V for Vendetta: Imaginary Dictatorships and Fake Bravery, Victimhood

Written by commonsensejournal on April 26th, 2006

“Blowing up a building can change the world” –V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is not a bad movie in itself. If you watch the context of the movie, V is simply defending himself against a dictatorship, which definitely could be argued for. There are some true evil villains in the movie, like the perverted priest.

But V for Vendetta was not made in a complete vacuum, separate from our real world; in fact, many of the people involved with the project compare the movie to the current world. The dictatorship is run by “arch-conservatives,” and their symbol looks a lot like the Christian Cross, except an extra horizontal line (perhaps to throw people off?).

MTV.com has more with Hugo Weaving, the star who plays V (and also Mr. Smith in the Matrix), producer Joel Silver, and the director:

“This government is Stalin’s Russia, or Hitler’s Germany, or Franco’s Spain,” Silver says. Filmgoers, however, might be forgiven for asking  in light of the script’s ominous talk of “rendition” and a protracted war on terror whether the filmmakers also take aim at America under George W. Bush.

“I would say so,” says Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix,” “The Lord of the Rings”), who brings V’s emotions to life in the film, despite acting the entire time behind a coldly grinning mask.

“The term ‘terrorist’ is the kind of label we stick on people when we don’t want to understand why they’re doing things,” Weaving says.

“One man’s terrorist,” adds Silver, “is another man’s freedom fighter.”

According to director James McTeigue, “It depends on the regime you’re fighting against. It depends on whether you consider the founding fathers of America terrorists. Or Nelson Mandela. Or Che Guevara.”

Right. America’s founding fathers did not go around blowing up marketplaces, beheading innocent civilians (or soldiers); they didn’t call for assassination of people just because of a political opinion or cartoon. They didn’t protest by bombing groups of shoppers; they threw tea into the Boston Harbor. Mandela did not rape or “honor kill” women, and he did not walk into a disco or pizza place with a bomb belt on. And yes, Che Guevera was a terrorist (he murdered innocent people). In fact, Che was a totalitarian, the very type of person V is supposed to be against.

Some reviews have been more based on common sense, given the implied connections to our world. The New Yorker’s David Denby called V for Vendetta “a dunderheaded pop fantasia that celebrates terrorism and destruction.” Time writer Lev Grossman asked, “Who thought this was a good idea?” Kurd Loder called these reviews “grumpy.”

But Loder has more about the awkward (and imaginary and totally ridiculous I might add) Bush parallels:

In adapting his story, which was written back in the 1980s, the Wachowski Brothers have awkwardly imposed upon it a very contemporary, Hollywood-style anti-Bush agenda. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, of course ? millions may cheer. But the attempted visual link at one point between the Bush and the Nazi eras, and the Red State-baiting observation (not present in Moore’s original story) that the dictator Sutler started out as a devoutly religious conservative, are strained and ungainly. As Moore suggests in his interview, if the Wachowskis had had the courage of their convictions, they would have relocated the story to this country and mounted a full-frontal assault on their target. That would have been honest, at least.

The very attractive but disappointing Natalie Portman also defends the movie, asking “how do we define terrorism?” She seems to be on for the ride but at least not as nutty as Weaving.

What this is all about: The politics of victimhood and imaginary dictatorships

The parrallels to the Bush administration are ridiculous. Bush is not Hitler or Mussolini or Stalin. In America, you can protest, practice free speech, assemble and make an idiot out of yourself all you want. It’s offensive and disgusting to attempt to make such a correlation between the Nazi regime and people who believe in a higher power or like traditional values. I am sad at the loss of innocent life from the Iraq War, but the answer is not to defend killing of innocent civilians in Western countries: in fact, it’s evil. But Bush-bashing and comparing conservatives to fascists is not the only ignorant aspect of this movie. It’s just another example of the politics of victimhood.

It’s strange, but when real victims, like those of terrorism, or those of the perverted NAMBLA organization, are hurt, often leftists don’t rally around the victims for justice like conservatives do, but instead defend the perpetrator of the crime. They defend the terrorists, and they defend the criminal perverts (like ACLU did with NAMBLA, a criminal organization that advocates relations between adult men and boys).

Leftists also like to think of themselves as “overcoming oppression,” but without all the hard work of being under actual oppression to begin with. They also like to portray themselves as “brave,” but without offending anyone that would actually consider harming them for an opinion. Making a movie that bashes conservatives and compares them to fascists is not brave: in Hollywood, that’s called the status quo.

What is truly courageous? Making a documentary about a subject that can get you threatened (or killed, sadly), like Theo Van Gogh’s documentary about the oppression of women in Islam. He was shot and stabbed by an Islamic terrorist. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s leftist elite have not commented much on this horrific tragedy. Perhaps Hollywood could make a movie that portrays people living in fear of terrorism instead of fear of imaginary dictatorships: this would be based on reality. Instead, Hollywood makes movies about imaginary dictatorships to defend in real life the same method real fascists use today to intimidate people–killing innocent civilians.

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Here’s a mini-documentary about V for Vendetta. The YouTube.com version is online. It illustrates the insanity of defending terrorism and refusing to call the killers of innocent civilians “terrorists.” Please be aware that there is some disturbing footage of a crowd beating a “western sympathizer” and explosions of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They are not for entertainment, which would be evil, but to show the true evil of killing innocent civilians. It talks about “living in fear,” but the actors and producers fail to realize that people live in fear of terrorism, not the fear of dictatorships. The only fascism that is real today is the fascism of terrorists.

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