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Alan Moore on the Occupy movement and “V”

Back in the early 80s, approaching the end of Vendetta's epic 38-part cycle, Moore was struggling to think of another “V” word with which to title a closing chapter. He'd already used Victims, Vaudeville and Vengeance; the Villain, the Voice, the Vanishing; even Vicissitude and Verwirrung (the German word for confusion). “I was getting pretty desperate,” he says.

He eventually settled on Vox populi. “Voice of the people. And I think that if the mask stands for anything, in the current context, that is what it stands for. This is the people. That mysterious entity that is evoked so often – this is theΒ people.”

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I think Moore nails it when he discusses the Occupy movement’s use of the Guy Fawkes mask as a means of creating spectacle more than anything else. Making fun of the protesters for wearing the ‘face’ of a theocratic terrorist sort of misses the point.

There are more interesting points to make about the mask: how collectivity and anonymity have become a sort of refuge and protest against the corporatization of identity (e.g. social media); how the mask ironically reveals the face of the ‘average’ OWS protester as white and male; the resemblance of the Fawkes mask to commedia dell’arte masks in that it can be “pleasant, breezy, or more sinister”, depending on the context; the interesting choice of leftist protesters to wear these masks rather than the bandanas and hoodies popular among anarchists in the ’90s—perhaps we always find a face more sympathetic, even if it’s not a real one; etc.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Protesters at Occupy Hong Kong

Camped out at Occupy London

Zuccotti Park, New York, 10 October 2011 (Andrew Burton/Associated Press)

Shepherd Fairey "Occupy Hope"

  1. energeticcrab reblogged this from downlo
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  4. vickiexz reblogged this from downlo and added:
    "It turns protests into performances. The mask is very operatic; it creates a sense of romance and drama. I mean,...
  5. 1nf1n1t1 reblogged this from downlo and added:
    I sadly haven’t read a single article about Occupy Hong Kong since the date of the post… Hope they’re ok, but my guess...
  6. downlo posted this