Physically, he resembles the actor James Woods.
While he would not qualify as a full-blown psychopath because of:
- an ability to delay gratification, especially with regard to manipulating others;
- an awareness of and ongoing efforts to evade the adverse consequences of his acts;
- a high degree of reliability regarding mundane work and personal obligations; and
- a well-integrated and executed life plan;
he shares with the full-blown psychopath:
- an inability to empathize with others;
- a complete disregard for the pain and difficulties he causes others; and
- a highly mutable affect.
Although charm is not one of the diagnostic criteria for psychopathy, successful psychopaths are usually considered charming; Vitale can be downright charismatic.
As a lawyer, his knowledge of the law is vast and detailed, but his knowledge of the letter of law is exceeded by his contempt for its spirit.
In sum, while he does not meet the diagnostic criteria for psychopathy, he is more dangerous than a psychopath for it. Brother Grimace and The Angst Guy think highly of Jim Vitale as a villain in Daria fandom, and Brother Grimace is of the opinion that Vitale is the one, true and original Magnificent Bastard in all of Daria fanfiction, as defined by the TV Tropes.Org web site.
A June 2007 story by MacGillicutty has Vitale giving his educational history as "Saint Crisaunt Elementary School in the Bronx...then Fordham Prep, Fordham U, and Columbia Law." No dates are provided. "Where's Mary Sue When You Need Her?" indicates that Vitale has ties to the law firm of Swyne and Dour, a "white shoe" law firm based in New York of importance in William Gaddis' novel A Frolic of His Own. Given Vitale's educational history, it is likely he worked at Swyne and Dour in New York before moving to Lawndale.
Powers and Abilities
It's unknown whether Vitale has any metahuman, psychic, or paranormal powers. He seems to be owed favors by many of the most dangerous creatures in this or any other world, who unfailingly address him as "Mr. Vitale," while he calls them by their first name or even a nickname.
Vitale may be far older than his appearance suggests. Conversation with some people with whom he has frequent interactions, such as Kyle Armalin, suggests as much.
- In Where's Mary Sue, he is depicted having an affair with Linda Griffin, Sandi's mother.
- In "Where's Mary Sue" and some later uses like God Save The Esteem, Vitale admires Helen's work ethic and strength, and is quite attracted to her - and entirely willing to confront her with this attraction, even though (as in "Where's Mary Sue") this unnerves and frightens her.
- Usually calls Eric Schrecter, Helen's boss, "asshat", and holds him in great contempt. The term has come to be his signature insult.
- Collects wine, notably first-growth Bordeaux and Sauturnes, and keeps a selection of excellent liquors on hand.
- Smokes cigars, especially where smoking is prohibited. He prefers the (Cuban) Partagas Lusitania.
- Jim Vitale, in various versions, has run afoul of Judith, with varying outcomes.
"The law is only what we lawyers do with it."