This is something that came up in a chat with beckyh2112
as we were discussing Transformer Mary Sues and the philosophy behind the Poor Misunderstood Decepticons (PMD for short):
(Note: a lot of this is being yanked out of the same place where I got the statistics for "Transformers Porn I'd Like to See"
and thus may be wildly inaccurate and highly spurious. Corrections welcome. Verifications that I'm not nuts also welcome. Funnel cakes most welcome of all.)
Have you ever noticed that only certain
Decepticons/types of Decepticons seem to be the ones who are the proud, misunderstood members of a noble warrior race persecuted for their beliefs by those mean ol' Autobots? It's like there's an exclusive club out there within the Decepticon ranks.
Megatron's a member. So's Starscream. And Thundercracker. And Skywarp (though to a lesser extent; he seems grandfathered in 'cause he's a Seeker). Soundwave might be in there too. Shockwave...nobody seems to have much lovin' for the One Eyed, One Armed Flying Purple People Cannon. Post-Movie, I think Scourge and Cyclonus end up in there too. Maybe Galvatron. Pretty much all the usual suspects in the Decepticon hierarchy and most of the non-canonical OCs, particularly if they're female Seekers.
What's interesting is who isn't
on that list: I don't think I've ever seen anybody write a story about what a poor, misunderstood noble warrior Blot is. Or Monstructor. Or Wildrider (or any of the other Stunticons for that matter). Combaticons? Noble? Yes, if you completely ignore that whole "tried to push the Earth into the sun" thing, I suppose you might somehow be able to find some nobility in one of the Combaticons. I'm pretty sure Swindle would sell you his at a discount. Never having been used and all that.
It reminds me of a quote from Grunts
by Mary Gentle (which should really be required reading by all seeking to write stories from the Bad Guys' POV). In a nutshell, Grunts
is the story of what happens when an stereotypical band of Orcs gets its collective mitts on some cursed modern weaponry and stop being mindless mage fodder and start turning into a force to be reckoned with. Near the end of the book, Barashkukor, one of the orcs with a bit of poetry in his soul is talking to the orc General Ashnak. Ashnak mentions that he's finally figured out what he is. Barashkukor says "A proud member of a misunderstood warrior race?" to which Ashnak replies, "No, a mean mother who likes big guns."
Now, my problem isn't so much that people have conceieved of the Decepticons as said "proud members of a misunderstood warrior race" or even that they're selective about it -- not all Decepticons are going to think alike, after all. What bothers me is that amid all the "proud, misunderstood warrior" talk, there's usually no acknowledgement that simultaneously among the Decepticons
there are those Decepticons who consider themselves "mean mothers who like big guns" (or occassionally *are* big guns).
Decepticons are not, as a general rule, nice guys. They are, at best indifferent to humanity and at worst, casually cruel to those who get in their way (though I still think Soundwave picking up a baseball player and yelling "Dirge, think fast!" is one of the funniest lines ever). My own personal darlings, the Combaticons, are a pack of lunatics who decided that the best way to get rid of Megatron was to push the whole freakin' planet he was on into the sun. And I thought I was crabby when I woke up too early...
This is actually one of the things I like about the Decepticons. I like that they're mean, nasty creatures with poor impulse control. It's what makes them fun to write. They're quirky and nuts and generally most enjoyable when they're acting like themselves. They're not victims of anything other than their own failings and egos.