Dystopia Is Around the Corner
Few things have transcended in popular culture as the now-famous Guy Fawkes mask. Although many people surely relate it to the cyber group Anonymous, for us, film lovers, the mask is a powerful reminder of the power people can have in an insane society. Because, after all, it is the mask from V for Vendetta.
V is a masterpiece, one that uses the traditional idea of the hero’s journey to portray how society as a whole can confront a tyrannical government. Occurring in a nearby future, V for Vendetta tells the story of a society that has given too much power to its rulers as a result of fear. This has led to a totalitarian state that acts always for the ‘benefit of its citizens,’ no matter the cost in terms of liberty.
This isn’t just a movie. It is a monument to the responsibility we citizens have. When things get crazy, it is up to us to save the day. It would be nice to think that a masked crusader will come and save us all from the political madness the world is experiencing. However, we might just sit and wait until our bodies fade away, because no one is going to come and save us.
The Root of the Problem
Governments are not necessarily evil, but politicians certainly seem to do their best to surpass their own mediocrity. Although one often wants to believe that humans are capable of amazing things in favor of others, politicians certainly make us question this idea. Their egos and self-interest can easily take over.
It is naive to think that a person, a being made of flesh and blood like us, is able to leave their demons aside and think about what’s best for society as a whole. As an example, take a look around at the times we are living in. As the world slowly watches how inept politicians cope with a mysterious virus and how the state apparatus restricts civil liberties, we may come to realize that we are suddenly in the wrong place. This, coincidentally, happens to be the plot in the movie.
Reality Meets Fiction
I still haven’t gotten myself around the fact that reality, once again, seems to surpass fiction. What was once a dystopian future coming from the mind of Alan Moore is now a reality that many of us are facing in our daily lives. As in the comic, societies all around the globe are facing a democratic crisis like none the world has ever experienced. It may sound dramatic to say this, but what we do as a society during the pandemic will determine how our future will be.
We suddenly have a bunch of paranoid minds in power, proclaiming themselves to be the true messiahs, the only ones who can save the day. Fear is leading the way, and we can’t just let it win.
Fear Is Not Your Friend
V for Vendetta has a clear and powerful message: people have the power to change things. Living in fear is what sets mediocre societies from those that are able to change. Yes, it sounds very naive to think this way, but, after all, shouldn’t governments be scared of their people?
We have been taught to sit and relax, but this is not a possibility right now. Being paralyzed by fear of the unknown is not an option. Political problems should not be categorized as just another version of the tragedy of the commons, to say the least. Just because freedom belongs to all of us does not mean we can easily do with it whatever we want, or even worse, let others decide what we can or cannot do with it. The political world needs to be something we all claim as ours, and that means it is our responsibility.
A Symbol for Hope
As the world seems to go on a crazy anti-common sense rampage, we need things to remind us that the future can be better. On the one hand, comic book villains have never been more real. On the other hand, superheroes have never been more absent. It is sort of a nightmare scenario.
If a mask can remind us what it means to be a citizen, then all is not lost. It is these friendly reminders that keep us motivated to work for a better future. Like in the movie, we need to get a hold of what our governments are doing, make them accountable for the decisions they make, and most importantly, remind them who is in charge.
The power of an idea should not be underestimated. Ideas have changed the world for the better. Our bodies will decay and, eventually, no one will remember us. Who we were and what we did will become irrelevant. The ideas we praise, on the contrary, will live on. We ought to make sure that we work for the right ideas.
V for Vendetta may only be a movie (and an awesome comic), but its message is nothing ordinary. We need to make sense of everything that is going on without letting fear take over. Maybe we just need to change our mask to one that fits better the times we are living in.