I want to consider how V for Vendetta as a graphic novel and film is rhizomatic, relying on invisible boundaries and limits that ultimately force the reader to acknowledge self as active. I want to also consider the way that this text might engage with Stephenson’s Snow Crash in theme and effect. Though Stephenson posits a more utopian society that very much counters Moore’s dystopian imaginings, both writers “use lies to tell the truth” (Moore). Truth is experienced through fiction. Both texts succeed in making the reader politically conscious and self-aware, but more importantly, create self-referentiality. They make what was once estranged (time, space/setting, character, motivation) become familiar such that one can’t help but project fictionalized narrative onto reality. If these texts are not relatable, they lose their power. Perhaps that can be said of any text, but it felt especially so in these… that our everyday experiences were directly connected to the meta-physical, meta-phenomenal…that there was immediacy, an “address this now” quality upon finishing. One can’t help but reflect on the hierarchies and overbearing systems of the present, though both novels take place far into the “future”.
I was also interested in the way that Stephenson’s anonymity within cyberspace coupled with Moore’s anonymity behind the mask suggests that the subject is constantly fragmented, divided between multiple selves. The subject loses identity to regain identity, foregoing individuality for the whole. Thus, the language of the mass becomes universal. So if there is strength in numbers, the individual alone is weak. The individual is alienated, alienating, within the network of people. The government does not fear the individual. The individual is not the threat. The government fears many people in unison working towards a similar end-goal, many people without face. And the anonymity of these people increases the overall vulnerability of the government and, therefore, the network. This idea, however, could be contested as I myself am having trouble working through the fact that V’s power came only from his masking. One masked man did, indeed, induce fear for a whole government… Regardless, agency within the mass becomes important when looking at what we do and why we do it. There is something productive in anonymity for the individual and for society. Yet, the result of Anonymous is fear. Fear, that creates openings and vulnerability. Fear, which is enabling.
Lastly, I questioned Coleman’s definition of Anonymous as being “a God amongst men,” firstly because she makes a “who” out of a “what” and secondly because there is a privileging that I found disconcerting. Why exactly is Anonymous better? What about when anonymity is associated with cowardice?