Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Evil Overused

You know from watching those dumb list shows called things like The 100 Most Evilest People In The World Evah!!! Voted by the sort of person who thinks that sort of thing is important but not voting for their Councillor or MEP. Before I topple off my soap box cue smug voice-over. "At 100 he may be called the man of steel, but he doesn't have much appeal according to you, its Stalin!". With Kerry Katona garnering more votes than Saddam Hussain, the top three comprising of the latest pantomime villain from a reality show, Chris Moyles and Fred Goodwin.

All in all the use of the word evil is used too much. There are several definitions of evil, includeing the secular, religious and the philosophical. This is going to be a short argument because what detailed religous education I recieved in my youth has faded and I went for history at A-level. The point is that anybody doing anything remotely wrong or imoral gets called evil when it devalues true evil when it happens. Like many forms of modern slavery and trafficking and acts of mass slaughter for example.


  1. Well, that's kind of the meaning of the word "evil." Think about it. . . To a seal, a shark would be considered "evil." To grass, so would be a lawnmower.

    Pretty much anything that causes pain and grief or is a mortal danger to most of a society gets the moniker evil.

    I guess evil is as evil does, and depends on which side you're viewing it from.

  2. Hello Jamie,
    yes you are right. The dictionary definition describes evil as any moral infraction so yes it could be seen that it is used correctly. One of my points was on how it is used by the media. If minor infractions are called evil what do you call the perpetrator of a really gruesome crime do you use the same word for two different acts which are in no way similar or descend into greater hyperbole. The argument I was attempting to make was lets not hype up a bad act or an act of incompetence into a extremely bad thing.

    On television (in the UK at least) at the moment everything is a "journey" whether its a cooking show, documentary or reality and yes technically they are right but its overuse devalues it to the point where it loses its meaning.

  3. I agree with you if you see evil as an "absolute."

    But, you should also consider that evil can be viewed as a matter of degrees, too.

    As in: Hitler was really, really evil; Fox TV is just sort of evil :-)


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