Fallout New Vegas: A Second Look at Benny
Fallout New Vegas: A Second Look at Benny published by Skimmerlit
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Posted on 2016-08-25
Writer Description: I'll be writing about whatever's on my mind at the time: As a neckbeard, this includes politics, current events, and gaming. We'll see though.
This writer has written 2 articles.
Benny and Masculinity or Benny as a Leader
Today we'll be looking at one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite games: Fallout New Vegas' silver tongued snake, Benny.
When I first played through New Vegas, I hated Benny with a passion, and killing him was an absolute power trip. On subsequent playthroughs, I decided I didn't actually care about Benny that much: He was just some side antagonist whose only purpose was to kick things off and move things along for awhile. It wasn't until I went through the game again recently that I came to a startling realization.
Benny's the fucking man.
And that's not just playing into the title. After examining him more thoroughly, and listening to his history and goals, I found out that the guy's a- What? What word would you use to describe Benny? Liar? Cheat? Bastard? Ruthless murderer? Narcissist? These are all true, and they help form what I came up with for him: Benny's a man.
That might've made you mad, but hear me out here.
"Baby, you didn't come here for vengeance. You came here to get clued in."
I read a book about masculinity recently: The Way of Men, by Jack Donovan. The book provides interesting insight into men, and it helped me reason out this analysis of Benny. According to the author, there are four amoral virtues that make a man good at being a man:
Strength, as the ability to exert actual physical force over objects, or exert yourself over people.
Courage, as the willingness to risk harm to benefit oneself or others, or stand your ground at any cost. In its most developed (and more moral) form, courage is the willingness to risk harm to ensure the survival of a group, another person, or an idea.
Mastery, as practicing and demonstrating techniques that better allow someone to exert themselves over others or the environment.
Honor, as a man's reputation for strength, courage, and mastery. NOT a man's concern for his reputation for strength, courage, and mastery.
"It's a game, and games have winners and losers. I prefer the former, how about you?"
Let's look at Benny's history.
Before coming onto the strip, and even before becoming a leader, Benny was a member of the rough and tumble gang known as the Boot Riders. A nomadic gang, the Boot Riders roamed Nevada and survived, as most gangs do. Eventually though, they were approached by House's securitrons and presented with an opportunity: If they agreed to be rehabilitated, they could enter the New Vegas strip and become one of the ruling families. Bingo, the leader at the time, was opposed to the idea: He liked his identity and lifestyle.
Benny felt differently. He challenged Bingo to a duel for control of the tribe. After gutting Bingo, Benny led his men onto the strip and into a higher standard of living and potential.
That was courageous as hell. Benny risked his life for something he believed in, and ensured that his people would (in his opinion) improve, whether they wanted to or not. Sure he killed his leader to do it, and mercilessly stamped out any and all opposition, even going as far as to secretly poison one of his good friends, but he got the results he wanted. Through ruthless use of strength and mastery, through murder, manipulation, and politics, his people became key players in a bigger game. Benny was at the top, and rightfully so.
Time passes, and Benny decides he wants to take New Vegas from House, and militarize to keep the NCR and Legion at bay. To do this, he negotiates with the Followers of the Apocalypse, and has a securitron reprogrammed; This bot provides insight into House's operation, and clues Benny in to the existence of the couriers and the Platinum Chip. Benny hires the Khans, and sets out to secure his future.
You know what happens next.
"Truth is, the game was rigged from the start."
Benny's a ruthless, cunning man. Silencing all opposition, Benny leaves no loose ends. Until you, Courier Six, decides that living and ruining things is pretty cool. If you had just stayed dead, Benny would probably have taken over New Vegas. That's not how things went, though. AT ALL. For some people, Benny got his smug fucking head bashed in on the floor of his own casino. For others, Benny died in bed after some serious ring-a-dinging. For most, though, Benny ended up on his hands and knees at Caesar's feet.
This is where I first realized that Benny wasn't exactly who I thought he was.
I asked him how he wanted to die, and the response was surprising:
"Yeah, I'd like to die in my sleep at a ripe old age after a marathon session of hey-hey with thirty sex starved broads. You'll set that up? Look, I ain't a harbor for illusions. I ain't expecting to get out of this shin-dig alive. That's why I'm trying to hand you my scheme, baby. It's called having a legacy."
Benny, the guy who's schemed and murdered and lied all the way to this point, is trying to hand you his scheme. He's not doing it to try and survive; He knows he's dead. He's doing it to be remembered. He's doing it so that his life's work isn't stamped out by House and a cruel twist of fate.
"Respect where due, but that old man is square to the core. Vegas has to swing, baby, gotta have a pizzazz."
I realized that Benny was something else. Benny was a leader. Benny was a man. In regards to the book and the definitions I presented you with, Benny was good at being a man. He represented all of the masculine virtues perfectly, and he earned my respect for it.
Does that make him a good man?
Fucking no. Fuck that lying, cheating, dirty sack of shit.
Being a good man isn't the same as being good at being a man. A good man's a bit harder to define, and depends on the culture and background and plenty of other things. A man who's good at being a man is universal, though, which is why people are able to relate with pirates, bandits, thieves, etc. They aren't good people, but they have admirable traits.
That's my verdict on Benny after taking a second look at him.
His methods are more than questionable, but he's a man with a plan, and the guts, determination, and skill to get what he wants at any cost- Even humility and death.
"Make Vegas a town I would've been proud of baby. Let it swing."
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