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Movie Stuff: V For Vendetta

The Televeision Station Speech

The speech which V gives in V for Vendetta to the people of Britain over the emergency broadcast system by hijacking the television signal is a call to arms for revolution in a society which he sees as being broken. It is centered around the 5th of November which is steeped in revolutionary history in England, and he wishes to see the acts of 1605 actually brought to fruition.

This film is a favorite amongst us here at The Outpost, in large part because of the wonderful acting performances by Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. Also because it echoes George Orwell's 1984 in its attempt to show a distopian future for the country of Great Britain in which the citizens find themselves under a totalitarian government.

(Side note: Speaking of Orwell, in the film adaptation of 1984, the protagonist of the story, Winston Smith, is played by a young John Hurt. Fast forward to V For Vendetta, Hurt plays the villain--High Chancellor Adam Sutler. We thought that was clever casting.)

Under the reign of the High Chancellor, Adam Sutler, the government controls every aspect of its citizens lives, has complete control of the media, the food supply, housing and transportation. Any dissenters or those who speak wrongly of the government or the High Chancellor are quietly "Epstein'd" in the middle of the night by henchmen, never to be heard of again.

Artwork, books, music or films found to be offensive by the government are placed on a banned list and deemed a crime to possess, read, watch or hear any items on the list. The government fabricates the news and hands its stories over to a complicit media to be broadcast to the masses. And though it seems many of the citizens are aware that "something's not right" with their country, no one is willing to step up and question their government for fear of swift retailiation... can we draw any parallel lines to our current situation here in the States? Nah, probably not, right?

Enter the film's masked protagonist, who only goes by the name of "V." V boldly infiltrates London's only television broadcasting company's building, and highjacks the newsroom. He has them play a recording of a speech he had prepared for the citizens of Great Britain. It's a great speech:

“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine – the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now High Chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order; he promised you peace; and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the 5th of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words – they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow the 5th of November to pass unmarked.

But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a 5th of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

Remember, remember, the 5th of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.

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