"Left Behind" for Lefties? (V for Vendetta)

When I was in high school, it was muy uncool to like comic books. I still remember hanging out at Albertson’s grocery store before or after a shift reading comics on the rack. One of the “cool” guys with the fab preppie name of Jonathan John walked by with his girlfriend and sarcastically inquired about the fortunes of Archie and Jughead. I didn’t bother to say I was busy reading Crisis on Infinite Earths. Besides, I kinda like Archie and Jughead, too.

Given my background, one might not be surprised to know that I’ve read the original comic version of V for Vendetta, which is now a film in theatres. I didn’t like the comic that much, largely because it imagines a post-nuclear scenario in which a group of men who are basically skinheads in suits and with better haircuts have taken control of the government of England. The message is typical left-wing fantasy: Conservatives are waiting to really unveil their true colors and start liquidating anyone of African descent, artists, gays, and fashion designers. Oh, and they’ll also have a concentration camp because it fits their brutal aesthetic.

I haven’t seen the film, though I probably will at some point, but hearing from a friend and reading the review by Peter Suderman at NRO indicates it may be worse than I thought. Same ugly message about conservatives, but instead of a post-nuclear scenario the conservatives have taken over post-extensive terror war operations. Thus, the conservative dystopia is updated to take in George W. Bush. How enchanting.

After some thought, I’ve concluded this genre is Left Behind for secularist lefties, except Lennon-like there’s no heaven after the “good” guys win. But I’ll tell you what, there’ll be free porn for EVERYBODY! Except, that is, for the Intoleranti who shall be lying in a pool of their own unenlightened blood!

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6 thoughts on “"Left Behind" for Lefties? (V for Vendetta)

  1. “I didn’t like the comic that much, largely because it imagines a post-nuclear scenario in which a group of men who are basically skinheads in suits and with better haircuts have taken control of the government of England.”

    And yet you appear to have not understood it. The focus of the comic book is the actions of V, who engages in wholesale slaughter, terrorism, torture, and psychological manipulation for a “just cause.” The real import of “V for Vendetta” is the question of whether or not V’s actions are justified by his goal or just disgusting acts of retribution with a questionable moral foundation. Alan Moore, “V for Vendetta’s” writer, divested himself from the whole enterprise, so disgusted was he with the final product.

    To anyone who watched the latter two-thirds of the Matrix trilogy and its fumbling attempts at philosophical inquiry, it should come as no surprise that the Wachowski Brothers completely botched translating the graphic novel to film. They mistakenly believed that in order for the film to be relevant, it had to mirror today’s political climate. They forgot that one of the reason’s for the book’s continued success is that the original subject matter (written during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure in the UK) has as much relevance today as it did twenty years ago.

  2. The comic is focused on V, but doesn’t his girl pal carry out his bidding in the end and isn’t it sort of glorious in its conception? He’s clearly a bit mad, but I think he is also portrayed as basically doing the right thing.

  3. “The comic is focused on V, but doesn’t his girl pal carry out his bidding in the end and isn’t it sort of glorious in its conception?”

    The dynamic of V’s relationship to Elayne is the most disturbing part, quite deliberately. That’s where the psychological manipulation comes in, where V’s actions venture from the morally questionable to the morally repugnant. Moore is positing the larger question of whether or not our well-deserved feelings of victory at the fall of a totalitarian regime ultimately excuse his repugnant methods. V is unquestionably doing the right thing; Moore is asking us if that just goal justifies the acts taken to resolve it.

  4. I did wonder a bit at the part (spoiler alert) where V pretends to be the government and keeps the girl captive for an extended period under torture just to see if she would sell him out.

  5. “I did wonder a bit at the part (spoiler alert) where V pretends to be the government and keeps the girl captive for an extended period under torture just to see if she would sell him out.”

    That’s not why he does it. He does it because that was his path to freedom and he subjects her to it so she’ll be free as well. The point being freedom is not something given or taken, it is only ever decided. She has decided she is a slave (subconsciously) so she is, and after a chance to prove that she can choose to be free (and failing) he puts her through hell. He takes every last thing from her that he can take. Because what is left, “the last inch” is her and hers alone, and it is the only thing that ever mattered.

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