The Wachowski Brothers Misled a Movement

Remember, remember the…time the Wachwoski Brothers constructed a magnificently alliterative monologue that was, unfortunately, misleading at its core.

Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me “V”.

Fantastic. That is up there with any Nabakov in terms of alliterative prowess. However, I would direct your attention to the third sentence, which is specifically in reference to the Guy Fawkes mask V famously wears throughout most of the film:

This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished.

Translated into normal human speech, he’s basically stating that his Guy Fawkes face isn’t just for the looks or the fashionable facial hair, but represents the voice of the people which is now missing, presumably due to government oppression.

The issue with this line, not originally featured in the source material, Alan Moore’s comics published from 1982 to 1989, is that it is almost completely false. Guy Fawkes never represented the voice of the people. He was a vehemently anti-Protestant and was part of a plot that would have replaced England’s monarchy with a Catholic theocratic monarchy. A theocratic monarchy, on the understated end, would have almost certainly been as oppressive as the status quo.

That message seems entirely lost to the people who are under the impression that Fawkes represents some sort of anti-establishment/anti-oppression ideal. The guy was part of the establishment — it just happened to be the establishment that did not want to lose more power and influence to their political and religious rivals and sought to oppress a different group of people. Obviously, this is a simplified explanation, but there is a point to keeping it this simple — you would think someone would read the Cliffnotes and think, “Hmm, maybe this guy isn’t the best symbol for what we’re going for here…”


About imran

Twenty-something in Washington, DC.

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