Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

V is for Vindication

Image Source: BBC.

What does Alan Moore think of the worldwide appropriation of his Orwellian 1980s' comic book character, V, for the purposes of global anti-capitalist and anti-government hactivism?  He's just fine with it, and thinks it is a sign that the 17th century is alive and well:
Today's response to similar oppressions seems to be one that is intelligent, constantly evolving and considerably more humane, and yet our character's borrowed Catholic revolutionary visage and his incongruously Puritan apparel are perhaps a reminder that unjust institutions may always be haunted by volatile 17th century spectres, even if today's uprisings are fuelled more by social networks than by gunpowder.

Some ghosts never go away.

As for the ideas tentatively proposed in that dystopian fantasy thirty years ago, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that whatever usefulness they afford modern radicalism is very satisfying.
Image Source: BBC.

All DC Comics stories, characters and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © DC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

If you're not reading this post on Histories of Things to Come, the content has been scraped and republished without acknowledgement or the original author's permission. Please let me know by following this link and leaving me a comment. Thank you.


  1. He should be ashamed that the very Capitalistic freedoms that he enjoyed in the form of proceeds of his work are being fought against by numbskulls who have no idea what Capitalism is. The OWS imbeciles just want more handouts.

  2. Thanks Divine - Alan Moore tends to be more anarchical than stereotypically leftist or anti-capitalist, but he also tends to shift on a political spectrum when interviewed. At least that is my impression. Based on my reading of V for Vendetta, I've argued several times on this blog that the hactivist use of V's mask is a gross misreading of the character. At any rate, I have related posts on this topic coming up on Feb. 15 and 29. I hope you'll check them out.

  3. I do enjoy your posts, although I don't always take the time to comment.
    Insofar as OWS is concerned, gross misreading seems to be what they do best.
    Keep up the good work!


  4. One of the reasons Moore left DC so acrimoniously is because he WASN'T enjoying "proceeds of his work". As for the 'occupy' protesters who 'just want more handouts', they built miniatures cities with medical centers and libraries from their own resources, unlike the prostitutes financed by Murdoch and the Koch brothers who've been spending their government subsidies vilifying them.

    If anything, Moore is trying to avoid taking a proprietary stance towards the images used without being maneuvered into disavowing the movement. He clearly didn't invent Guy Fawkes, but it often seems as though every time he's asked about the current appropriation of the mask it's as though the reporters have handed him two options: either paint yourself as grandiose and say you're flattered that so many people have adopted 'your' creation or else paint the movement as being wrongheaded for this and, presumably, other unspecified reasons as well. That Moore has managed to dance around these efforts to oversimplify the situation is more satisfying to me than settling for the far smarter "no comment", but of course it's going to make him seem evasive. He IS being evasive by evading the preconceived conclusions of the interviewers.

  5. @pblfsda Hello, pblfsda! Thank you for your comment - yes, I agree that Moore did tread a fine line here and it is often lost on the interviewers. It was definitely lost on the people who made the movie. And it is lost on the protesters wearing the V mask. It's also lost on the likes of Julian Assange, who uses the mask as a personal symbol.

    If anything, what is substantial here is Moore's interest in the powers of symbols. I assume he would come at this from a magical and mythical perspective. But he makes very clear that V for Vendetta was an anarchical romance, NOT about the stereotyped conflict between left and right that dominates our thinking and obscures so much. V for Vendetta was about the conflict between anarchy and fascism, two very different beasts. Beyond that, his viewpoint as a story-teller is important here because he is focussing on the continuity of symbols from the 17th c to now, and how they channel enormous power. The fact that he can tiptoe through an interview with the BBC and work all that in without upsetting the conventional political applecarts shows how canny he is:

    "the movie industry apparently decided to re-imagine the original narrative as some sort of parable about the post-9/11 rise of American neo-conservatives, in which the words "fascism" or "anarchy" were nowhere mentioned. ... When the film was made during the peak period of anti-terrorist legislation the golden touch of Hollywood was, it seemed, sufficiently persuasive for the authorities to permit a massed horde of extras dressed as the nation's most famous terrorist to cavort riotously in Parliament Square.

    I don't think one need subscribe to any quasi-mystical theories about how the conceptual world of ideas can affect the substantial world of everyday existence in order to agree that, in retrospect, this could be seen as practically begging for it.

    After that, it wasn't long before the character's enigmatic Time-Warner trademarked leer appeared masking the faces of Anonymous protesters barracking Scientologists halfway down Tottenham Court Road."

    So the core of what he is talking about is our subconscious compulsion toward almost mystical imagery, in spite of the layers of explanations we give for what we are doing and why. This is why I like Alan Moore. The fact that V was a romantic transcended any tawdry misconception that would paint him as a social revolutionary. As for the OWS protesters, they are a separate matter, of course, from Moore - as you correctly remarked. What I find most interesting is how, over the past six months, the online hacker movement and the OWS protest movement have weirdly combined forces.

  6. @Divine, I think the main thing I see here is that everything is upheaval, and the OWS protesters are searching for direction. Their actions, including their very interesting development of protest libraries that pblfsda mentioned, are driven by plenty of anti-capitalist mottos. But beneath that, their critics sense an emptiness. Why are they now affiliated with hackers? What was it they were defending again? Many of them came out of the 99 per cent website - and that was basically a plea for a functioning capitalism that would give the 99 per cent jobs so they could be - good small capitalists.

    I'm sure you've seen commentaries that they are just agitating to agitate and so on. Their critics claim there is an emptiness behind the OWS agitation. But I can't blame the protesters for that, because frankly, we are all confronting that emptiness right now. Everything is changing, the centre cannot hold, etc. etc. In this case, I think there was a desperate impulse to 'do something' or 'do anything' to release the tension of economic hard times; and the actions came before the labels and theories about those actions. Watching it unfold, the truth is that probably no one knows what it means or where it is going, yet. That's my sense of it, anyway.

  7. Makes sense to me, he's glad he's still having an impact, even if he disagrees with the details of the film.