Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 23:26:40 -0400
Subject: RE: TO V OR NOT TO V...
Hi, D. It's only been a week since you wrote me, so I think I'm still doing better in response time than my previous letter. :)
Your thoughts regarding race, hatred, law, and society were insightful as always, and once again you've given me much to think about. I think that over all I can find little here to disagree, and, as you, topics like this can be discussed ad infinitum, so perhaps it's best if I too let the topics rest for the time being. Besides, I'm sure we'll find other things to talk about as we discuss V further.
(As a complete aside, our talks have made me think of something. I think it's safe to presume that, like me, you are white/Caucasian/honky/whatever you feel like calling it. I also would have to say, with one notable exception, all my correspondence regarding V seem to be with other whites. While this may be proportionally accurate given that comics, like most mediums in America, are dominated by whites, it makes me curious to think what a non white person would think of V, and it's philosophical implications. Would they be any different?)
But, getting back to Vendetta, I eagerly await your thoughts about what I wrote. I think you've definitely tapped into something, though, when you mention the Christ-like behavior of many heroes who feel the need to die, or that it us all right to die, even as others, as you pointed out, moan and mourn the loss.
I'm reminded of two things: Beowulf, and Alan Moore's introduction to The Dark Knight Returns. Firstly, with Beowulf, how important is was for Beowulf to die, and for his heir to come to his rescue (and though I just finished reading a very interesting comic-book adaptation of Beowulf, I'm blanking on who Beo's successor was). I remember discussing in English class how, at the time, it was necessary for the story to have such an ending, with the hero dying and someone taking his place, because it fit the culture. The story was told in a society which understood the transience of life and the need for a continuing cycle of beginnings and endings.
I then remember Alan Moore discussing legends and how essential it is that all the great legends deal with the hero's death: Robin Hood firing that last arrow, Arthur falling in his confrontation with Mordred, Gilgamesh … even the Bible includes the end of the world (as do most great religious mythology's). It seems a necessity that heroes understand that sooner or later their time is done. That if they truly wish to change their world, they too must face the time when the changes will go on without them.
And we--you, I, and all the other moans and mourners--sit and cry over that persons passing because (and though this may seem derogatory, it isn't meant so) we just don't get it. Or, more accurately, we don't see that change cannot stop. We root for the hero because we side with his or her ideals, but ultimately we aren't prepared for the moment when those ideals lose their relevance and context, as all ideals and philosophies do at some point (whether its a year, or five, or five thousand). We're comfortable with only SO MUCH change, we like our happily-ever-afters, with the stories STOPPING, but not ENDING. Meanwhile the "true" hero (and boy is this a loaded statement) understands that things can never really end as long as they don't stop.
Ah, and I just received your latest e-mail about A Clockwork Orange. I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I have not read the book, nor seen the movie. It's right up there on my Movies To Watch Before I Die list, with The first two Godfathers and Casablanca.
Still, I think this will do for now. I'm in desperate need of sleep, anyway, and rather than continue until my sentences become one rambling run on with no real ending or beginning just nearly incomprehensible babblings of one topic to another, 'cause don't you just hate when that happens...
I bid you a fond good night, and look forward to your reply. :)