Bound to Suffer -- The Philosophy of General Skarr
Updated: Feb 6
Most would probably agree that WWII has been a stain on humanity, from the loss of human life to the havoc it wreaked on the minds of those who survived it. It is because of these reasons that Nazism became the textbook example of evil.
It also inspired the creation of countless fictional characters and organizations, from the Galactic Empire in Star Wars to basically any fictional tyrant that is associated with military symbolism and/or values.
In this article, I'd like to analyze what I see as a representation of an oxymoron between the evils of Nazism and the scars it left on the world for many years to come; a trade-off that was packed into comic-relief with little depth but with significant symbolism I believe we can learn from.
This is the philosophy, and the sad truth, I've found behind the character of General Reginald Peter Skarr, a forgotten side character that fully appeared on two TV animation shows -- the obscure "Evil Con Carne" and the childhood-favorite "Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy".
To put it briefly about his description -- Skarr is a union of oxymorons structured in the form of a comic relief character, that is often treated with little seriousness by both other characters, the creators, and the audience. He is evil, but too sensitive to ever pose a threat; he appears in a Nazi uniform (yes, in kid shows), but is actually British and was never confirmed to believe in Nazism; he is smart enough to hide his attempts at overthrowing his leader to the very end, but extremely dumb.
What I'm trying to convey is that the General is basically the "lovechild" of Hitler and an extremely unlucky, extremely misfortunate, traumatized post-WWII Jew, whose "ancestry" of Nazist influence has made him bound to trauma. Trauma from whom? From almost everyone and everything he encounters, from one-scene nameless characters whose whole purpose is to beat up Skarr, to objects that harm him due to extreme unluckiness.
His name, "Skarr", is both ironic, literal, and symbolic. Literal due to his scar, ironic due to him being the scarred one, and symbolic, due to his designation in existence -- the archetypal "Chew Toy", AKA, a being whose all purpose is to suffer. His title, "General", is an oxymoron as well -- he is important in rank just as he is impotent in execution.
What made Skarr the unfortunate being he was during the airing of two shows? His "deal with the devil" was to decide, on his mother's demand, to join the military. This decision had ultimately made him the unfortunate character he was -- an inferior henchman to a belittling dictator and eventually -- permanently ill by the desire for evil.
What I call the "tragedy" of this character is better understood if we are to replace key words in this article by far:
Military: point of no return, history, new stage.
Evil is mental illness (to Skarr, obviously).
Skarr/Scar—trauma, pain, past experiences.
Mother -- ancestry.
Bellitlement -- ignorance, misunderstanding, intolerance.
Usurpation: rebellion against current reality.
General Skarr: a person, an individual, a single person; some.
Comic Relief: inequality, unfairness.
If we are to use all the provided words in a sentence representing what Skarr is, some people, because of their specific, scarred ancestry, are more inclined to mental illness and perhaps other conditions, which are often met with misunderstanding, along with the history that led to their creation with the person, and because of those, said people are bound to whatever form of pain others are not, which is unfair.
Thus, some will rebel against their dealt hand in existence, most often with failure since mental illness is incurable, and the past is inevitable. Once they "decide" to come into the world, this action cannot be undone, not even by death.
You may think General Skarr is funny because he is a comic relief character, and his "Nazism" justifies the constant beatings thrown at him by the world, but when we take a closer look, his "Nazism" isn't a justification, but a curse given to him by his history.
His offscreen recruitment to the military is like the "choice" of being born -- something that cannot be undone once you're in, even if you leave this state. In some militaries, AKA "lives", evil, AKA "mental illness", is a followed symptom, like in any dictatorship (like the one Skarr served under), and once you receive it as a trait within you as well, you are, unfortunately, bound to suffer, in much unfairness; one that could be met with either mockery or ignorance.
This is why I think Skarr is not just a comic relief character, but also a black humor-product of "traumatized Nazism," a shell of its former self; a great evil that scarred the world, that is often met with laughter and "meme-ry" by some contemporary audiences.
I relate to Skarr not because he was a villain; I relate to him because my family was scarred by the Nazis, and I believe, through genetics, I carried their mental illnesses with me, as did my mother, as did hers. A great-grandfather of mine got his whole family killed and had to start over; another got hit in the eye in their village by a local stone-throwing anti-semite; another fled to a certain South American dictatorship, known for its anti-semitism and the "disappearance" of its citizenry at the time.
Conclusion: If it weren't for the power the Nazis willingly inflicted on humanity, many lives, including mine, would've been much less ill, whether these lives were during WWII or long after it.
This is why I'm not ashamed of my mental illness, a.k.a., my anxiety disorder, because I know, it is not my fault, and will never be, even if my theory is false. The fact that an ancestor of yours got a genetic illness, even if it was not inherited by you, has a chance to be inherited by your children, and so on.
Thus, you are not completely free, for you are bound to the past, including the one before your existence, most often without justice; and with a negative reception of your past's infliction upon your body and mind!