Wednesday, November 9, 2011

V for Vendetta (Possibly with Spoilers)

How awful is it that I have to type "vendetta" into the googlemachine before I will believe I've spelled it correctly?

Awkward segue (another word I can't spell): V for Vendetta is a good movie. I saw it once, years ago (probably when I lived in Scranton), and I remember being disliking it. I had read the book first, and while I didn't love the book, my memory tells me that the movie is a shadow of the book.

But I watched it again last weekend (on the fifth of November) with friends and fudge and pumpkin roll, and I found it to be pretty enjoyable.

I picked up on some details I hadn't noticed before/ forgotten, like everyone dead being part of the end mob, and I also empathized more with the powerlessness of the masses necessitating the use of violence.

To connect to a half-thought I'd had in a post earlier this week, I think we can measure our own growth as people in the transformation of our reaction to re-viewing a work of art. I'm pretty firmly anti-violence, but I'm at a point in my life where I can imagine the need for NON-nonviolent resistance to government. This surprises me.

That said, I still object to the essential premise of V for Vendetta: that people are sheep, easily cowed, who will choose secure misery over freedom (in all it's messy, dangerous fun). I can't imagine that people who ever debase themselves to such a level that they yield complete control back to (effectively) a pharaoh (another word I apparently can't spell). I think people will always be interested in rising up against hegemony.

That's what I see in Occupy Wall Street, in the Arab Spring, in this summer's London riots, and other places around the world. The idea of democracy is a funny thing: the feeling that I possess a crucial, consensual stake in the world around me; the belief that I have the right and the responsibility to make my voice heard even if, or especially if, I am in the minority.

I see history as the progression of communication: the development of language, then the development of means to convey that language around the world. With word goes thought, and the human word is "I." I matter, I have a voice, I deserve to be heard. I see all of history pointing to the expansion of power in include more people, not an ebb and flow of power among the elite who may alternatively protect and enslave the rabble. I think Alan Moore (plus Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, and other giants of the graphic novel world) miss the power of communication as a (nearly) irreversible force.

1 comment:

  1. I have watched (and enjoyed) V for Vendetta three or four times and my take-home from the experience was a little different. I never read the book, so your interpretations are likely to be much more nuanced than mine, but here are some stray thoughts:

    I did not think that "people are sheep, easily cowed, who will choose secure misery over freedom" was what was necessarily being conveyed. In life, as in the movie, I think that there is an element of truth to that, but it is only a part of a bigger picture.

    When faced with danger and chaos, freedom was suspended to restore order and safety. From Julius Caesar to the Patriot Act, this has been pretty consistent with human nature. However, I contend that this, in and of itself, is not an indictment of people.

    People want to be free and live a life outside an inherently wasteful and oppressive big government, it is just a monumental task to affect change on your own. Government is a centralized, organized, hierarchical machine, making it almost impossible for an individual to make a difference. The real change happens when the individuals can be galvanized by common ideals, and it usually happens all at once.

    On the second November 5th, the people of England did not stay in their homes because they were afraid of the government, they damned the risks and marched to Parliament. All that they needed was for V to bring them together and tip the odds back in their favor.

    And that is an encouraging thought, no?

    Congratulations on the blog. I look forward to reading.