Nintendo, a video game hardware and software provider, announced new characters for their upcoming iteration of Super Smash Bros., a fighting game starring characters that tend to be intellectual properties of Nintendo, for their newest console, the Wii U. From what I understand of this series, players control avatars that, using Nintendo-themed items, strive to eject one another from a map and whoever has the most evictions of other players from the game stage wins. One of the new characters is a stoic staple in their Animal Crossing series of games – the villager. The Internet quickly exploded and started a meme that the character must be a psychopath because of his stoicism and the seeming gleam in his eye. The full description of the meme and sample images can be viewed here.
This paints a terribly inaccurate picture of most psychopaths. As I’ve mentioned briefly before, psychopaths are not required to be violence-seeking beings of chaos. The quick and dirty rule of psychopathy is that we live by the mantra of putting ourselves first and seeking any means necessary to achieve our wants and desires. What benefit is there to end up in prison due to random acts of violence? I am not saying that no psychopaths live for such bloodlust, but many of us do not, even if we may fantasize about it. This meme suggests that we are unhinged monsters seeking nothing more than to harm others. As fun as it can be to see others hurting, once again the risk of imprisonment is just not worth it.
So if you looked through the link’s contents above, you will see that many have taken this meme to great heights to show that psychopaths must be mentally unstable and must derive a perverse pleasure from inflicting pain on others. The truth is most psychopaths are far from mentally unstable. We know right from wrong, as decreed by society. We know that we are in full control of our actions. We just choose to ignore these restrictions in order to further our own goals. And I think that is where the crux of the matter lies. If the Villager is really psychopathic, what goals is he advancing in the portrayals that are surfacing? The answer is ‘none’. Psychopaths are, generally, too self-centered to waste valuable energy on random acts of violence. Yes, there are those of us that indulge our bloodlust without a care in the world, but that is not a required trait of psychopathy. This meme is doing nothing but propagating the perception that we are monsters that do nothing but hurt people on a minute-to-minute basis.
Psychopathy is defined most by a mindset. A self-centered, callous, mindset that realizes the norms that society places upon us and chooses to ignore those norms. Psychopathy is less defined by action. This meme does the psychopathic community injustice because it paints the picture that we are solely defined by action and less via the thoughts we have. Society would learn much more by getting inside the head of a psychopath and less by watching videos of what he did.