Greg Cox wrote:
You're right, a single line or reference in a movie can stick in the craw despite what the rest of the film intends.
I once got an angry three-page letter (by snail mail!) because of one throwaway line of dialogue that poked fun at Ronald Reagan.
And I was once accused of being "anti-God" because I set one scene in a gay bar.
Well I guess it's possible that no matter what you do in your film or book, you may well insult someone, somewhere!
You've probably got people who refused to watch DS9 because it showed another religion, people who turned away from Doctor Who and Torchwood because of Captain Jack Harkness, households that banned Xena because of the subtext. There's a reason that many gay movie and TV stars used to take great efforts to hide their sexuality from the public.
Back to the Private Ryan example there was a furor in the UK when two characters criticized Montgomery. Well, guess what? American soldiers DID criticize Montgomery! Well, should a writer avoid characters using dialogue that people may disagree with, but is right for the characters?
I may see a movie and think "cool" whereas someone else may want all copies gathered together and publicly burned!