“VI VERI VENIVERSUM VIVUS VICI”
58 years have passed and we are now back a full circle round… sometimes I suspected we ever moved at all…“It is to Madame Justice that I dedicate this concerto.”
So as an ode to a revolution that was not a revolution I offer this: The Dream of a revolution. I have selected these quotes, from both the “V for Vendetta” book and movie, as a Manual for the Revolution… read them carefully & may their lessons’ not be wasted.
“I am the Devil, and I come to do the devil’s work.”
V: I can assure you I mean you no harm.
Evey: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey: Well I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I’m not questioning your powers of observation I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
Evey: Oh. Right.
V: But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.
Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition!
[carves V into poster on wall]
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
Evey: Are you like a crazy person?
V: I am quite sure they will say so. But to whom, might I ask, am I speaking with?
Evey: I’m Evey.
V: Evey? E-V. Of course you are.
Evey: What does that mean?
V: It means that I, like God, do not play with dice and I don’t believe in coincidences
“It is to Madame Justice that I dedicate this concerto, in honor of the holiday that is sadly no longer remembered, and in recognition of the impostor that stands in her stead.”
“Justice is meaningless without Freedom.”
[V talking to the statue of Madame Justice atop the Old Bailey]
V: Hello, dear lady. A lovely evening, is it not? Forgive me for intruding, perhaps you were intending to take a stroll, perhaps you were merely enjoying the view. No matter, I thought that it was time we had a little chat, you and I. Ahh… I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madame Justice, this is V. V, this is Madame Justice. Hello, Madame Justice.
V: [posing as Madame Justice] Good evening, V.
V: There, now we know each other. Actually, I’ve been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you’re thinking… “The poor boy has a crush on me… an adolescent infatuation”. I beg your pardon, Madame. It isn’t like that at all. I’ve long admired you… Albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I’d say to my father “Who is that lady?” And he’d say “That’s Madam Justice”. And I’d say “Isn’t she pretty?”. Please don’t think it was merely physical, I know you’re not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person, as an ideal. That was a long time ago, I’m afraid there’s someone else now…
“Madame Justice”: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!
V: I, Madame? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms! Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn’t it! You thought I didn’t know about your little fling, but I do! I know everything! Frankly, I wasn’t surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.
“Madame Justice”: Uniform? Why, I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one…
V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots! Well? Cat got your tongue? I thought as much. Very well. So you stand revealed at last, you are no longer my Justice. You are his Justice now, you have bedded another. Well, two can play at that game!
“Madame Justice”: Sob! Choke! Wh-Who is she, V? What is her name?
V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a Mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that Justice is meaningless without Freedom. She is honest, she makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So goodbye, dear Lady. I would be saddened by our parting, even now, save that you are no longer the woman that I once loved. Here is a final gift. I leave it at your feet.
[V leaves a small heart-shaped chocolate box at the statue’s feet. The box explodes, destroying the Old Bailey and the statue]
V: The flames of Freedom, how lovely, how just. Ahh, my precious Anarchy… “O beauty, ’til now I never knew thee”.
“There are no coincidences, Delia. Only the illusion of coincidence.”
This Vicious Cabaret, a Song from the comic book
They say that there’s a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life’s a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret…
In no-longer-pretty cities there are fingers in kitties.
There are warrants, forms, and chitties and a jackboot on the stair.
Sex and death and human grime, in monochrome for one thin dime,
But at least the trains all run on time but they don’t go anywhere.
Facing their Responsibilities either on their backs or on their knees
There are ladies who just simply freeze and dare not turn away
And the widows who refuse to cry will be dressed in garter and bow-tie
And be taught to kick their legs up high in this vicious cabaret.
At last! The 1998 Show!
The ballet on the burning stage.
The documentary see
Upon the fractured screen
The dreadful poem scrawled upon the crumpled page…
There’s a policeman with an honest soul that has seen whose head is on the pole
And he grunts and fills his briar bowl with a feeling of unease.
But he briskly frisks the torn remains for a fingerprint or crimson stains
And endeavors to ignore the chins that he walks in to his knees.
while his master in the dark nearby inspects the hands, with a brutal eye,
That have never brushed a lover’s thigh but have squeezed a nation’s threat.
But he hungers in his secret dreams for the harsh embrace of cruel machines
But his lover is not what she seems and she will not leave a note.
At last! The 1998 Show!
The Situation Tragedy
Grand Opera slick with soap
Cliffhangers with no hope
The water-color in the flooded gallery…
There’s a girl who’ll push but not shove and is desperate for her father’s love
She believes the hand beneath the glove maybe one she needs to hold.
Though she doubts her hosts moralities she decides she is more at ease
In the Land Of Doing What You Please than outside in the cold.
But the backdrop’s peel and the sets give way and the cast gets eaten by the play
There’s a murderer at the Matinee, there are dead men in the aisles
And the patrons and actors too are uncertain if the show is through
And with side-long looks await their cue but the frozen mask just smiles.
At last! The 1998 Show!
The torch-song no one ever sings
The curfew chorus line
The comedy divine
The bulging eyes of puppets strangled by their strings
There’s thrills and chills and girls galore, sing-songs and surprises
There’s something hear for everyone, (reserve your seat today)
There’s mischief and malarkies but no queers or yids or darkies
Within this bastard’s carnival, this vicious cabaret.
“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 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 fifth 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 fifth 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 fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”
“The Management is terrible! We’ve had a string of embezzelers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them? It was you! You who elected these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate.”
“Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.”
“I shall die here. Every inch of me will perish. Every inch but one. An inch… It is small, and fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that, whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and things get better. But I hope most of all that you understand that even though I will never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
“Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all.”
“I didn’t put you in prison, Evey. I just showed you the bars.”
V: Don’t run from it, Evey. You’ve been running all your life.
Evey: I can’t… can’t breathe… Asthma… When I was little… [collapses while V catches her]
V: Listen to me, Evey. This may be the most important moment of your life. Commit to it. They took your parents from you. They took your brother from you. They put you in a cell and took everything they could take except your life. And you believed that was all there was, didn’t you? The only thing you had left was your life, but it wasn’t, was it?
Evey: Oh… please…
V: You found something else. In that cell, you found something that mattered more to you than life. Because when they threatened to kill you unless you gave them what they wanted… you told them you’d rather die. You faced your death, Evey. You were calm. You were still. Try to feel now what you felt then.
“It does not do to rely on silent majorities Evey, For silence is a fragile thing…
One loud noise, and it’s gone.
The people are so cowed and disorganized. A few might take the opportunity to protest, but it’ll just be a voice crying in the wilderness.
Noise is relative to the silence preceding it.
The more absolute the Hush, the more shocking the THUNDERCLAP.
Our Masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations, Evey, and it is much louder than they care to remember.”
Evey: All This riot and uproar V… Is this anarchy? Is this the Land of DO-AS-YOU-PLEASE?
V: No. This is only the land of TAKE-WHAT-YOU-WANT. Anarchy means “Without Leaders”; not “Without Order”.
With Anarchy comes an age of ordnung, of TRUE ORDER, which is to say voluntary order.
The age of ordnung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run it’s course.
This is not Anarchy, Eve.
This is CHAOS.
How did Yeats out it…?
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, “
Involuntary order breeds DISSATISFACTION, mother of DISORDER; parent of the GUILLOTINE.
Authoritarian societies are like formation skating. intricate, mechanically precise and above all, PRECARIOUS.
Beneath civilization’s fragile crust, cold CHAOS churns…
And there are places where the ice is treacherously thin…
Authority, when first detecting CHAOS at its heels, will entertain the vilest schemes to save it’s orderly facade…
But always order without love or liberty, which cannot long postpone their world’s descent to pandemonium.
Authority allows two roles: the TORTURER and the TORTURED; twists people into joyless mannequins that FEAR and HATE, while culture plunges into the abyss.
Authority deform the rearing of their children, makes cockfight of their love…
Authority’s collapse sends cracks through bedroom, boardroom, church and school alike.
All is misrule.
Equality and freedom are not luxuries to lightly cast aside. without them order cannot long endure before approaching depths beyond imagining.
“The justice that I loved was gone; who had such kindly eyes; who took such small and careful steps…
Transformed, she glared through narrow slits and ground good men beneath her vicious heel.”
“Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Nothing is true.”
“I love the rain, I love the moon,
I love the wind and stars…
I’d love to visit you quite soon,
and kiss you through the bars.”
“I love you, but why must you love the law?
It’s plain for all to see that she’s a whore…
That virtuous persons have no need to woo;
That villains screw then studiously ignore”
“You say have a clockwork, Love.
Who feeds and cares for you.
But I’ve read all her diaries.
And I know that she’s untrue.”
Evey: V? You’re almost finished, aren’t you?
V: See for yourself.
The pieces are set out before me, perfectly aligned.
Complete, one may at last grasp their design; their grand significance.
But “almost finished”? Yes, I suppose I am.
Though recognition’s been delayed by its circuitous construction, now the pattern long concealed emerges into view.
Is it not fine? is it not simple, and elegant and severe?
How strange, after the long exacting toil of preparation that it takes only the slightest effort and less thought to start this brief, elaborate amusement on its breathless, hurtling race: The merest touch, no more… and everything falls into place.
The pieces can’t perceive, as we, the mischief their arrangement tempts: those stolid, law-abiding queues, so pregnant with catastrophe. Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate.
Affected most, they understand the least…
And understanding, when it comes invariably arrives too late.
Indeed, they’ll not know anything’s amiss until they’re caught up in that terrible momentum. Possibly mistaking it at first, for bold decisive action, some last minute rally to avert disaster, charging to the rescue…
But they are not charging…
They are FALLING.
There… You see them? standing with their numbers on their blank indifferent faces, Nuremberg in miniature, the ranks of painted, wooden men…
Poor little things.
Your pretty empire took so long to build. Now, with a snap of History’s fingers..
Down it goes.
“The CHAOS progresses splendidly without us, Eve. For my part, I rather think the time has come for putting certain things to ORDER.”
“Regard the air of knowledge here condensed to liquid electricity. The facts of all society are centralized herein… A fact that’s figured in society’s UNDOING…
For I have tapped their knowledge well. Soon, everyone shall drink.
… And FATE is linked to everything. In a BUREAUCRACY, the file cards are reality. Punching new holes, we recreate the world.
Everything is connected.
You must understand that knowledge is not all your heritage.
It includes also courage and belief like hers that we commemorate herein…
And romance. Always, always romance.
Midst insurrection’s clamor, we may easily forget just what it is for which we strive..”
“Anarchy must embrace the din of bombs and cannon fire… yet always must it love sweet music more”
“With Science, ideas can germinate within a bed of theory, form and practice, that assists their GROWTH… but we, as gardeners, must BEWARE…
For some seeds are the seeds of RUIN…
And the most iridescent blooms are often the most DANGEROUS.”
“Anarchy wears two faces, both CREATOR and DESTROYER.
Thus destroyers topple empires; make a canvas of clean rubble where creators can build a better world.
Rubble, once achieved makes further ruins’ means IRRELEVANT.”
“AWAY with our explosives, then! AWAY with our destroyers! They have no place within our better world.”
“First, you must discover whose face lies behind this mask, but you must never know my face. Is that quite clear?”
“There’s no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill. There’s only an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.”
“This country is not saved… do not think that… but all its old beliefs have come to rubble, and from rubble may we build…
That is their task: To rule themselves, their lives and loves and land…”
“Give me a Viking funeral.”
Evey: [Posing as V] Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves.
By doing so, they took our POWER.
By doing nothing, we gave it away.
We’ve seen where their way leads through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.
In ANARCHY, there is another way.
With anarchy, from rubble comes new life, hope re-instated.
They say ANARCHY is dead, but see… Reports of my death were… EXAGGERATED.
Sourced quotes used in the Book:
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
– V paraphrasing John Basil Barnhill’s: “Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”
“A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having.”
– V quoting the famous anarchist Emma Goldman
“The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him) from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel’s whore: but all’s too weak:
For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish’d steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour’s minion,
Carv’d out his passage.”
– Macbeth 1.2.17-18
“We are oft to blame in this. ‘Tis too much proved that with devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar o’er the devil himself.”
– Hamlet 3.1.46-49
“And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol’n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”
– Richard III 1.3.336-38
“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.”
– Macbeth 1.7.47-48
“Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent.”
– Twelfth Night 1.2.53-55
Closing Credits Music Voiceover: Concerning non-violence: It is criminal to teach man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.
– Malcolm X
Closing Credits Music Voiceover: Sex and Race, because they are easy, visible differences, have been the primary ways of organising human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen, or those earned. We are really talking about Humanism.