V For Vendetta
V For Vendetta
By: jbhthescots@mac.com, Categories: Words & Images, Comments Off on V For Vendetta

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As a kid I always looked forward to Guy Fawkes Night every 5th November. And at school, the poem Remember, Remember was always recited as a way to make us better understand a little part of infamy in our history, when the aforementioned Mr. Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament along with all the politicians and King James in 1605.

 

But funnily enough, Guy Fawkes made a big-time comeback in the guise of the strangely stylised mask with a moustache and goatee by becoming an emblem for the anti-establishment protest groups that came to the fore with the Occupy movement in 2011 – and all spawned from the masked character in the wonderful V For Vendetta movie, based on the eighties graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, about one person rebelling against a totalitarian Britain set in the not-too-distant future.

 

These well-meaning individuals were duped into thinking that Guy Fawkes’ mask symbolised protest against tyrannical government. Nothing could be further from the truth, actually. The “Gunpowder Plot” was all about the pope not wanting God’s Word to be massively available to the common man, as those Fawkes intended to asassinate were set on bringing an English version of the bible (“King James Bible”) to the masses – and this would greatly erode the papal power-base in Britain while boosting Protestant freedoms.

 

And our anti-establishment protester striking a pose in today’s photo could be found in Glasgow’s George Square on Saturday, along with the many hundreds who turned up for Tommy “Swinger” Sheridan’s Hope Over Fear rally to mark the first anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum. I also didn’t have the heart to tell him that the adoption of the iconic mask by hacker and anarchist groups has proved to be quite a significant stream of additional income for Time Warner, thank-you-very-much, who hold the licenses to it as part of its film properties. Since the 2011 Occupy movement started, they’ve seen profits each year of over $2bn on sales worldwide.

 

Graphic artist Lloyd is the guy who created the original image of the mask, says he compares its use by protesters to the way Alberto Korda’s famous photograph of Argentine revolutionary Che Cuevara became a symbol for students across the world. However author Moore is more sceptical about this, and even before the movie was released, saw his creation was going to be commercialised by the very people that he wrote his comic strip against, so disowned the movie, spurned the lure of the lucre and requested his name removed from the credits.

 

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