Wednesday, November 14, 2012

loVe for Vendetta (or The One Who Broke Your Heart)

Though the Graphic Novel and Film conceptions of V for Vendetta have staggering differences they both center around the themes of rebellion and love. However each shows love through contrast, the bastardizations and misplacement of love; Ahmed also examines love as dichotomy, love placed on an idealization rather than the romantic love of fairytales. I would argue that this abstracted form of love is also one of the key connections between the V for Vendetta story(s) and Anonymous. In the graphic novel  almost all of the main villains have a cruelly optimistic love placed in dolls, or child prostitutes, or a soulless computer – all objects which will not return this love but remain staticly under your control. As a result all of these objects also become the downfall of these characters when V coopts them for his revenge. One of my friends complained that in the movie the love between Eve and V has no basis, but this cinematic flourish actually aligns with Ahmeds view that “the investment in an ideal object works to accumulate value for that object” (Ahmed, 127) as V puts in time to change Eve to what he views as an ideal person he grows attached to her as she fullwills this ideal, and likewise as her view changes she grows attracted to the ideal he already represents (as he says “you thought there was flesh and blood under this cloak, there is only an idea”). Oddly the love which seems the most genuine in both of these works comes from a source you never meet: the woman who wrote the note – Valerie. What makes this love seem genuine at first seems oxymoronic, since she has never met the object of her love she merely loves them for their existence; however also this is a form of fetishizing the other into something which fulfills an idea of the ideal. In ways this is the principle that led to 4chan’s popularity, you can be anyone on the internet, and they will support other /b/ros merely for the fact that they are willing to try to be themselves although they take almost every opportunity to cut each other down.
The moralfags of anonymous profess to love people for their freedom and willingness to resist (or maybe just the idea of resistance) however this love requires opposition. As Ahmed notes “The conversion of hate into love allows [the] groups to associate themselves with ‘good feelings’ and ‘positive values’” (Ahmed, 123) and this is how the rift happened in this group, with those who were merely in it for the chaos splintering into Lulzsec. However many of the members of Anonymous who spoke in the documentary didn’t realize the rabbit hole they were inching own by their hacktivist/slacktivist act of using their DDoS attacks. Retroactively they mostly profess that they wouldn’t have done anything different, but their sticky love likely spawned not from a love for the oppressed groups but rather from a hate of the oppressors.  In the graphic novel V realizes the cruelly optimistic form of his love for Eve, and as such he knows he must die because by making himself into an idea and ideal he has removed what humanity he might have had. He says “You must discover who lies behind this mask, but you must never know my face. Is that quiet clear” he knows he has created a cruelly optimistic unfulfillalbe ideal, but he saves her from the cruelty of this by forcing her to maintain her optimism – by never knowing his face she can keep him as an ideal, and by taking his face she can fulfill the Freud’s narcissistic self-love misplaced on another.
Though it may seems I schizophrenically take details to asses from both conceptions of the V for Vendetta story, however I think this is apt because Anonymous as huge collective of people undeniably does the same. This is both why they have had confusion of goals, but also why this collective has seen such support (Likewise with the 99%). I will leave you with a song which became the subtitle of this post, which reverberates with the convoluted spirit of V for Vendetta and Anonymous.

(lyrics @ if yr into that kind of thing)

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