Les hommes ont prefere les tenebres a la lumiere, par ce que leurs oeuvres etaient mauvaises.
Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. Jean 3:19
I first read of Salandar Lisbeth on a quiet flight home from Florida the fall of my senior year. Sandy beaches in Pensacola shrank behind me as I moved toward what I hoped was a cacophony of color and the sharp coolness of August Michigan.
As I slid away from the bright cheeriness of Florida toward the shaded mellowness of Michigan, the troublesome shadows surrounding Salandar Lisbeth’s description seemed strangely appropriate.
The issue of Vogue I held on my lap informed me that the actress who landed the role of Salandar Lisbeth in the new film The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo consequently sold her soul to box–office immortality. I was intrigued by the odd, troublingly slender woman who captured my attention with a passive, emotionless stare.
The face of Salandar Lisbeth remained with me. A month later (after I’d returned to the sunshine of Florida), I curled in the darkened bedroom of my dormitory, reading the novel Salandar inspired. Stieg Larsson’s words transcended his translator to entrance me in his story of a quiet, strange, anti–social girl with underestimated intellect. I was awed by and jealous of Salandar (my dark, cunning, brilliant, understated, absolute antithesis).
In the past decade two Byronic characters captured the attention of America and the world: Edward Cullen and Salandar Lisbeth. Edward was idol–worshipped by millions of women of every age; Salandar provided the most coveted role for the female actresses of this century.
Both personify inherent Byronic characteristics (darkness and brooding remorse without repentance). They live by their own moral code; they are separate from but attractive to those around them.
The Byronic hero as a woman was a novel idea.
I was awed by Salandar Lisbeth. If only I could so brilliantly use technology as a medium to hack into the personal financial records and private social information of the people I knew.
While Salandar is masterly crafted, one must remember her profession (and hobbies) are illegal. (Just as Edward Cullen’s watching Bella as she slept suggests unhealthy stalking tendencies.) Byronic characters are generally allowed some “wiggle room” in matters of morality.
But why does modern culture choose to idolize such behaviors as ingenious hacking and habitual stalking?
Do we find comfort in comparing ourselves to the dark knight, to Delilah, or to Brutus? Do squeaky–clean heroes irritate our consciences?
Would we rather compare ourselves with Judas or Jesus?
Do we subconsciously need our heroes to contain substantial flaws to save us from guilt through comparison? Or does genius attract us–shady, immeasurable genius that requires on some level a substantial separation from middle–class morality?
Les homes ont prefere les tenebres a la lumiere, par ce que leurs oeuvres etaient mauvaises.