One of the reasons that I loved Nathan’s character in Ex Machina is that it was a demonstration (that nearly all liberals and at least half of conservatives will deny) of the fact that you can be insightful, intelligent and brave yet still be really really evil and repugnant and terrible.

In the liberal mind, if you are bad, your every feature is therefore repellent and the worst by dint of some view or action (etc) of yours being atrocious.

But that’s just not the way people work.

When Bin Laden was killed, one of the first viral stories about the event was that he’d supposedly used one of his wives as a human shield.

He didn’t. Bin Laden died unarmed, probably facing the man who killed him. The dude just wasn’t a physical coward. There’s a lot of debate over how much actual combat he saw during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but it was definitely “some.” And more to the point, this was a guy who had the option of being incredibly wealthy his entire life. He gave that up to go fight for a cause he believed in. The cause was horrible, and, y’know, fuck him, but he wasn’t gutless.

This Manichean split people wish to impose by speculative and analogical fiat just isn’t real. I knew soldiers who were objectively pretty terrible that I would’ve much rather gone into combat with than the people I was friends with in the army. Derek might say racist things but I know he’d not flinch when it’s time to get shit done. Some of my friends, I suspect they would’ve been crying on the ground. You get the idea.

Bin Laden was a brave man. That he was also terrible are not at all contradictory statements. That sort of (perceived) dichotomy is more often the case than not.

Again, as with Nathan in Ex Machina. He was a sex slavin’, oppressive and misogynist cockbag. But he was brimming with real insight, wicked intelligence, and understood how people worked nearly completely (so much so that he built a few).

Don’t see that often in the movies, how people can be and really are. We prefer to believe that people are bad all the way through in every single characteristic when it’s just not so.