Well, yeah, you might be thinking, but what about the people who play Paladins like jerks and try to boss the party around or detect evil on absolutely every rat and frog they encounter? I mean, how irritating can you get? Seems to me that this sort of behavior is more of a player problem than a character class problem. Also, if a player is running their Paladin inappropriately, it's up to DM to reel them in. Following the rules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, it's not easy to even qualify for Paladin-hood. The stat requirements are stiff. The code of behavior is strict. Paladins are expected to behave a certain way and uphold certain principles. It is a challenging class to play and portray well. Paladins that don't follow their codes or who commit acts that violate their alignment should fall from grace. There should be consequences. But is that really the root of the problem? Bad players? Bad DMs? A little of both? I don't know.
Of course there is also the always refreshing subject of how alignments are too simplistic. Life consists of myriad shades of grey, so why should there only be nine alignments to box people in? Well, I don't know about you, dear reader, but I get a belly full of Life and its myriad shades of grey all day long every day. It's nice to be able to pick a definitive side and know where you stand and who stands against you in a game, I think. Why make the game as complex as the life we are escaping by playing it?
Sometimes, as an older gamer, I get the feeling that the things I fell in love with in gaming, comics, literature, and film have now come to be seen as out of date, or corny, or cheesy. Or worse, oppressive. Perhaps society now has an inherit distrust or even hatred for any source of perceived authority and that is now being projected onto Paladins. Or any other presumably good character.
I see so many instances of players who strive to be edgy, or dark, or mysterious, or just down right evil! And that's totally fine if that's the game you want to play (I have done so many times), but it still doesn't explain this revulsion for the light. Where is this coming from? Why all the hatred for good, Lawful Good, and especially Paladins? What gives?
Doesn't anyone want to be the good guy anymore?