Sunday, November 6, 2011

Forget the 5th of November

It really is strange how some things catch on. V for Vendetta was a decent hit in the box office, making $130 million. But with it's semi-modest success, V has made a peculiar impact on society. Now every Nov. 5, fans make sure that nobody forgets the 5th. But while Guy Fawkes Night has had a royalist theme for hundreds of years, misinformed fans and pseudo-intellectuals are shaping Guy Fawkes Night into their own kind of celebration. A celebration that just rings false in every way.

I'm starting to get sick of this face.

Produced by the Wachowskis, 2006's V for Vendetta was a nicely watered down revolutionist's dream. In an effort to make it more appealing and easier to swallow for general audiences, the original graphic novel was watered down to be popular but edgy enough to sell V masks. It's no wonder Alan Moore distrusts film adaptations so much. Each attempt studios have had with his work has just fallen with a dud. Instead of a gripping world of gray, the film offers the same jackbooted thugs that every other Orwellian film offers. Now that's nothing against Orwellian stories. I personally love dystopian stories. The difference with the V film is that it could have been so much more of a statement. Plus I loved the original graphic novel before the movie was made.

I liked V before he was popular.

Now, every Nov. 5, people feel the need to post about V on Facebook. These people need to realize that V is not an actual person. He is a fictional person, not a revolutionary to be idolized. The original V character in the graphic novel was practically a psychopath, something far from a role model. And those that use Guy Fawkes Night for their own futon revolutionary ideas miss the whole original point of Guy Fawkes Night. It's not a celebration of revolutionaries, it's the opposite. What they are celebrating every year on that night is the Gunpowder Plot failing and Fawkes' execution. That's why they collect a "penny for the Guy" and burn his effigy. But what was originally an inspired bit of irony by Alan Moore has led to a mass misinterpretation by fanboys. It's like if British people started celebrating Thanksgiving, but from the Native American's point of view.

The real Guy Fawkes wasn't a revolutionary, he was just Catholic.

There is no greater perpetrator of this bastardization of tradition than Anonymous, the hacker collective. When not found trolling around the 4chan website, these hackers fashion themselves as revolutionaries. By using their computer skills and love of wearing V masks, Anonymous hope to further whatever agenda they come up with on 4chan to bully anyone they don't like into submission. While they do pick some nice targets, such as Scientology, every /b/ board member I've met has been nothing more than a socially inept jerk. This may be a complete generalization but, unlike most that are against Anonymous, I've actually been around them. It all happened my senior year of high school when I was in Philadelphia.

They're not revolutionaries, they're just brats.

We were in the middle of a Philly adventure, taking pictures in front of the LOVE sign, when we noticed a large group of people amassing in front of City Hall. My friends and I, bored and curious, decided to walk over. Most were wearing V for Vendetta masks, some were decked out in cosplay like outfits. In our boredom and hoping we could get a cool V mask as well, we followed the protest. Turns out a Scientology Temple was going to be put in Philly and the local Anons decided to do something about it. While using their right to protest is commendable, hearing them talk just ruined it for me. Those that were properly informed on the subject seemed to of gotten all their information from South Park episodes. The rest appeared to just like being in a group and wearing masks. Their supposed biggest strength, their anonymity, instead turns them into faceless stormtroopers. Indiscernible from their brethren, they just seemed to enjoy joining a faceless bully organization.

Pictured: Not me (I was holding the camera).

I have no faith in Anonymous or anyone that hides behind a V mask. I'm not demonizing Anonymous like most news organizations. I just see them for what they are, confused kids who just want to do something to change the world. And while V might of had a point when he talked about the importance of symbols and ideas, hiding behind a V mask has just become trite. Statements shouldn't be made with mass market Halloween masks. And besides, as previously stated, V was a fictional character who wasn't even that much of a hero to begin with. So please, let us forget the 5th of November. Repeating the poem in a status every year is just childish.

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