The Conversation

Acceptable villainy

In response to Hollywood's Favorite Villain: The Businessman:

I'm having a hard time thinking of a recent big movie that didn't feature an evil businessman as the villain.  Now that Hollywood's other acceptable farm team of evil, the neo-Nazi, is looking a bit long in the tooth, it's pretty much all they've got left.

Case in point: an extremely popular current movie that appears to involve a struggle against terrorism, but turns out to be about - wait for it - the machinations of an Evil Businessman, who is merely using the terrorist as a puppet.  Said film didn't even have the guts to make the phony terrorist resemble real-world terrorists.

I just managed to slog through "Cloud Atlas" on home video, and in all but one of its time-hopping segments, the villains are Evil Businessmen.  The one exception is the segment set in an era where there isn't enough civilization necessary to sustain the commerce necessary to sustain Evil Businessmen, so we have to make do with cannibals instead.

Given that Hollywood is, itself, dominated by businessmen who are noted for their shark-like behavior, this could be a fusion of leftist ideology, self-loathing, and the difficulty of building antagonism around any sin other than greed, for audiences who have been taught to accept the other six, at least conditionally.


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