pellets in his body.
Cheney, of course, claimed the shooting was an accident and acknowledged he and Wittington were good friends. Wittington, on the other hand, claimed he and the Vice President were more like acquaintances, but did acknowledge the shooting was an accident. Naturally, Wittington was left with little choice in regards to placing fault for the incident, mostly because Cheney was still the Vice President, a position in which he was considered one of the most powerful of all time. This was 2006, so Cheney still had plenty of Vice Presidenting to do, so the incident was more of less swept under the rug and forgotten. It was so forgotten, in fact, the Cheney neglected to ever apologize to Wittington for shooting him in the face with a gun.
1. The Ski Free Monster
I’ve chronicled a lot of villainy on this list, and each inclusion is deserved of their placement. However, one thing the previous six entries share is the fact that they’re relatively easy to defeat. The Confederate Army was crushed by the North, Tampa Bay went right back to being Tampa Bay and Dick Cheney is always one cheeseburger away from congestive heart failure. The Ski Free Monster, however, is invincible.
Anyone familiar with earlier versions of Windows, like 95 or 98, probably remember an old, 8-bit game that came pre-installed in the computer called “Ski Free”. Ski Free was a fun game because it provided a nearly limitless run of snow, trees, and mini ski jumps in which a player could kill some free time. It was mildly entertaining, but the frustration lie in the major enemy.
You see, there was no way to “win” Ski Free. Most people would run into a tree after a while and die, which was fine, but theoretically you could’ve played Ski Free indefinitely. But you couldn’t.
Once you had reached a certain point in the game, no matter how well you were doing, and creature emerged from the woods at warp speed and devoured your character is one hearty gulp. There is no way to defeat the Ski Free Monster, as he serves as nothing more than a nonverbal reminder of all of our mortality. That’s a harsh dose of reality to gulp down at age 8, especially when all you’re doing is trying to kill time at your grandparent’s house. The Ski Free Monster, for all intents and purposes, was an invincible, all powerful entity who simply could not be stopped, nor his insatiable hunger for human flesh be quenched.