Summary: A brief exploration into the character of Jack Spicer.
Disclaimer: I do not own Xiaolin Showdown.
A/N: This was supposed to be a short drabble, but it ended up being longer. Basically what I believe makes Jack Spicer tick—as well as a whole other perspective on the XS universe as a whole.
Jack Spicer is not evil.
Oh, if you were to say this to his face, he will undoubtedly be very angry. He will whine and moan and try to show you just how 'evil' he really is by concocting some harebrained scheme to take over the world, or capture another Shen-gong-wu. But really, he isn't evil at all.
He isn't stupid, either.
You see, Jack Spicer really is a genius. Not a 'cliché-self-proclaimed-cartoon-villain' type genius, but a real, honest-to-goodness 'IQ-over-170-points' type genius. So he knows, somewhere deep in his subconscious mind, that he is not really evil.
How could he not? Jack knows all about what Evil really is.
Seven-year-old Jack, the Jack who exists before his parents start going on long vacations and business trips and sending him lots of presents and guilt-money, occupies himself by reading almost anything he can get his hands on. He has always had trouble relating to other children his age; so, at this time, his fantasy world of books and knowledge are what he considers to be his friends.
He reads an awful lot about history. So, of course Jack Spicer knows what Evil really is.
Stalin, Hitler, Mao—these are truly Evil men, men who use ideology and false promises of freedom to ensnare the vulnerable masses, killing millions in their wake.
He stops reading history books after he had starts reading about modern history and all of the suffering that goes with it. He stops reading books altogether after he reads George Orwell's 1984.
And that's when he discovers television.
Television is even more appealing to Jack than books, because it provides a window to more easily accessible knowledge. But better yet, new knowledge—knowledge far too recent to ever be written down in a book. Jack loves watching documentaries, and he loves telling the kids at school all about what he's learnt. When they start laughing at him, he starts watching even more television.
Until one day a program comes on the Discovery Channel about the Rwandan Genocide.
He stops watching documentaries that day.
It's then that he discovers cartoons.
He likes cartoons the moment he starts watching them. In cartoons, nobody really gets hurt. In cartoons, the villains are clumsy and inept and can see for themselves just how 'evil' they are. In cartoons, the villains aren't Evil at all, but rather just against what the heroes deem to be 'right'. In cartoons, children and mothers and babies aren't being systematically slaughtered by men with machetes and guns.
So, Jack comes to love cartoons. And he especially comes to love the 'evil' characters.
He identifies with them more than he does the heroes. He knows from books and documentaries that, just because a hero is fighting for the 'right' side, doesn't mean that he's fighting for the 'good' side.
In Robin Hood, for instance, King Richard is really no better than Prince John. The multitudes of slaughtered 'infidels' who fall victim to Richard's holy and noble Crusades can certainly vouch for that.
In cartoons, being 'evil' really means being 'different'. And Jack has gathered from his peers that he is very much different. He sees the villains as the ones with the true courage, the ones with the ability to brush off the scorn of the majority with a simple laugh.
So, in his genius but still eight-year-old mind, the two classifications begin to blur together, even though he knows deep down what Evil really is.
In his mind, he begins to think of himself as 'evil', and wishes that he was in a cartoon of his very own.
And, because he is young, and impressionable, and naïve, and has a very real sense of justice he thinks, only half seriously: "I want to take over the world." Because, if he controls the world, he can make a difference.
When his parents begin to fight more often, and coincidentally begin to go on trips more often, he decides that he's going to become a true cartoon villain.
When his parents start sending him extra money, he begins to design his own robots.
Jack Spicer isn't stupid. He knows exactly what he's doing when he gives his robots a giant OFF switch that is easily accessible.
Jack Spicer isn't naïve anymore, either. He knows just how big the world is, and knows that just one person, no matter how smart, could never hope to rule over 6.5 billion people and sort out all of their problems.
But now, his laboratory and his robots and his plans for world conquest have become his comfort-zone—a place where being 'evil' means being 'different', and where nobody gets hurt, and where he can laugh in the face of all the people who reject him, and where thousand aren't being murdered.raped.tortured.starved.poisoned by the second because of circumstances outside of his control. In this world of cartoon villainy, he is in control.
And when his parents send him the wooden box which contains the freaky ghost lady, he couldn't be happier. Because finally—finally—he gets to be a part of his own, real-life cartoon; with heroes to defeat, and plans to make, and missions to blunder accidentally-on-purpose.
He can finally, finally distract himself from the suffering that he knows exists but is powerless to stop.
Jack Spicer is perhaps the only one who knows for a fact the Heylin will be defeated. He's been planning on it from the beginning. But, of course, he convinces himself otherwise.
And, even if by some fluke Wuya and Chase do manage to win, he knows for a fact that it won't make a lick of difference. You see, that 'prophecy' stating: "should the Heylin get all the Shen-gong-wu, darkness will rule the earth for ten-thousand years" is the type of prophecy that anybody could make. Kind of like: "tomorrow, the sun will rise."
Because Jack knows better than most that 'Darkness' has ruled the earth since the dawn of mankind—so what difference would a bunch of superfluous, albeit spiffy, magical objects make to the world on the whole?
What do two people from Ancient China know about the big, wide world? Jack has studied history—he knows just how isolated China has been before the 15th century.
In the end, what was a wooden 'coin' (that makes you really agile or whatever) compared to an A-bomb?
But he doesn't like to think about things like the A-bomb, so he continues to escape these thoughts with ones of his never-going-to-happen world conquest, and his doomed-to-fail plans to retrieve all of the Shen-gong-wu.
Because in his real-life cartoon, nobody dies, nobody suffers, injury means being bruised, and rejection by some ghost lady and a sort-of immortal man who both know everything about nothing is hardly as painful as rejection by somebody who you genuinely wish to befriend. He can be as rude as he likes and succeed or fail depending on his mood. Sometimes, he'll let his true genius shine through, and other times he comes off as the biggest idiot on the planet. Because for once, it really doesn't matter whether he wins or loses, and it definitely doesn't matter how he plays the game
So you see, Jack Spicer isn't evil in the slightest. When you get right down to it, he's just an insecure and highly sensitive young man who wishes to escape from a reality that frightens and depresses him.
And deep down, somewhere within himself, he knows it.
A/N: So, good? Bad? Reviews and comments much appreciated.