"Isn't that the key?
That we see as much of ourselves in the victims as we do the victimizer."
Yep, or the "characters" as much as the "author", etc.
being believable must have a strong aspect of humanity attached, whether that be a respectable or deplorable trait. I think it's important that we see ourselves, even in the events of the deplorable. It helps me stay away from that role if I don't like myself in that particular characterization.
Consistency is key to me. At least then I know who or what I'm dealing with. Mencken was consistent.
I once had a friend who was an "upstanding" woman of society. She was all about reputation, good deeds, community involvement, class, refinement, etc.
I found out her father was an illegal gun dealer who operated out of a liquor store and was a high member of the KKK. It seems she spent her life trying to stamp out the seeds her father planted, but she let one grow into a strangling vine: Prejudice.
That's what made her whole life unbelievable to me. Her good deeds were a liquor store front for her father's bad seed, and she could never own up to it in public. This made her inconsistent and fragile in her loyalty as a friend, to me. Sorry if it seems I'm passing judgment, but actually she judged me as unworthy of her friendship because I felt my friends were worth more to me than being called "the black people," (or worse) behind their backs.
We parted ways, and I lost her "influence" among certain social circles, but I'm consistently hopeful she'll stray one day, free from the thing that she shackled herself to her father with.
Whatever is written/exposed isn't always a revealing. That's why I appreciate it when it is, even if I disagree.