“Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...”
– British poem
You may or may not remember it, but odds are you’ve seen the movie “V for Vendetta” or read a similar comic book. It’s almost the 5th of November, and
Guy Fawkes, for the less geeky (or less English) among you, was an English Catholic who tried to blow up Parliament about 500 years ago. He failed, but
But this modern day popularity started as a mid-‘80s comic book, critical of the divide between Thatcherite conservatives and protesters in
The movie was released in 2006, at the height of media and lefty Bush-bashing, updated into a heavy-handed attack on the Republican administration. Though the film was still based in
Nevertheless, it still had cool graphics, including a particularly well-done domino scene to create the movie logo. And it had lots of scenes of protest and rebellion, so young libs loved it. At $70 million box office, it did well enough to be the thirty-sixth most popular movie of the year – landing behind such big names as “RV” and “Jackass: Number Two.”
Five years later, it has become a cornerstone of the movement the same way “Easy Rider” did for a previous generation. Sure, “V for Vendetta” lacks the Dennis Hopper/Peter Fonda motorcycle cool, but it does have Natalie Portman, who has huge geek cred for having been in three “Star Wars” films.
Throw in the fact that the masks also offer anonymity for either the overly paranoid or hackers who are often committing criminal acts and you have a cultural hit. Tune in to an Anonymous video threatening to bring down some great evil – capitalism, police, or drug cartels (equal in the eyes of the left) – and there’s an announcer’s face shrouded in a Guy Fawkes mask. Those who have seen the movie half expect the announcer to quote the film, saying: “There is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?”
Often it’s hard to tell if you are watching a fan fiction version of the movie or someone trying to make a legitimate point. As a result, both fail. And the
But many Occupiers are working on that, thinking back to their movie inspiration for a quote to help them: “People should not be afraid of their government. Government should be afraid of their people.” (Of course, not afraid of these people, who desperately want more and bigger government.) That revolutionary tone is what’s behind Occupy Wall Street. Sure, it might seem like life is imitating art – mediocre art at that. But that art recalled a very real revolutionary attack on parliament. Occupy Wall Street is attempting to merge those two realities – the comic book world with real world revolution.
So, just because they sound and often look cartoonish in their Guy Fawkes regalia, take them seriously. Both Fawkes and the lead character in the movie meant to have a very bloody revolution. That is the model Occupy Wall Street relies on.
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