Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 22:16:53 -0500
Subject: RE: OBSERVATIONS ON *V FOR VENDETTA* by D.
Hello, D. My apologies for taking, oh, TWO WEEKS, to reply to you. Once again life has kept me too busy to take the time I want to have to properly respond to your thoughts. Forgive me for not responding to your comments about the Papacy. It was certainly interesting, and I fully enjoyed reading them, but to be honest I couldn't think of much to add to that train of thought.
V, of course, is a completely different story. Forgive me for not touching on every comment. I enjoyed them all. If I don't respond to it, please take it to mean a complete agreement with what you wrote and not a purposeful omission of my part. Anyway, on with the show, eh...
Your close reading of the opening chapter to V is phenomenal. You did an excellent job of nailing all the points Moore was trying to make. Funny that I read your comment on Census forms having recently received and filled the US's own forms.
Your talk of the radio's news items, the triviality of the Queen's outfit and the detail about the weather; the parallels are easy to make today when Madonna's child is front page news, and the New York Post feels insinuating an incestuous relationship between Angelina Jolie and her brother is the best thing they can do for news. When Network news have their own theme songs, it's no wonder entertainment is paramount in news, not information.
Your mentioning Brazil brought back some wonderful memories. I first saw the film in my senior English class in High School. Not to sound _too_ elitist (too late!) but I remember being one of the few kids in the class who actually GOT the jokes.
(Hmmm. I wonder how possible a close analysis between Brazil and V would hold up? On the surface, the two seem at odds. V's vendetta brings about a change in reality, while Pryce could only triumph by escaping it. Yet, if Pryce freedom was obtained by a state of mind, was not V's also? After all, the Larkhill experiment changed _his_ reality as well....)
Wonderful analogy about Norsefire as a body and V as a virus (V for Virus!). That Norsefire had the Head, Ear, Nose, and Mouth always nagged me, but I never connected the dots until you did it for me. Brilliant!
I have to disagree with your ideas about the "eradication" of cultures and ideas. While, as we've talked before, the overt threat to a specific way of life is far and few between, the subtler means are still active. Witness Mayor Guilliani's lovely race relations this past year (I live near NYC so forgive me if my references are so East Coast!)
I also disagree about the "utter forbiddance" you speak of regarding certain ideas. Granted, few people can get away with calling someone a nigger to their face these days, but the views that fuel that word exist as strongly as ever. I see it in my friends, my parents, and even myself. Again, pointing back to our earlier discussion of "tolerance" . . . or, as George Carlin to aptly put it: "Nobody cares when Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy say the word "nigger". They're niggers!!"
You ask why it is wrong to hate. Barring the karmic need for balance in this world, I have to ask you: Why would it be OK to hate?
I think you've only just scratched the surface in the hypocrisy that V seems to have, though. As I wrote on my website, a friend once told me that V was most definitely mad. Indeed, he seems the very sociopathic, cold-blooded murderers that he fought. He manipulates to his own ends and answers to nobody, not even Evey--and considering her importance, if there was anyone to let understand the _need_ for his actions, it would be her.
You point out that the French revolution, calling it as sick and bloody as Norsefire's. But think of it conversely: how many people did V kill, or let die, to further HIS revolution? If the streets did not run red with blood it was because the explosions V caused evaporated most of the corpses. He reads the biography of the greatest despot (or at least one of) the 20th century--whose regime Moore obviously referenced in his creation of Norsefire. Yet it is doubtless V read Mein Kampf most studiously. To better understand his enemy? Or, like Nietzsche and Kovacs, could even V not escape the risk of what happens when you battle monsters?
Interesting comment about Nazism. You say it was a rebellion against the old Republic. I thought it was the gestalt of one man in the right time taking all the anger and resentment of a people who lost their pride and then twisting it into a dark mirror of revenge and genocide. Nazi's had nothing to do with politics, it was merely a means to an end. (This though, could lead to one outrageous discussion of the difference between politics and society; I apologize if I blurred the lines just to make a point) and I think it's a mistake to presume Moore saw it in that light, or in that light only. At it's most basic level, Nazism represented intolerance, genocide, oppression. This Moore echoes perfectly with Norsefire. I think, once you start dealing with democracy vs. freedom vs. fascism vs. anarchy, Moore went to his own mind and left the similarities between Norsefire's rule and the Nazi party's rule to be found or rejected solely by the reader.
Your thoughts about Delia and the Drama that V makes are very insightful. I think Delia's contradictory statements regarding V's face can just as easily be chalked up as an illustration of how Delia changed over time, from being a drone working for the party ("just following orders") to someone more individual.
The ambiguity over her murder is yet another unanswerable dilemma regarding V. Did she deserve to die? She felt so . . . dying for her own sins (hmmm....) . . . did V kill her because he wanted her to die or because SHE wanted to?
"You see, Evey, all the world's a stage and everything else . . . is Vaudville."
There is no drama in Norsefire's England. Fate coolly reads the matter of fact news. The Queen wore a peach dress. Ooh, ahh. Be still my heart. Actors have often been outlaws. Theater, at it's best, can start revolutions (witness some of the theater in the 1920's and '30s. Look at the riots caused by plays and ballets upon their first performances. What are the odds a revival of Grease is going to cause a riot?) Drama is essential to life. As Dave Sim wrote in parody but also truth: CONFLICT! CREATES! CHARACTER!! Little surprise Valerie would be an actress. Only a free spirit could be a suitable role model for V.
I agree, that Finch would sympathize with V much more if not for Delia's death. Perhaps, that is also why she had to die. Interesting, that Finch had his own transforming experience, much like Evey and V him(her?)self. But, similarly to Evey, he could not kill. Would not. (But he did kill V. Or did V let himself die? Like Delia...)
Hmmm, I sense a deliberate connection here. Did Delilah want to die? If she wanted to live, would V have killed her? Did V want to die? If he wanted to live he could have certainly avoided Finch. Finch, who could very easily side with V if not for Delilah's murder, transforms himself, influenced by V; much like V transformed himself, influenced by Valerie. And Finch's "killing" of V, as V "killed" Delilah.... I think there's ample room for expansion; any comments?
I agree that Susan's deterioration rings false. I consider it a bit of a weak spot, myself, if nothing else than because it felt so incredibly rushed. Given the resolution in Susan's monologue during "versions", it seems odd that a mere "I love you" would cause him to crack.
I personally liked Every as the new V. I actually used the same idea (and I think it was done before I had even read Vendetta--or at least it wasn't consciously done with Vendetta in mind) in a story I wrote where the hero, who wore a mask, died, but his allies adopted the mask so that the ideas behind it could live on.
Every is V but not V, something she makes clear in her final monologue. I think she HAS to be different than V, because his time had come. Like Moses, he could see the promised land, but not enter it. Also, while the reader no longer has the sense of mystery surrounding who V is, the people of V's world still do; they don't know the difference. That we do was probably so we could have a sense of closure with some of the characters more than anything else. At least, that's one theory.
Well, I think that's about it. Again, thank you so much for the volumes of observations you've shared with me. I found them all insightful. I probably would have acknowledged them all if I had another two hours to spare. :) Hopefully I've done you some justice with my own views.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Hopefully I won't take as long next time...