Wednesday, November 14, 2012

teaching/touching, and revolution with a subject

I wanted to write about how bad the V for Vendetta movie is (why the dancing? the half-assed love plot? that KISS? The painfully overcoded rhyme of Evey’s rain rebirth with V’s fire one?), but Rob already did that pretty effectively. So, instead, a few half-thoughts:

Doug makes necessary points about the graphic novel’s heavily-diluted "anarchist" politics, and objects to the novel’s singularity of meaning and undermining of the reader's interpretive power. This reminded me of where Thrift notes that one of the subconscious ways affect transmitted is through the use of symbols, images, flags, music, etc, to touch instead of “didactic command and instruction. Thus the population is touched in ways which might be a non-conscious and may well instill the feeling that they are they originator of that thought, belief, or action, rather than simply and mechanically reproducing the beliefs of a charismatic other” (243). Thrift calls this "mass mesmerism gone bad"--obviously a negative judgment on these methods. What are the different techniques of teaching/touching used/portrayed in the book and film and by Anonymous? The novel's conveyance of meaning is an insistant didacticism (this is definitely true for the film, too), and of course the fascist government within the texts uses the above-mentioned appeals to affect. V does the same in his addresses to the country's citizens, as does the group Anonymous in their videos. In light of larger revolutionary/political concerns, to what extent can these appeals be critiqued?

I'm also thinking about what a “broadly posthumanist” agenda like Thrift's means politically, especially for subjects or individuals that aren’t the majority. Perhaps this is more of a salient point in terms of V for Vendetta and Anonymous: does the subsumption of the individual to the idea, the renouncement of selfhood for the mask, elide or dilute difference in a disadventageous way? Can anonymity be something other than a source of power? In V for Vendetta, this is a particularly strange question to ask, since, as the narrative goes, the new London is the result of purging society of racial/sexual/religious difference. But then does this mean that all the people who put on masks and march with V/Evey are the ones left over and therefore members of the historical authority/norm anyway (white, European, straight, etc)? What kind of possible revolution does this allow?
In real life, Anonymous, in that its name and props can be taken on by pretty much anyone and that it lacks a clear mission beyond a general interest in freedom of speech and information (except in the case of child pornography), perhaps leaves more room for divergent interests and voices. Maybe the lack of coherence that Anonymous has been criticized for is actually an advantage?

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