I was originally going to write this about how people like villains as much as heroes and use Thanos as an example, but the more I thought of it, the more I realized he was the dumbest character ever. So I wrote that instead.
This is one of those articles that I take liberty with our blog being about writing and literature.
Like I am not talking about literature directly, but I am talking of a character in a story, so close enough.
Basically, I wrote this as if I wrote of the story that the character was in.
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"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Title - The Sirens of Titan
Author - Kurt Vonnegut
Description - “[Kurt Vonnegut’s] best book . . . He dares not only ask the ultimate question about the meaning of life, but to answer it.”—Esquire
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’sThe Great American Read
Write of a character that is poorly written.
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The author has decided to take the thing far more seriously than the cartoon it was designed to be.
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Thanos Is A Moron – Op-Ed Piece
What makes a good villain? What makes us hate a character so much for the evil he bestows upon this world?
A key for me is intelligence. The villain can’t be stupid. Unfortunately, the villain Thanos from the Avengers franchise is not that smart.
For those who don’t know, Thanos gets a hand glove thing (the gauntlet), that for some reason, possess stones that, for some reason, possess different elements. He is trying to get the stones to put into the gauntlet.
The purple guy is going to destroy half the population with the gauntlet with stones.
(It’s a superhero story, so you have to go with it at a certain point, which is basically the opposite of what I am doing here.)
So why do I say that Thanos is as dumb as bricks? Why should the Avengers laugh at him? Why is he so stupid?
Let me explain.
Get ready for a long rant that is overly critical and not even about literature or St. Patrick’s Day. (Can someone please confirm whether Thanos is Irish or not? He doesn’t act very Irish. Would an Irish ever try to destroy half the population?)
Let’s first go over Thanos’s mission in the movies. His goal for what he is trying to accomplish.
He wants to get the Infinity Stones (those are the things that look like candy the ice cream guy sells) so he can destroy half of the universe. Now the movies present that as your typical bad guy scheme. But is it? I say no.
Thanos is a conqueror of worlds, like Alexander The Great. Anyone opposing him will die. He takes over planets because he feels like it. Anyone who even mocks him is put to death. I’d be surprised if he didn’t rename planets after himself.
Now the movies actually explain Thanos’s thinking behind it all, and that is where his true stupidity shows up, and I start to wonder how this titan ever got so powerful. He told his daughter that her planet had a resource problem, so that by eliminating half of the population, he solved the problem. Did you get that?
Thanos’s solution to a famine is a genocide.
Even Hitler would look at that and think it was stupid. I am no war general. I don’t hold any position where the production of goods is vital for the masses. The president won’t ever ask for my advice on solving issues like this or my thoughts on his speeches, but I am fairly certain a genocide doesn’t help a famine.
Unfortunately, genocides are nothing new on our planet. They have happened far too many times that if you learn enough history, you are bound to come across multiple times when different people killed other people on a large scale. And get this, resources were not the cause for it. Ideology was. The one group thought that the others were less than them, so they slaughtered them by the thousands. They were not killing people, in their view, since the ones being put to death were less than them. This is a messed up thought to have of people, but in a sense, it is understandable. You are looking out for yourself. Anyone, not you, dies. It is evil and sick, but not so out there that it doesn’t make sense. Not sense in a moral aspect, but sense from a logical aspect.
Even how Thanos approached his solution was in a strange way that is never discussed as odd. He chose that half of the population will die. That is it. That is the number. He didn’t say that he wanted a certain group eliminated, like the Jews, or the Catholics, or groups not apart of his plan. No, that wouldn’t make sense to him. There is no ideology involved with his takeover. You gotta admit that Thanos is really playing the numbers game here.
He is cutting a line right down the middle without any thought of who is on either side. For a society that is so fascinated with numbers and statistics to determine outcomes, this approach of genocide is eerily not far off. How many of us look at our excel sheets or bar graphs, or social media numbers and determine our next move solely on that screen? That is what Thanos did. Just instead of likes and rows, he is talking mass murder on an untold level. There is no context with Thanos, just the numbers. And that detail is strange for him to miss. What if he gets rid of most of the engineers when he does the snap? What if half who live are vengeful and will do whatever is necessary to kill him? Leaving something that large to 50/50 chance is crazy, like when Two-Face flips a coin for an outcome. His lack of input hurts his analysis. They say, “the devil is in the details,” so Thanos is clearly not the Devil since he missed the details.
It is laughable that Thanos claims that the problem he is trying to solve is a resource one. First off, there are a lot of resources. Is he talking oil for vehicles, food for citizens, clothing for soldiers? What resource is he short on? And if he is short on them, then why the hell is he going around conquering planets? He even admitted that the planet of his daughter had plenty of food after he was done. So can’t he just take that surplus and use it on other planets? Rather than killing people? What does a genocide actually accomplish for him? Does Thanos not realize that a benefit of war is that it helps certain industries since everything in that industry goes towards the war? You make guns for the soldiers. Food is grown after the battles. Equipment is made for the bunkers. You can’t have a resource problem across the board when fighting a war since you are literally producing materials to fight that very war. This is not a concept Thanos knows anything about, though. (This is the guy taking over the universe too, not some schmuck from a small foreign country nobody cares about)
For a guy all about war, Thanos doesn’t seem to know anything about it. Supply lines are the key to a successful campaign. Ask Napoleon or Hitler what happens when you run short of supplies for your troops as they advance, and they will tell you that the distribution of food, guns, and medical supplies for the army advancing is as important as anything done on the battlefield. It doesn’t matter how well trained your army is, how powerful the guns are, or how great your generals lead; if you don’ get supplies to your army, they will lose. This is pretty basic military knowledge. This is not new. Alexander The Great knew this as he took over the known world, so why the hell does Thanos not acknowledge that his supply lines are as important as anything? This would be a good time for Captain America to jump in and tell the others that they shouldn’t fight Thanos head-on but try to wear him down because even Thanos admits that he has a resource problem. So the Avengers should be going for Thanos’s communication and resource plants rather than his whole army. He can’t travel to other planets if he doesn’t have any fuel or spacecraft to get him there. Fighting the strongest army head-on in an open battlefield is the worst decision that the Avengers could have made. For all they know, Thanos’s army could be so loyal to him that even if they kill him, they still have to face his galaxy large army.
In the battle at Thermopylae, the famous scene where Leonidas and his 300 men fought the large Persian army, the Spartans won because they fought in a small opening, not on an open plain. They reduced the field, so the vastness of the Persians didn’t affect them. And what is the plan for the Avengers to beat the largest army in the universe? Go toe to toe with them. That seems like the last thing you should do against a stronger opponent.
Also, Thanos failed to recognize a problem with killing half the population. He is ridding of his most valuable resource; manpower. People are a resource that can be used. If Thanos really wanted to help his resource problem, he probably should have made half the people slaves so that he can use them to get the resources he claims he needs. It’s not like he cares if they live or die.
Imagine what that meeting looked like between Thanos and his staff.
“We are low on a few resources Thanos that could affect our war efforts.”
“Fuel, and metal. If we do not get either within a few years, our endeavor will come to a halt.”
“That is not a problem. Once I get the gauntlet, I can then eliminate half of the population. That will solve everything.”
“Pardon my bluntness, but wouldn’t it be wiser to attack depots that can give us the resources we need, rather than using our remaining resources obtaining an item we don’t know exists.”
“The gauntlet will solve everything.”
“Sir, but our resources are critically low. This campaign won’t last much longer if we do not get the proper supplies.”
You gotta be insane to go along with someone who thinks that the way to domination is through the possession of a magical item.
Also, if your opponent is searching for a magical item that has separate pieces, one of which nobody knows its location, then you have to think you are in a better position. Thanos’s use of a magical item is evidence that his army is not that strong. If it was, he wouldn’t need the item.
In our world, if the leader of an army is rushing to get an item, like the Holy Grail, we don’t assume he is winning the war but losing. He is rushing because that item is his last hope, not the key to domination.
I will end this here; Thanos is so damn stupid that once he completed his grand plan, he doesn’t even have the foresight to protect himself. His brilliant escape plan after he commits the worst crime ever is to become a farmer? Who is he, Cincinnatus? Shouldn’t he do something like I don’t know, build a castle for himself or have his army around him at all times? If the Avengers didn’t kill him, someone was going to, and Thanos never even thought it could happen.
Why were the Avengers so afraid of Thanos; he never had any idea of what he was doing. They should have been scared if he was a great leader and understood war better than them, but he doesn’t. He thinks a glove with candy solves all his problems.
As Iron Man said, “It’s not a great plan.”
Like I said, I was going to write up a piece about villains in stories, but this one got carried away.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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