Next Friday V for Vendetta opens in theaters nationwide. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, the hero is a terrorist who blows up buildings and assassinates political leaders in an alternate reality world where the British government is vaguely fascist. Okay, nobody expects Hollywood to get behind our president, or the war in Iraq, but is it too much to ask that occasionally a studio make a movie in which the terrorists are the bad guys? This isn’t moral relativism; it’s moral inversion.
In the late 1930s, to help gin up support for rearmament and a more internationalist foreign policy, the Roosevelt administration pressured the big Hollywood studios into making anti-Nazi and pro-military films. If they didn’t, the administration vaguely hinted, there might be a need to nationalize the motion picture industry in the name of national security. Would that be too much to ask for today?