A Non-Fiction Villain


Pamela Geller, American Madwoman, is on the rise. The barking ‘birther’ blogger who looks like a victim of botched plastic surgery and makes Sarah Palin seem like Germaine Greer is on the attack. What’s interesting about Geller is that she’s clearly intelligent, but the rabidly pro-Israeli anti-Muslim atrocity denier is so extreme that she can’t help but tie her rhetoric into paradoxes.

One must assume that extremes are eventually evened out by the basically sane nature of humanity, which means that Geller is probably too loopy to be dangerous, but she is far from a political anomaly.

People like this are fascinating to writers; what drives them? what do they actually want from their lives and the world around them? And what happened in their childhoods to make them so filled with irrational hatred? The problem is finding a way to present such characters realistically, because it’s easy to lapse into cliche, and many of Geller’s ideas would not be believable if presented by a fictional character.

How do you portray extremists when the real-life versions outpace fictional ones?

A terrifyingly nonsensical interview with her can be found in this article.

2 comments on “A Non-Fiction Villain”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Does “truth is stranger than fiction” cover it?

  2. Sparro says:

    If you invent a character like this nut-case Pamela Geller, what the character will lack is a genuine history or back-story that here (we assume) is genuine. She is genuinely three-dimensional, she grew up with influences and absorbed opinions through her years. What she has done with her own history beggars belief, which is why she is somewhat unnerving. She has invented herself; she might be genuinely nuts, or she might instead be a seeker of unbridled self-publicity and the owner of a huge ego.
    You could invent and introduce someone who is her equal in balmy-ness, I don’t doubt, in the course of one of your novels. But they would be there merely to serve your purpose, not their own inherent purpose. Thus they would possibly not be particularly convincing; although so saying, you do manage to subtly lure us followers of Bryant and May into acceptance of some highly unlikely villains!

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