Guy Fawkes Day: Why ‘V for Vendetta’ is More Important Than Ever

Rabid Fish (CC)

Rabid Fish (CC)

Did you remember, remember the Fifth of November, disinfonauts? Well just in case you forgot, that means it’s Guy Fawkes Day. Michael Shammas tells us why Guy Fawkes and its modern day movie iteration V for Vendetta is more important than ever, at PolicyMic:

Warning: major spoilers below

Every Nov. 5 for the past few years, I’ve sat back with a few friends to watch V for Vendetta. While ostensibly we did this to commemorate Guy Fawkes Day, which marks the anniversary of British revolutionary Guy Fawkes’s attempt to blow up the Parliament in 1605, we really did it because everyone else was doing it, and we were bored.

But this Nov. 5, I expect I’ll be a bit more alert when I watch V. Why? Because the movie’s lessons are more important now than ever before.

Originally a graphic novel by Alan MooreV for Vendetta is set in a dystopian England where a revolutionary wearing a Guy Fawkes mask sets out to destroy a fascist party called Norsefire by convincing citizens to stand up and rule themselves.

The most important lesson that the movie teaches, is distilled by this scene, where V talks about how irrational fear has resulted in the sacrificing of liberty for security:

Additionally, this quote is a reminder of recent events:

“Where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others … but … truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now-High Chancellor … He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.” 

Because of fear, Americans — like the English citizens in — are trading our precious liberty in for a false sense of security. Sept. 11 happened, and it was horrible, but instead of reacting with resolve, we reacted with fear. We passed the so-called “Patriot” Act, which implied that anyone who disagreed with this utter trampling of the Bill of Rights was a traitor, or worse. We held people in prison without respecting habeas corpus. And so on…

[continues at PolicyMic]

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Most people are just aching to be told what to do. They not only don’t have the capacity for self-rule, but the very thought of it terrifies them.

    It all stems from existential dread. They can find no unassailably objective purpose in life–quite simply because here is none. And since most people correctly view themselves as peasants–or more in keeping with modern materialist philosophies, animals– ideals of beauty and harmony mean nothing to them either.

    Desperate for direction, they find reliable guidance only in terror. So that becomes really the only possible basis for a society comprised almost entirely of stupid cattle.

    It is a shame that those negligible few who are able to contemplate something beyond mere sh*tting and f*cking are doomed to suffer such exquisite agonies, but it seems to be part of the inherent order of the universe.

    Best we let nature take its course and breed this sort of self-indulgent contemplation out of the stock.

    • Simon Valentine

      there is no cow level

      i aim to misbehave

      1 + 1 = 2 is ‘apparently’ “faith in the bridge of complex manifolds” without regard to engineers, repair persons, or questioning pseudo inevitable decay, destruction, loss, and death. such an excuse as was never told, ad nauseum.

      no one can stop death

      .999_ + .999_ = ? “there is an eight on the end?” … “learn to add left to right instead of right to left”

      God in hand

      hell forever

      long live Galois

      beware Euler and Cantor

    • echar

      I can think of something more than doe eyed cowering, or bleeting.

      Indulgence or illumination, may hap illuminated indulgence.

    • thisbliss

      Safety in numbers a big factor. There’s a weird irony in how most go through school trying to fit in for fear of being different. Then spend the rest of life being ‘individual’ through the expression of their latest phone cover, number plate and clothing

      • InfvoCuernos

        It like a herd of zebras. They all look alike so they don’t stand out to the lions. The Japanese have a phrase ” The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” This is what we see now. Remember that it wasn’t too long ago that having a tattoo marked you as an “outsider”. Now you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some kid covered in tattoos, and all the same ones his buddies have. We just need to reach the tipping point where fighting against the govt. oppression is “in”. Since so many things needed to survive are so linked with the government now(have a job? govt. allows it, don’t have a job? govt. pays out your welfare check) that I think its going to take a lot of change to get us there. A lot of ugly unpleasant change.

  • Jeff Flynn

    Do you forget that Guy Fawkes was trying to install an oppressive theocracy?

    • Liam_McGonagle

      A chastening reminder. It’s a pity he didn’t succeed.

      But seriously, all memory is selective. So long as you are explicit about your choices, I don’t see any danger. Certainly far less danger, any ways, than in celebrating the thing as Divine Providence preserving the head of state against the intentions of wicked dissenters.

      • jnana

        not divine providence, but demiurgic providence

  • swabby429

    Complete, total freedom. The great majority of human beings are horrified at the prospect of such utter responsibility for their own lives. That’s why most of us have waived freedom, in favor of a cheap imitation of it.

  • Lookinfor Buford

    Those who rise to the level of education necessary to diplomatically rebuff the inevitable attack on our liberties are easily diverted into the comfortable existence that results from seizing upon the many opportunities available to them. Even those just above poverty live in relative comfort now, compared to times not so long ago. Even digging ditches all day and at least getting by, is better than lying down on the tracks ahead of this train. The train, meanwhile, the bloated government and corporations never cease to find ways to keep us all too busy for any dissent, the MSM being the epitome. This effect has and will continue to increase. Pharmaceuticals and script doctors, information fatigue, group think, political apathy, less incentive to relocate, entitlements, litigiousness, crackpot legislation, consciousness raising..

    Aldous was right.. we are witnessing, and are the victims of, the Ultimate Revolution.

    All your mind-bodies are belong to us.

    • Juan

      You know, I have to admit that as much as I rail against TPTB, I am in agreement with them on at least one thing, that is, that most people are really fucking stupid. Where I part company with them is in thinking that it is then okay to essentially treat them like any another exploitable resource. Hell, I don’t think it’s okay to treat our planet like an exploitable resource, much less people, no matter how dumb they are.

    • over2soon

      You think that it’s bad that the educated live in such conditions that blind them to the net coming down around them? What about all those poor saps who have to work multiple part-time jobs. Those are the ones who have no time to dissent, they barely have lives to fight for, but continue to march on for the sake of their families. They can’t afford to risk their livelihoods.

      Revolution might be sparked by the educated, but the poor are the armies worth recruiting.

      • emperorreagan

        I think the vast expansion of police forces and prison populations says, in part, that policy makers know exactly that.

      • Lookinfor Buford

        Hence the word ‘diplomatically’.. I was only referring to the first group as one ‘part’ of the equation. I agree with you

      • wcarver

        Revolutions are started by the disenfranchised elite playing on the grievances of the poor. Revolutions do not spontaneously arise from the masses.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      That assumes that an education would theoretically be useful in stopping the creeping authoritarianism, which is a debatable proposition, to say the least.

      Conceptually it may enable you to recognize the threat earlier, but “good breeding” forbids outright challenges of the sort that would be necessary to stop incipient fascism.

      Education never unambiguously serves “true knowledge”, because such a thing doesn’t exist. Pedagogy is always specifically crafted for its political/economic context; some types of information processing are ‘legitimate’ and others are not. ‘Education’ is the process of rendering the individual fit for the existing paradigm.

      Anyone foolish enough to present an actual challenge to that system is rendered ipso factual an “unmutual”; failed.

      • thisbliss

        ‘Education’ is the process of rendering the individual fit for the existing paradigm.
        Well said

        • Lookinfor Buford

          This describes indoctrination, which I agree does pass for education more and more nowadays, but not what I was referring to.

          • moremisinformation

            Yes. Please make a point to differentiate education, which is life-long and self-directed, from schooling, which is what the two of you were actually talking about.

            No need to put (air) quotes around education. Just say schooling.

            Carry on.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            The crucial difference is intrinsic to the individual, not the instructional paradigm. It’s whether the individual is capable of questioning information presented to him, and that is something that cannot come from without.

            All education is at least partially indoctrination, although a good deal, maybe most, is ALL indoctrination.

      • Simon Valentine

        lost templar in the dark and cold
        wisdom, death, and something bold
        how could it be he was so blunt
        now a valentinian beleaguered runt
        yet only in disguise not seen
        if only such eyes had never been
        so quickly fallen on lost templar
        impersonal treachery and scar
        personified by what we are
        twisted gloomy shadow war

        at dead nephelim’s mazen tomb he stood
        lamenting the fallen and the dead
        for enemies he wept
        and then we wept again

  • Rab Simpson

    It should be remembered that Fawkes’ intentions were to destroy parliament in order to set up a Catholic theocracy, so his reasons for wanting to overthrow government were really quite different to why we might want to today.

    • InfvoCuernos

      And we all know what would come with the catholic theocracy… The Spanish Inquisition! (honestly, how many people were expecting that!)

      • Punctuated Colon

        nobody expects…….

        ….ah fuck it!

        • The Well Dressed Man

          now we must poke you with the soft pillow.

          • Juan

            Or perhaps subject him to the comfy chair.

      • Rab Simpson

        Well played sir 😉

  • AManCalledDa-da

    The pronoun, “we,” is a bit overused above. “We” didn’t pass the U.S. Patriot Act. Our multimillionaire Congress did; the entire multi-thousand page “law” text suddenly appeared not two days after alphabet agencies from our own country performed the 9/11 dumb show, an act of treason. The good news is that the Powers-That-Were are now the ones who are afraid — because more and more of us know what happened. Their fear isn’t necessary, for if they just told the truth and stepped aside and allowed us citizens the opportunity to fix the problems that exist, without outside influences or greed, they’d find that we’re quite forgiving when everything turns out well for ALL of *us.*

  • Greg Burton

    Hate to break it to you, but “anonymous” is just another government
    controlled opposition, suckering you back into the matrix.

    The real Guy
    Fawkes was the product of British occult intelligence (Robert Cecil), the Illuminati,
    another example of the strategy of
    tension designed to destroy the reputation of Catholics, pit Catholicism
    against the Church of England, the aim to destroy the Christian faith.

    In fact, because the “V for Vendetta” focuses on Christian fundamentalism, not
    political Zionism, which is the evil conceived by Disraeli in the 19th
    century, it is obviously a red herring, a false trail leading right back
    into the globalist narrative.

    • ÿ

      Whoa. I wonder what Jay-Z has to say about all this…

  • Greg Burton

    Hate to break it to you, but “anonymous” is just another government controlled opposition, suckering you back into the matrix.

    The real Guy Fawkes was the product of British occult intelligence (Robert Cecil), the Illuminati, another example of the strategy of tension designed to destroy the reputation of Catholics, pit Catholicism against the Church of England, the aim to
    destroy the Christian faith.

    In fact, because the “V for Vendetta” focuses on Christian fundamentalism, not political Zionism, which is the evil conceived by Disraeli in the 19th century, it is
    obviously a red herring, a false trail leading right back into the globalist narrative.

    • Rab Simpson

      “the aim to destroy the Christian faith.”

      It appears to be doing a pretty good job of that by itself.

      “focuses on Christian fundamentalism, not political Zionism”

      You say this as if christian fundamentalists don’t support zionism (which millions of them do because they think it’ll bring about the second coming of a character they have zero good reasons to believe was ever here a first time).

  • The Well Dressed Man

    Was the graphic novel worth reading? The film was meh. Portman is almost as full of herself as the director must be. At least it wasn’t as awful as Watchmen, and I bet that comic was awesome. Not that I’ll ever read it. Fucking squares ruin everything. Aeon Flux sucked so bad that I can’t even watch the original series anymore. Prisoner remake? Won’t watch it. Doctor Who since Eccleston? Dreck. #getoffmylawn

    • flipdog

      Yes, yes it is. As good as the Watchmen, easy (both are flat out awesome).

      My decision to avoid the screen, both large and small, keeps getting reinforced by reports such as yours – I haven’t had those stories ruined for me.

      • ÿ

        But if we don’t support these terrible films based on awesome stories, then Hollywood will just make their terrible films based on terrible stories!

  • Jenn

    God bless Guy Fawkes!

  • ÿ

    I forgot to vote on the 5th. Do we haz revalooshin now¿?

  • Rab Simpson

    I should make you aware that I’m liberal and well read on numerous historical events. They say that facts have a liberal bias, that applies to history also. Liberals don’t make a habit of historical revisionism the way those on the right wing do.

  • Rab Simpson

    I don’t need to try, my credibility doesn’t suffer when I present facts. If you’d like an example of right wing historical revisionism, how does holocaust denial grab you? What about American southerners who claim the civil war had nothing to do with slavery when the words of confederate leaders say otherwise?

  • Rab Simpson

    You do realise that totalitarianism is something the right are far better versed in, don’t you?

    Education is what lead us out of the dark ages, and the behaviour of the right (especially the religious right) makes it appear that they (including you) are determined to drag us right back there, turning the modern world into what the middle east became after islam took over.

    It’s also funny how you speak of propaganda while the largest right wing ‘news’ organisation in the US peddles nothing but propaganda and is well known as a political activist organisation rather than an impartial news outlet.

    You talk about ‘the security their masters give them’, do you mean like right wing women who vote against their own self interest and pander to their men/masters?

  • Rab Simpson

    Do you practice your projection in front of a mirror?

    You make assumptions about my lifestyle based on no information whatsoever, this is indicative of repressed emotions and feelings of guilt regarding those emotions. Luckily for you, coming out of the closet isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as it used to be.

    “who I consider my equal”

    That’s interesting because all of your right wing friends who run religious institutions don’t agree.

    “You really are a sad girly boy.”

    This is the best you can come up with? Do try to be a bit more creative if you’re going to attempt insulting someone.

  • Rab Simpson

    “How did you become so uninformed?”

    The irony here is palpable. You don’t become uninformed, you start uninformed, then you get an education, which would explain your ignorant position given your disdain for learning.

    “You consider me right wing, yet I have never denied the Holocaust.”

    Holocaust denial isn’t a prerequisite for leaning to the right, but you’ll have an extremely difficult time finding a holocaust denier who *doesn’t* lean to the right.

    “have you ever read any history of the era of the Civil War?”


    “Look into it, Lincoln did not embrace slavery as a cause until after the hostilities actually started.”

    Enjoy –

    “deep liberal ignorance”

    Do you know what the term ‘oxymoron’ means? If not, I recommend you look it up (all in the name of education).

    You’re a revisionist, and you’ve been exposed as such in your arguing against well established facts (standard regressive nonsense, you’re like clones of one another).

    People like you are the reason that websites such as this one exist.

  • Rab Simpson

    One minute I’m uninformed and the next I’m overeducated? Which is it? It can’t be both.

  • Rab Simpson

    If they’re facts you’ll have supporting evidence to back them up. Present it otherwise reasonable people will take your ‘facts’ and see them as the unsupported assertions delivered as ad hominem attacks which in turn expose your extreme lack of argument.

  • Rab Simpson

    Oh, obviously (that was sarcasm, just in case you didn’t catch it).

    What’s your excuse?

  • Rab Simpson

    Clearly you don’t understand the difference between facts and supporting evidence. So not only are you a closet dweller, it appears you don’t have the mental cojones to open the door even if you wanted to. It’s a wee shame.

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