I think our mistake has been thinking, in the 20th and 21st century, of the big cultural providers, like television or Hollywood, as culture. They’re not. They’re commercial entities which may occasionally or accidentally produce culture. But, they’re not culture. We are culture.
Alan Moore (via what-meworry)
[…] It is an irony noted with relish by critics of the protests – one also glumly acknowledged by many of the protesters – that the purchase of so many Vendetta masks has become a lucrative little side-earner for Time Warner, the media company that owns the rights to Moore’s creation. Efforts have been made to avoid feeding the conglomerate more cash, the Anonymous group reportedly starting to import masks direct from factories in China to circumvent corporate pockets; last year, demonstrators at a “Free Julian Assange” event in Madrid wore cardboard replicas, apparently self-made. But more than 100,000 of the £4-£7 masks sell every year, according to the manufacturers, with a cut always going to Time Warner. Does that irk Moore?
“I find it comical, watching Time Warner try to walk this precarious tightrope.” Through contacts in the comics industry, he explains, he has heard that boosted sales of the masks have become a troubling issue for the company. “It’s a bit embarrassing to be a corporation that seems to be profiting from an anti-corporate protest. It’s not really anything that they want to be associated with. And yet they really don’t like turning down money – it goes against all of their instincts.” Moore chuckles. “I find it more funny than irksome.”
He has a tricky relationship with Time Warner, umbrella company to both DC Comics, which published V for Vendetta in its graphic novel form, and Warner Brothers, the studio behind the big-screen version. Like many of us, Moore thought the 2003 film made out of his late 90s comic strip The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen a great failure, and by the time V for Vendetta had been adapted for the screen, in 2006, he wanted his name removed from the credits; perhaps even from future editions of the graphic novel too. At the time an interviewer asked Moore if he might be “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”, and he gave the sort of strolling, storyteller’s response that ought to be laminated and distributed to any artist uncertain about giving over their creations to Hollywood. “Well, I don’t own the baby any more,” said Moore. “During a drunken night it turned out that I’d sold it to the Gypsies and they had turned my baby to a life of prostitution. Occasionally they would send me glossy pictures of my child as she now was, and they would very, very kindly send me a cut of the earnings…”
Back in the early 80s, approaching the end of V for Vendetta’s epic 38-part cycle, Moore was struggling to think of another “V” word with which to title a closing chapter. He’d already used Victims, Vaudeville and Vengeance; the Villain, the Voice, the Vanishing; even Vicissitude and Verwirrung (the German word for confusion). “I was getting pretty desperate,” he says.
He eventually settled on Vox populi. “Voice of the people. And I think that if the mask stands for anything, in the current context, that is what it stands for. This is the people. That mysterious entity that is evoked so often – this is the people.”
With any legitimate trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning still being at an unspecified date in the future, it would seem that what is presently on trial here is Western culture itself. When the persecution of an individual who has exposed an evil is pursued so ruthlessly and yet the evil itself is studiedly ignored, all of us know that there is something very wrong with the way that our society is conducting itself. And if we do not protest in the strongest terms about what is being done in our name, then we become complicit. There is no third option. Bradley Manning and others like him everywhere are vital to our continued moral health and well-being as a people, and unless we offer them our full support in their often dire and isolated circumstances, it is we, as a people, who will end up the losers.
Alan Moore | Author Alan Moore stands up for Bradley Manning