There could hardly be a better suited candidate to interview for this special feature on our website devoted to mythology and horror than the creature who simultaneously embodies both. With a career spanning millennia, this international sensation has starred in several religions; his appearances in pop-culture are far too numerous to cite, but notable examples from classic literature include Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, and (my personal favorites) Mark Twain’s posthumously published Letters from Earth and The Mysterious Stranger. He’s a music producer and a ghost writer, a spiritual guide and a motivational speaker; he’s everyone’s favorite antagonist: he’s Satan, the Devil. What follows is a transcript of the enlightening exchange I had with him.
I met up with Satan in his trailer, where it was parked in the Chihuahua Desert. The location didn’t offer much in the way of recreation, and the Devil’s motor home wasn’t equipped with all that many appliances to compensate for the lack of engaging surroundings. But the Prince of Darkness didn’t mind that, claiming that still he got way many more visitors over there than he would ever care for. He invited me to take a seat on a box bench that was fixed by a kitchen table coming out of the wall. The Devil himself preferred to remain standing throughout. And so the interview began.
I: What do you think of the twenty-first century?
D: The first two decades are a bit of a drag, but then it picks up; just give it time. The problem is that, in the beginning, a large portion of the world’s population has gotten so comfortable in their lives that they don’t really feel threatened by anything. And, with that, people become excessively occupied with portraying themselves as charitable and altruistic – as if that were any part of their nature. But then, of course, as soon as things start going wrong for them, and they begin to feel rattled, then that whole act is dropped pretty quickly. And those same individuals unashamedly turn into the opposite of what they were pretending to be before. So, that’s all coming up later. And then the third act of the century is pretty epic.
I: Are you saying that you are able to see into the future?
D: Yes; I read a lot of prophecies.
I: Aha; and the prophecies, they cover these matters – specifically?
D: Well, I’ve gotten better at reading them with time – also just by applying what I know of human psychology. It’s really just the outcome of an equation, which isn’t exactly rocket science to begin with. Once it dawns on people that they’re all getting their comeuppance anyway, it starts to make sense to them to take advantage of the misdeeds, and criminal behavior, that’s owed to them. There’s really nothing more miserable than seeing an ‘innocent’ suffer a brutal fate, getting mutilated or killed – or, worse yet, reaching old age and having to go through the long-winded and humiliating method for being offed by nature itself. With villains, there’s a certain dignity in death – a certain sense of purpose.
I: Are people going to realize this by themselves?
D: As a society, yes. One effect of how lax everyone’s become is that they’ve completely let their guard down towards pop-culture, with all its questionable messages. The mob used to be much more cautious towards these things back in the previous century. You see what’s already happening with the U.S. film industry, where every other film coming out is a super-hero story, adapted from comics; and comic books are, of course, the most corrupt medium. It’s become a part of the formula for those films that the villain gets at least one or two scenes where he gets to make a compelling, philosophical argument for being evil. And that resonates with the viewers; it’s invariably the most convincing moment of the film, with the rest of it being complete nonsense. But then people assume fiction is just harmless, and that it won’t ever have any impact on the real world – ignoring the historical evidence to the contrary. Also, while we’re on the subject, look at the rise of all these dystopian Y.A. films – bred out of a deep-rooted skepticism and mistrust towards society and everyone in it. That’s another sign of the societal disintegration that will lead to the liberation of Evil.
I: There have been innumerable portrayals of you in every form of art. Have you been pleased with any of them? Are there any that you particularly dislike?
D: It’s quite the cliche; when people create something that features me, it’s usually just a way for them to whitewash themselves, or maybe exorcise their own demons – by boxing them in, I guess. So, when that’s your starting point, it’s quite unlikely that the final product is going to be anything worthwhile, deep or meaningful. So, that’s as far as art goes, but then you have the first-hand testimonies of people who claim to have met me in person. They all see me as obsessive; it’s as if I were some super-stalker – and with the most peculiar tastes, might I add, even for a mythological being. Then there is the matter of material wealth: some associate that with my doing, whereas some others, like the Calvinists, assume that material success in this world is indicative of one being blessed with the grace of God. People just believe pretty much whatever’s convenient for them. Religion has always been a form of therapy. If you enter rehab, naturally they will throw religion at you there.
I: But no one has yet questioned your gender, right? Whereas with the ‘big guy’, there are so many who now insist that he’s a woman.
D: No, they’ve been very respectful towards me. I’m not aware of any gender-bending on my part. Thankfully most portrayals of me in the flesh have made sure to make me come out as well endowed, and that has sufficed to get that message across. You don’t spend centuries as a sex symbol to then go through some colloquial sex-change.
I: How are things going in Hell?
D: I don’t’ know; I haven’t been there for ages. It was getting a bit crowded, and then, once we had Napoleon, Karl Marx and Rosa Parks, the situation was pretty hopeless. I could tell where things were heading way ahead of time.
I: Has there been a revolution in Hell?
D: Something like that. Now they have a democracy there, but – from what I understand – they have it much worse than when I was in charge. Funny, how evil works sometimes.
I: But before that, you must have run into many famous, historical figures in Hell, right?
D: They’re all the same to me. I’m not that interested in the human species, to be honest. But we had the bird that bred the first chicken. Now, that’s real celebrity.
I: Wait; were you already there, in Hell, long before humans even existed?
D: No, not at all. I ended up in Hell after the first human civilization. But the chicken progenitor was already there before me.
I: I see…
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART II.