Random thoughts and observations taken from my notes on V For
--Vendetta begins with two people (V and Evey) donning their
particular costumes, while the radio announcer (The Voice of Fate) spews the government's carefully composed (and articulated) propaganda. In the second frame of the first page, a sign reading: FOR YOUR PROTECTION can be plainly seen. This is the summation of all of history's most dispicable despotic regimes. Anything, everything, can be craftily justified by those infamous, deceptive words. Convince a people they
NEED protection and safety, and you can rationalize the most unspeakable acts or policies or "laws". Chance and whim and "ups and downs"---freedom---slips from the people's hands, into the hands of the "guardian" government (who shall protect, in exchange for the citizenry's soul). Even Adam Susan (the Leader) says: "The freedom to die, the freedom to live in a world of chaos. Should I allow that freedom? I think not. I think not." (Oh yeah?)
--Ben Franklin (the genius) said: "They that give up essential liberty
to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--The third frame zooms in on the sign (which is apparently one of many) and we can see the inevitable camera. Privacy is antiquated. Without
privacy, subversive activity of any kind is almost impossible. So far, Moore has set up a somewhat typical scenario.
--The most telling device in the opening pages, however, is the text of
the radio address. Notice that the first announcement pertains to the weather: the exact start and stop times of the rain, the exact temperatures. Today the weather seems to be the dominate attraction to the news. Along with the other pablum the public craves (rather than substantial issues and crucial reports), the weather is the probably the
number one concern of the average citizen before herding off to work.
--Notice the announcement of "terrorist" activity. "Terrorist" threat
is a popular (and effective) ploy for centralized governments. The fear of the unknown, of death, of RANDOMNESS, horrifies the people, making them malleable and susceptible to increased government controls and actions. One might harken to Hitler's incessant reference to Communist and Polish terrorists, while the Nazis themselves staged such events to garner more public support for "safety measures". A perceived outside threat validates the government's might. Consider the results of the dubious Oklahoma City Bombing and other fishy tragedies in America's recent history. Who benefits??? (An excellent depiction of a State fuelled by fear can be found in Terry Gilliam's early-1980s black comedy Brazil).
Interesting that later, we meet Codename:V, who employs terrorism to jostle the public awake. He also employs rather extreme methods of shaping Evey into a freedom fighter. So, Moore gives us a character, an attractive character, who also could be considered a murderer and a sociopath.
--As today, Vendetta's England focuses on glamour and a hollow positivism. And, of course, as is required in all mass control regimes: "We remind you that tomorrow is the final date for the completion of your CENSUS FORMS".
--I have parted ways with the homosexual/black/Communist eradication premise of Moore's nightmare, however. My reason is simply that such a
trend DOES NOT exist today. The several derogatory references to gays and blacks and Communists by Vendetta's characters (such as Dascomb and Prothero) have become forbidden utterances in today's "tolerant" tyranny of political correctness. (Funny that a multitude of homosexuals comprised the Nazi leadership, while they are popularly known as gay haters.) Rather than a true, laudable change of heart in the world of bigotry, thought and opinion (right or wrong) has been suppressed and demonized. So, a FAKE tolerance is negatively encouraged by the threat of public smearing, stigmas, misinterpreted sound bites, etc. (Hatred is wrong. But WHY?)
--Moore's England had become a nation using "morality" to control
people---when, in reality, at present, morality is discouraged for the same goal. Without guides civilization melts down. A false morality, political correctness, is the dangerous replacement. The only recourse is the State. What the State sanctions is moral. (Remember, one of the major books outlawed in Brave New World was the Bible---since it focused on the worth of the INDIVIDUAL over the whole.)
--(further thoughts on eradication subject above) Today, black and gay culture is anything BUT eradicated---or even threatened. The government has so exploited race and sexual division, the distinction is too ingrained to ever result in mass extermination.
And one must admit that in today's cosmopolitan and "diverse" world, Communism is not viewed as the threat it used to be. In fact, there exists a dangerous complacency toward its present power. Remember the leaders of the major Communist regimes and their atrocities. Truly, the physical manifestation of such an ideology yields terror, rather than well-intentioned cooperation and harmony. (More evidence, by the way, is surfacing on McCarthy's accuracy on MANY of the conspiracies, etc. The burial "from within" is still alive.)
--The new order is a body: the Ear, the Nose, the Finger, the Head, etc. V is for . . . virus. He (whoever he is) is a renegade inhabitant of that body, rebelling and poisoning the mainstreamed, controlled blood. His explosions and quick murders upset the body's "health". And like a virus, V tends to risk "innocent" parties in his mission: blowing up a building that contained a variety of individuals. Vengeance seems to justify his cool murder of Delia. The prison torture of Evey: a means justifying end? There is much about V to cause contempt, as there is much to cause affection. We root for him because he represents liberty (actually, anarchy) in the face of those who...would play God, or Fate.
He's the Renaissance Rebel, the Enlightened Libertine, the Witty Hero, the Self-Educated Errol Flynn. Observe his book collection: from Mein
Kamf to Utopia. (Also a book on the French Revolution---a bloody,
ruthless blind aim for liberty resulting in guideless mayhem and slaughter. Such a revolution is just as sick as Norsefire's.)
--V is "one solitary lunatic". Whenever an Order seeks to suppress
conflicting ideologies, it tends to label the "enemy" as crazy or mentally awry---often blaming such views as the fantasies of a lone lunatic. Usually, mysterious bombings or random murder sprees "turn out" to be a solitary "nut" who hated society, or something to that effect.
--Also, it's easier to destroy an individual rather than a crowd. As
Descartes asserted, individuals have performed more wonders than groups
have. Jesus' parable of the lost sheep is an illustration of individual
worth over collective worth. (See *Saving Private Ryan*.) Why is
numerical, impersonal identification the norm in despotic States? It
"equalizes" and reduces the individual to a cog in a massive machine.
Prothero's beloved dolls are more precious to him than real people. They
don't think, or talk back, or rebel, or demand identity.
--Equality (of intellect, creativity, ability, earnings, socialization)
does not exist on a physical level. It CAN'T exist in freedom. Worth-wise, spiritually, we assert our equality. But under despotisms (fascist or communist), we are equally beholden to the almighty State, nothing else. The rabble-rousers, such as V, are hunted and wiped out, if possible. But...the IDEA, the SPIRIT, lives on.
--Norsefire moved in after a time of great unrest, chaos, riots, etc.
Modeled after Nazism, the new regime of "right-wingers" got to work on the "unsavory" elements. Again, an astute writer like Moore mistakes Nazism (a barbaric brand of socialism) as pure right wing fanaticism. Today, many so-called right wing ideologues tend to defend Rights and Liberty over homogenizing social programs, deceptive feudalism under "democratic" guises, and Big Government. (This is not to say that such
things aren't championed in Republican circles.)
--Nazism was the rebellion against the old Republic. Its lack of
democracy is not its worst characteristic.
[Even America is not a democracy (which is both impossible, and a
possible seed for tyrannical majority), but a Constitutional Representative Republic. The power, intentionally, lies in the People, not the Government. With sheer democratic roots, blood-thirsty dictators can (and have) risen. ]
The key term in relation to Norsefire is "uniformity of thought".
Political correctness goes in this direction. Whether by coercion, propaganda, or brainwashing, the opinions of the State reign. Hate crime is now coexistent with thought crime. We forget that all opinions should be freely expressed (unless they involve death threats, etc.). John Locke said that unimpeded opinions could, if anything, show asinine or hateful sentiments for the foolish things they are. That's why scum like the Klan or black hate groups are allowed to rally. It is obvious to wise people that they are horribly in error. But, as long as they don't threaten another's life or privacy or reputation, they're permitted to exist. Political "correctness" is often not correct. In fact, it is a tool of power, not true kindness or concern.
--Vendetta is dramatic. V is a dramatic creature, juiced on
Shakespeare, music, performance, costume. Drama implies UN-safety. Without bad things and occurrences, without whim and chance and self-reliance, drama could NOT exist. In a utopia, literature would perish. Where would it grow? Flowers grow best from dung-rich soil. Dung purposefully swept away by intrusive State hacks eliminates . . . life. (This is a stretch, but I noticed that V made explosives from fertilizer, ultimately FREEING himself and coming to rebel against an evil regime. From base fertilizer came...drama and life-affirmation!) Just as apex is needed in sex, so is "needed" a somewhat capricious environment. And law? What does that become in a totalitarian society? A myth. "Justice is meaningless without freedom," says V.
--I wonder about Delia's description of V's revealed face as "beautiful". In her journal, written during Larkhill, she says he's "ugly". Hmmm. (Delia's murder, by V, is quite complicated. In a sense, she deserves it. But, in another sense, V seems quietly heartless---but WITH heart.)
--I like what Delia tells V before dying: "People are stupid and evil.
There's something wrong with us. Some hideous flaw..."
--V (as prisoner in Room 5) is described as having no defects---save
--The yearning for Valerie Page is drama. Page dealt in drama.
Romance. A deep love that V holds. He "hangs on" to "gone" things: Page, good music (particularly black talents), literature, etc.
--I see the "Storm Saxon" device, but disagree with its relevance today (or even in the early 1990s). Such blatant racism would NEVER be allowed
- -V's television pirating is self-explanatory, really. The appearance
of Buddha perplexes me, however. The examples of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini are on target as scum. "Who elected them?"---a telling question!
--Finch is intelligent, perceptive, speculative. I think he would
sympathize with V--maybe even gravitate to his cause--if not for V murdering Delia, his former lover.
--He is reading Roots Of Coincidence by Koestler. Interesting, though I haven't read the book.
--Early in *Vendetta*, V performs a magic trick: the vanishing
rabbit---then the vanishing cage. Foreshadows Evey's purgation, the
vaporizing of her mental "cage". Her fear of freedom is also eradicated.
V tells her: "You're afraid because freedom is terrifying." And:
"Happiness is the most insidious prison of all." (I always think of the
beaming, disgusting Hitler youth, or the happiness/soma addicts of *Brave
New World*.) Ignorance, indeed, is bliss.
--A cute thing: Noticed the Leader of this new order is named
Adam---while the "leader" of the new order of opposition (founded by V) is
named Evey. (Adam and Eve(y))
--I'm uncomfortable with Adam Susan's breakdown with Fate. I can't
pinpoint it, but it bothers me. Contrived? I'm not sure.
--Rose's fate seems inevitable. She is bludgeoned by the system that
stole her life (including her stupid husband).
--Funny that even the proponents of the system really HATE the tools of the system, namely the surveillance. Notice Conrad's wife's (Helen's) defiance before the camera she deems obsolete. Also, the power and vigor of sex is a symbol used to spite control and order (as in 1984).
--Of course, V is doomed---physically. But, as he tells Finch, "Ideas are bulletproof." (Like Rorschach's journal in Watchmen.) In Evey, a different (perhaps more warm) alternative will carry on against the crumbling system.
--Ironic that after Finch rejects Helen, she calls him a "queer". We
come back to the persistent "homophobia" of the regime. Finch solemnly ignores her and walks off. He's now severed from the order. I think he will redeem himself by adding to the resistance---or, at least, not participating in it anymore. I like Finch.
--I don't like Evey as the "new V". Maybe that's because I know who she is, what she looks like, etc. Most of V's allure was his mystery, his anonymity.
I could say much more about V For Vendetta, but will leave it at this for now.
---D. Herrle 2000