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Alan Moore on V For Vendetta and the Rise of Anonymous 286

Posted by samzenpus
from the verily-this-vichyssoise-of-verbiage-veers-most-verbose dept.
First time accepted submitter tmcb writes in with a piece by Alan Moore about the influence his comic has had on the hacker group Anonymous. "On Saturday protests are planned across the world against Acta — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The treaty has become the focus of activists associated with the Anonymous hacking network because of concerns that it could undermine internet privacy and aid censorship. First published in 1982, the comic series V for Vendetta charted a masked vigilante's attempt to bring down a fascist British government and its complicit media. Many of the demonstrators are expected to wear masks based on the book's central character. Ahead of the protests, the BBC asked V for Vendetta's writer, Alan Moore, for his thoughts on how his creation had become an inspiration and identity to Anonymous."
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Alan Moore on V For Vendetta and the Rise of Anonymous

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:22AM (#38995243)

    I'd be lying if I didn't admit that whatever usefulness they afford modern radicalism is very satisfying.

    Wow, that's the first time I think I've ever heard Alan Moore expressing anything remotely akin to...dare I say..."happiness."

    This article *must* be a hoax.

  • At Least... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...the V for Vendetta guy had the decency to die for what he believes in.

    When will we see Anonymous punks start offing themselves? I suggest they do self immolation. Doesn't hurt anyone else really and the spectacle is great!

    • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rufty_tufty (888596) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:43AM (#38995443) Homepage

      You say that though
      I was re-watching the film recently and it was the scene at the end where the mob marches on the armed police and the police use their own judgement and decide not to fire. Maybe I've been spending too much time on /. but I can't believe that in the current climate in that situation in the real world the police wouldn't fire and then chase them down.
      After seeing what happened at the recent protests with police attacking protesters with disproportionate force, the kettling, the staying away from areas where riots were actually taking place I can't believe that with today's police force would do what happened to V's supporters. I honestly found the resolution to be unbelievable because they have shown they're willing to attack huge crowds of protesters for political gain.

      • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:59AM (#38995627)

        My guess is that today's police forces are slightly more independent then the one in the movie. Their commanders are unlikely to be executed or disappeared if they do something that the political leadership does not approve of.

        In the movie, the country was extremely centralized, and both of the 'leaders' were dead at the time the barricades were breached. The army could easily have stopped them, and probably wouldn't have felt bad about it. What they didn't dare do was act without orders.

        • Our countries' police force IS for the most part centralised already. Most police policies across the country are determined in London.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by poormanjoe (889634)
        I offer you a quote that might shed some light on the difference between Hollywood's version of good guys, and the real thing.

        "If soldiers thought, they wouldn't be soldiers."

        The line between police and military is becoming grey in the US. They want them to be interchangeable. Once the general public has accepted the fact that your liberties are provided to you by the government, and not your Creator we will be doomed.

        Don't believe in a creator? That's fine, but understand this country was founded
        • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Pope (17780) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:09PM (#38995731)

          My parents were my creators. That at least is provable.

        • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:23PM (#38995961)

          Your country (assuming you're American) was founded by people who were either atheists or had very non-standard (for the time, and even by today's standard) religious views. Certainly not "Religious people" of the kind you imply.

          Believing your rights and liberties are granted to you by your government is obviously a bad idea - it puts the government in charge. Believing your rights and liberties are granted to you by a creator not only doesn't make much sense (you don't have rights in the jungle), it's ALSO a bad idea - it puts the creator, or rather whoever you believe speaks for him, in charge. Religion was harnessed to be an effective means of controlling the people long before governments came along to try the same thing. And to head off the obvious protestant objection, you most likely still regard some form of holy book as speaking for your creator, and if you're Christian, the details of that holy book are nasty if interpreted literally and/or completely.

          You live in a democracy. Your rights are granted to you by society (i.e. the people, i.e. you). When people realize this, democracy will actually work properly and the world will be a better place.

          • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:35PM (#38996125)

            Your rights are granted to you by society (i.e. the people, i.e. you).

            Ha, that is most certainly not true. If it was, how do you justify saying "slavery was wrong"? Or don't you? Because if rights are only granted by society, then if society as a whole decides certain people don't deserve certain rights, then they don't get those rights and that is perfectly justified (if what you say is true). Perhaps you meant to add certain qualifiers.

            You have to say there are certain rights that humans possess by being human. And then there are certain rights that society can grant later. Basic health care would be a good example: it isn't a basic human right, but it can be granted as a right by a society that passes a certain stage of wealth and medical technology.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by icebraining (1313345)

              Not parent, but:

              Ha, that is most certainly not true.

              Why, because you don't want it to be?

              If it was, how do you justify saying "slavery was wrong"? Or don't you? Because if rights are only granted by society, then if society as a whole decides certain people don't deserve certain rights, then they don't get those rights and that is perfectly justified (if what you say is true). Perhaps you meant to add certain qualifiers.

              Right and wrong is subjective. Slavery was wrong to some, right to others. Since I find slavery to be wrong, I'm glad most society agrees with me, but the fact is that there's no reason to consider one of those positions to be objectively right, therefore they're both valid.

              You have to say there are certain rights that humans possess by being human.

              OK, then please prove it.

            • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by yurtinus (1590157) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:54PM (#38997713)
              Slavery wasn't wrong at the time. It was a God given right (and a society given right). Slavery had been perfectly justified for the vast majority of Human existence. Thankfully society decided to make it wrong.

              Let's get down to the brass tacks. If somebody has more power than you, what rights do you truly possess? They can force you to work, force you to starve, force you to die. At some point in our history though, we decided that wasn't acceptable. We collectively decided it's wrong to deny certain rights and we use the might of our society to attempt to protect those rights.

              You can't out of context say "a person has these inalienable rights" because it isn't always true. You can say "In the US, a person has these inalienable rights" because we as a society have decided to protect them. Replace US with Darfur or North Korea and you see it isn't true - because society doesn't have the strength to protect those rights.
          • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by tmarsh86 (896458) on Friday February 10, 2012 @01:12PM (#38996613)
            They certainly weren't atheists. The Declaration is one proof of that. Most were deists which, at the time, was a very standard religious view among the more intellectual people, including Jefferson and Franklin. And they most certainly believed in religious freedom.
          • While I agree that their views were quite wide-spread and scattered in relation to one another, your assertion that the founders of American government were mostly atheist or non-standard is pretty misleading, almost enough so to be called a flat-out lie. Take a quick look at the biographies of just the key figures, the "Founding Fathers" of America. Four of the usual seven recognized were self-declared Christians(those five being John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay) , though the
          • by tburkhol (121842)

            Believing your rights and liberties are granted to you by a creator not only doesn't make much sense (you don't have rights in the jungle), it's ALSO a bad idea

            But that's the whole idea of "inalienable rights." They're things you can do alone in the jungle. You have the right to life, but that's different than obligating someone else to support you. You have the right to liberty, ie, not to do what you don't want. You have the right to pursue happiness - to do what you want. However you came into the world, whether by sentient Creator or stochastic chance, you alone in the jungle can exercise your own sentience.

            Once you come out of the jungle, your actions int

          • Your country (assuming you're American) was founded by people who were either atheists or had very non-standard (for the time, and even by today's standard) religious views. Certainly not "Religious people" of the kind you imply.

            Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and three were Roman Catholics (C. Carroll, D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Re

        • by Slider451 (514881)

          I offer you a quote that might shed some light on the difference between Hollywood's version of good guys, and the real thing.
            "If soldiers thought, they wouldn't be soldiers."

          Whoever you're quoting, they, and you, have clearly never spent quality time with any soldiers.

        • Actually the US wasn't founded by religious people. Don't believe the current rewriting of US history.

        • by tqk (413719)

          Don't believe in a creator? That's fine, but understand this country was founded by [Religious] people ...

          Not true. Not even close. Cf. "Separation of Church and State."

          [Eternal vigilance is the only way to keep idiots from re-writing history.]

        • Re:At Least... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Friday February 10, 2012 @01:42PM (#38996971) Journal

          How about we make a deal: I don't make up shit interpretations of your religion ("An important tenet for Christans is that cannibalism can be a good thing. This is especially important to Catholics, who interpret their important Holy Communion ritual as literal cannibalism, brough about by magic.") that completely miss the point and you don't make up shit interpretation of the psychology of faith and atheism that completely miss the point?

          I don't have the skills to reasonably interpret your emotions around the internals of your religion, and you don't have the skills to reasonably interpret the emotions or reason of people that aren't religious, so if we both stay off saying things about it, I think the world would be a better place.

        • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Urza9814 (883915) on Friday February 10, 2012 @01:42PM (#38996973)

          Don't believe in a creator? That's fine, but understand this country was founded by Religous people and we will always be fighting to govern it, because we know our rights are provided by our Creator.

          "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
            - James Madison, letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

          "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
            - John Adams

          "In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose."
            - Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814

          You get the point. They may have been men of FAITH, but certainly not RELIGIOUS. There's a significant difference.

          Furthermore, why must liberties be GRANTED? They're quite plainly something that cannot be given; they can only be taken away. The question is not who grants us our rights, but rather who would try to take them away. To which the answer is almost always government. You are correct that others believing rights are granted by government is a very dangerous thing. But believing rights are granted by some deity is equally dangerous. If people believe that our rights come directly from the Christian God, for example, then denying those rights to people who people who get abortions or are athiest or are homosexual seems justified. Believing that rights are granted to you by some entity only makes those rights easier for others to violate.

          • Re:At Least... (Score:4, Informative)

            by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday February 10, 2012 @05:04PM (#38999409) Homepage

            "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." - John Adams.

            Perpetuating this quotation in isolation is dishonest. See, for example here: [unc.edu]

            John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here's the rest of the quotation:

            Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, 'this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!' But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company--I mean hell.

            In any event, I assume that was the poster above was getting at by "religious", was that these men were theists and their understanding of rights was that they are endowed by a Creator. That's pretty par for the course in the Enlightenment era.

        • Re:At Least... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thomst (1640045) on Friday February 10, 2012 @04:00PM (#38998459) Homepage

          poormanjoe blathered:

          Don't believe in a creator? That's fine, but understand this country was founded by Religous people and we will always be fighting to govern it, because we know our rights are provided by our Creator.

          Advocates of a Christian theocracy in America constantly repeat that meme, despite the fact that it's patently untrue.

          Christian cultists immigrated to America on the Mayflower specifically so that they could practic religious intolerance free from interference by the English government. Other cults followed their lead over the ensuing century-and-a-half or so, but they were not the only sort of people who immigrated to America. Most of those who came here in the 150+ years before this country was actually founded did so for economic reasons - because land was free for the taking, and opportunities to get rich abounded in the New Woirld.

          The founders of the USA - which is to say the delegates to the Continental Congress and its successor bodies - were, admittedly, mostly at least nominally Christian. But the country that they created was, by design, emphatically a secular entity. That, in turn, was because for many decades before (and, indeed, after) the founding of the USA various of those Christian cults mentioned above were in a practically continuous state of war with one another [smithsonianmag.com]. Take the so-called Great Awakening [colonialwarsct.org] in Connecticut during the period 1735-1745, a time of tremendous turmoil in the Congregationalist (i.e. - "Puritan) faith. The Massachusetts Bay Puritans even went so far as to hang four Quakers for the crime of not being Puritans. So the founding fathers explicitly made the USA a secular nation, to prevent any of the cults from gaining supremacy over the others and establishing itself as a national religion.

          Basically, you and your ilk want to undo that and make the USA into a Christian theocracy. The problem is, you fail to understand that, if the USA became an officially Christian theocracy, chances are that it would be a Catholic one - because adherents of the Catholic Church comprise the single largest denomination in the USA, with more than 65.5 million members (although there are more Protestant adherents collectively, they are fractured into hundreds of denominations with serious doctrinal and dogmatic divisions from one another, and cannot be considered as a single religious entity), with Southern Baptists at just over 16 million members being the next-largest denomination.

          If you believe that Southern Baptists would be happy at the prospect of an explicitly Catholic theocracy in the USA, you aren't very well acquainted with Southern Baptists, or their ingrained hatred of and contempt for what they like to call Papists.

          So, in conclusion, kindly shut the fuck up, because you obviously don't know what the hell you're talking about.

      • by unity100 (970058)

        there is a certain level of public participation and opinion at which police/military side with protesters. this has been the case in all previous occurrences in different countries. in usa, its not yet there.

      • At least in the movie, they were never actually ordered to fire. Here's the dialogue as the protesters approach the soldiers:

        Enemy is approaching fast. Requesting orders. General, what should we do?

        There's no response from Command, or from party leader Creedy, or from the High Chancellor.

        Bloody hell, stand down! Stand down!

        Perhaps if V hadn't taken out Creedy and the Chancellor things would have been different. Certainly the movie takes quite a few liberties with reality, but this one is somewhat believable. Without those people to order horrible things, we were left with average people firing or not. The decency of most average people was a theme in the film (Evey; the gay guy; the people who attacked

      • by Stargoat (658863) *

        I had a very good friend who was on the steps of the capitol at the fall of MiloÅeviÄ. She told the story of the police arriving. She said, "The boys were in front and ready to fight, and we girls in back were ready to die and bandage them up. But then, the police put their guns down and joined us. That's when we knew we won."

        So yeah, it sometimes happens and there's a happy ending.

      • by houghi (78078)

        but I can't believe that in the current climate in that situation in the real world the police wouldn't fire and then chase them down.

        Current time? Was there ever a time that they did not do that?
        Ask the Vietnam protesters if the police was all love and peace.

        The reason that you think it didn't happen is because there were no real big demonstrations.

    • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:01PM (#38995647) Homepage

      I suggest they do self immolation.

      Hilariously, your comment was modded as Flamebait.

  • by orphiuchus (1146483) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:32AM (#38995347)

    I expected any external use of his writings whatsoever to cause him to roll-over in the grave which I can only assume he sleeps in every night.

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      I'm not sure whether that fits Moore's MO--would rolling over in the grave be something he could borrow from the Charlton Comics, but then get indignant about when other people used it?

  • by GMonkeyLouie (1372035) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [eiuolyeknomg]> on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:32AM (#38995349)

    Moore sounds like he is satisfied with his contribution to the movement, but not as satisfied or validated with the achievements of modern radicals (yet).

    I love seeing symbols and characters borrowed from history and re-used, or re-purposed. It reassures me that our actions could potentially matter to future generations.

  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:04PM (#38995685) Homepage Journal

    To be honest, i never thought that i would see such thoughts and philosophies, and such awareness about the depravity of the current system in mainstream in my lifetime.

    im quite pleased in the direction the awareness is going. i think, even if i dont see the full materialization of these ideals immediately in my lifetime, i can still die a happy camper. however, at this rate things are going, i may actually see the realization of those ideas before i bite the dust.

    its exciting. i thank everyone who is participating in these awareness movements to change the world for the better.

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      i can still die a happy camper

      Getting more involved in these movements should speed that part up for you.

  • How long... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:29PM (#38996035) Homepage
    until anyone wearing or owning one of those masks can be arrested for "suspicion of activities detrimental to state security"?
  • The protests happening around the world are a sign of a transition happening.

    Population growth drives need for change. We have been through such transition before and there are stories indicating such. Like the tower of babel, where we moved from bicameral mind mode of social interaction to a conscious mode capable of the creation and use of higher level abstraction. When we made that transition the misuse of higher level abstraction was the discovery of deception and the value of its intentional use, or mi

  • by rossdee (243626)

    any relation to Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 911) or Gordon Moore (Moore's Law)

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      any relation to Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 911) or Gordon Moore (Moore's Law)

      You think there are a lot less Moores than any other last name, more or less?

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:46PM (#38996271)

    The creator of Zero Wing [wikipedia.org] explains how his game served as an inspiration to Anonymous.

  • by gregOfTheWeb (398142) on Friday February 10, 2012 @01:16PM (#38996679)

    So.

    Although the government of today (In England) is a progressive bureaucratic creeping state of regulation and control, V for Vendetta makes the evil government a Christian Dictatorship? Yeah...that's a believable outcome.

    The Hero tortures the Heroine to get her on his side in the grand fight? And he's the good guy?

    The glorifying of Guy Fawlkes for his attempt to blow up parliment? What?

    V for Vendetta is a stupid movie.

    If you want to see a great movie about standing up to an evil state watch "The Lives of Others" A movie based in a believable world, one that really exists. Set in the ex-communist East Germany. It is a beautiful movie with sadness throughout but redemption at the end. Including bravery and doing what is right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lives_of_Others

    • by jfengel (409917) on Friday February 10, 2012 @03:50PM (#38998341) Homepage Journal

      What ticks me off about it is the abuse of history. Fawkes (and others; Fawkes was largely the fall guy) was attempting to kill the Protestant King James I so they could install a Catholic on the throne. And an underaged Catholic at that; they would make themselves the regent, tied to the king of Spain.

      This wasn't a blow for freedom. It was a coup to replace one monarch with another, and a slightly-tolerant regime with an intolerant one.

      The original Fawkes wasn't a hero of any kind. If the book and film have any "greatness" to them, it's in the power of a compelling piece of propaganda to mislead. The anarchists who feel inspired by it were manipulated, and that should be a cautionary tale, not a role model.

      • by RDW (41497) on Friday February 10, 2012 @07:49PM (#39001565)

        What ticks me off about it is the abuse of history. Fawkes (and others; Fawkes was largely the fall guy) was attempting to kill the Protestant King James I so they could install a Catholic on the throne. And an underaged Catholic at that; they would make themselves the regent, tied to the king of Spain.

        Moore knows the history perfectly well. The book isn't about Guy Fawkes, it's about an anarchist who uses powerful symbols associated with Fawkes in a dystopia set centuries later, which owes much more to the politics of Britain under Margaret Thatcher than it does to historical plots against James I. By the time Moore was growing up, Guy Fawkes had become an ambiguous figure in the popular imagination; still burnt in effigy, but somehow 'remembered' with a degree of respect or even affection (especially if you weren't a fan of the government of the day). FTA:

        "Jump forward 300 years, though, to the battered post-war England of the 1950s, and the saturnine insurrectionary had taken on more ambiguous connotations...When parents explained to their offspring about Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up Parliament, there always seemed to be an undertone of admiration in their voices, or at least there did in Northampton...While that era's children perhaps didn't see Fawkes as a hero, they certainly didn't see him as the villainous scapegoat he'd originally been intended as."

  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Friday February 10, 2012 @02:46PM (#38997613)

    Well... we already know the V mask version of Guido Fawkes and where it came from... but what about the Lulz characters?

    Both LulzSec and that new one- whats it called something "S" Sec- the one that got FoxConn recently use a snobby looking character with a top-hat. The two logos are different- but there are obvious similarities... the black tophat for one.

    The only thing I can think of is "black hat"- although they're not really black hat hackers... Personally, I think they should be called "Red Hat" because they don't fit the white hat or grey hat definitions either. Red is the symbol for revolution and activism.

    Nonetheless- I thought the colour hat referred to Westerns- you know the cowboy in white was the good guy- the guy in black was the bad guy. No?

    Anyhow- back on subject- what is the origin of that guy- is it just a coincidence the new groups logo looks similar to Lulzsecs logo?

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