Friday, March 17, 2006

V For Vendetta

Ok, I saw V for Vendetta.

Go see it. See it two or three times. Send a message that this story resonates with a people who still value liberty and democracy.

Update - To get the perspective of a pathological conservative on this movie, take a gander at this review by Debbie Schlussel (WARNING - Her review contains plot spoilers, if you don't want to know don't read it, and perhaps don't read the rest of this post.)


Despite the goverment in the movie being a nightmarish dictatorship, Schlussel still can't allow herself to admit that totalitarianism in the name of national security is wrong. She writes

Overall, the most outrageous thing about "V" is the ending. Instead of vanquishing terror, all of Britain sides with the terrorist hero of this movie. They celebrate his murder of all the top officials in government, his blowing up of the Houses of Parliament and other government buildings.

Terrorists and terrorism are the heroes, the government fighting them and trying to keep us safe are the enemy.

Um, somehow, Schlussel missed the part where V, the vigilante hero of the film, vanquished a 1984ish government which was ruling over Britain with an iron fist, controlling the people through fear and violence [and she also fails to note the two buildings that V blows up (techinically, he only blows up one) are both unoccupied - with V having given warning that the Parliament would get blown up a year in advance.]*

V does kill top officials. These were officials directly responsible for the deaths of thousands, and within the context of the movie killing them was the only option. I will admit one can find this sort of vigilantism morally objectionable, but its no more objectionable than any western movie where the good guy shoots up really bad people who happen to be the law.** There is something terribly disturbing about her inability to recognize that, in the reality that the movie presents us with, the government just so happens to be in the wrong when it censors, beats, kills and tortures its citizens.

Schlussel feels that the movie is pro al Qaeda and pro terrorism. It is not, or at least its only pro-terrorist in the sense that a people fighting an oppressive government can be called terrorists. The movie is a parable about a society which is fooled into voting into power an authoritarian government who takes advantage of the society's desire for security. There is nothing in it that suggests that the terrorists the people feared were not a legitimate threat. But the point is to be weary of trading essential liberty for temporary security. If that's anti American, then take it up with Ben Franklin.

Her real problem is that the movie holds up a mirror to the conservative movement and says, "this is what you might become if you continue on your present course." She's being defensive because she recognizes that some of the fascist elements in the movie are also shared by the conservative movement today. She thinks that is an absurd comparison, but the lady doth protest too much. Take for example, this quote from an obscure essayist which Dave Neiwert managed to dig up

Instead of sitting around, incessantly sniping at President Bush and the US Military, sipping "liberal coward broth", hating America and Conservatives, the wacko liberal poison Left-Wing Nuts and the rest of The Enemy Within should be rounded-up and put into "re-education camps" and forced to watch 24 hour, non-stop TV news footage of 9-11, Sodomy Insane's rape/torture/murder rooms and the unearthing of Iraqi mass graves. Those hard-core Lefty wacko filth who can't be converted, should be summarily tried and locked away for life; no chance of parole. They're a waste of oxygen and a "clear and present danger" to America, as is the murderous, degenerate cult of Islam. Free and unfettered speech is guaranteed under the First Amendment, but actively working and trying to destroy this Nation, in a time of war, when our very lives are in peril, is a treasonous and seditious offense, and should be treated as such, and punished by death. The much-maligned Patriot Act provides for that very situation, and should be implemented post haste. All verminous, hate-America, liberal-socialist-commie filth should be contained and selectively eliminated.
That's from a no name nobody extremist. But its not that far off from some more mainstream conservative thought.

When I have more time I may re-edit this and address the Christianity versus Islam aspect of her review.

*Although he does attempt to blow up another.
** There is some moral ambiguity that the movie acknowledges. Several of the deaths V causes seem more out of revenge than out of necessity. V, however, recognizes that he is part of a violent system and in the end dies by his own choice with the government that is overthrown.


V for Vendetta said...

Great quote from Voltaire. Will see V tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hell, morons like her felt compelled to try and defend the Empire from Star Wars a couple years ago, figuring that anything that even vaguely resembles Dear Leader's administration - or at least is compared that way by liberals - requires them to fall into line, no matter how ridiculous it makes them look.

bradford said...

I laughed, I cried, the purity of observational points (of view) allow projections by the need for emotional justification, which ever side. Bias will project bias, such is conservative "journalism"

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, we will become the light of truth that drives out the darkness of tyranny to change the world.