Monday, February 27, 2006

This Vicious Cabaret

Tony Blair's controversial plan for a new law to stop people "glorifying" terrorism has been backed by MPs.

But what does that actually mean? Does this mean that by the back door the Government and the police can now prosecute anyone or any organisation they deem to be promoting what the incumbent power views as terrorism? Basically anything which suggests they should be removed, by force is necessary?

Let me explain with a current example -

The adaptation of the comic written by Alan Moore called V for Vendetta (which first appeared in Warrior Magazine - alongside his equally impressive Marvelman story) is soon to be released in the US and UK as a film.

The story is set (or was in the comic) in a Fascist Britain circa 1997 (I assume this has been now changed). There are no black people, no gay people, no descent. Only the corrupt iron fisted Governement, it's scheming jackals and the scared underclass they rule.

And then Codename V appears. A Guy Fawkes mask wearing mystery man who from the very outset sees the use of extreme violence and major acts of public destruction as the means to unsettle Britain's ruling elite.

When I and many others first read V back in 1980-1981 he was just a Shakespeare spouting freedom fighter, who would do whatever was necessary to force political change. But in light of the last few years, he is something far far more interesting than we could have imagined, he is an out and out terrorist who blows up the House of parliament, assassinates key figures of Government, and in pone artiularly chilling parallel for our times, enters a TV News room and threatens to detonate the explosive vest he wears under his cape.

Now what V is doing is attacking a Government he sees as fundamental wrong - they are racist, homophobic mass murderers. Although it is never implied that they have illegally invaded any Middle Eastern sovereign nations, but they are still bad none the less. The thing is though, you totally see the World through V, through this terrorist, and you completely understand his actions in the face of such opposition.

Now a movie is around the corner, which by all accounts is reasonably faithful to the comic. And from a certain point of view both the movie and the comic glorify V and his direct action approach to Political upheaval - It glorifies this particular form of terrorism.

So where does that leave our new law? Can this film and comic it came from become illegal.

I dunno, I would like to think that if such a ridiculous knee jerk piece of legislation came into effect the Government and police would at least have the common sense to use it wisely - then you see men like Mr Wolfgang, an octogenarian peace campaigner being roughly ejected from the Labour Party Conference in Brighton last year under new anti-terrorism legislation for simply shouting 'Nonsence' when Jack Straw was pontificating about the Governments 'reasons' for invading Iraq.

Anyway, just a thought.

This is the voice of fate, signing off.


Steve said...

I seriously can't see this new law lasting to any great degree. It will surely get shot down by the people's fundamental right to freedom of speech.


Surely ther would be uproar if V for Vendetta gets banned. Banning pieces of art that go against the beliefs of the government is the first step towards fascist totalitarian government!

Actually I could go on quite a bit longer about this and it'll get far too long for a comment. I think I'll write a long and vitriolic post about this instead!

Sylvana said...

I was wondering the same thing about this movie. Even though we have freedom of speech written into our constitution, you know, "it's just a goddamn piece of paper". When we have people being questioned by the FBI for their choice of reading material, or because they speak out against Bush and his policies, it just makes me sad. That is not what freedom is supposed to be about. But that is what they claim they are trying to bring to the Middle East.

I do want to see this movie, so I hope that it doesn't get banned here.

DrMax said...

Overreaction to a character in a comic? Sounds far fetched to me.

Sniffy said...

Well, when kids are fined £80 for being overheard telling their mates that they've got "fuck all to do", with ID cards around the corner, nothing would surprise me of this government. I would like to hear Tony Blair questioned very firmly about this film when it is released.

SwissToni said...

worth noting that Alan Moore has had his name taken off the film.... he takes a dim view of Hollywood at the best of times (when asked how he would film "The Watchmen" by some name director who had flown into Northampton especially to talk to him, he replied, "I wouldn't"). Apparently though he is not happy with the result, so perhaps it's been neutered for a mass audience already.

Forget the film though - the comic raises a whole pile of issues which, as you say, are chillingly relevant today... at least as far as the portrayal of V goes anyway, if not the actual government itself. V is at great pains to call himself an anarchist, rather than a terrorist, mind you.... but what conclusions does a modern audience draw on someone who straps themselves full of explosives and blows up landmark buildings?

Very interesting, and if you haven't read it, I would heartily urge you to do so. It's really very thought provoking. As usual with film adaptations, I'd also suggest you try and read it before you see the film.


garfer said...

I felt the same when they banned my hand gun. I was only taking pot shots at the undeserving.

I think they should have a smoke on it.

kyahgirl said...

do you realize you made a whole post without swearing? are you ill?

the different perspectives brought about the comic are quite interesting. One person's terrorist can be another person's freedom fighter.

I hope the UK doesn't go too far down this 'big brother'road with ID cards and invasions of privacy. Its a big step back and sounds like Bush and company are having too much influence.

Sniffy said...

Ban everything or blow it up trying, that's Tony's answer.

Nob. Hate him and his stupid government and if saying that i wish a terrorist atrocity on them is classed as glorifying terrorism, then they'll have to build a whole load of new prisons to accommodate all the people who'd be jumping for joy.

Ship Creak said...

"the voice of fate". nice touch, man. nice touch.

thordora said...

common sense+government....isn't there a physical law against that somewhere?

What frightens me even more is that sometimes these laws are enacted and used in such slow and hidden ways that no one notices until it's almost too late...I hope it never turns into that.

L said...

no daleks :(

MHN for short said...

You bring up a very interesting point. We have a sort of codicile in our constitution that basically states that the government is for the "people" and if it no longer represents the people, then we should disband the government and start over. It sounds nice in theory, but could it really happen? Probably not, and especially with the Homeland Security in place, it would most likely be a stupid, dangerous and deadly prospect.

Steve Dix said...

Oh I agree. Let's ban all films which glorify terrorism, such as This,
This and This, as well as This .

I'm reminded of a line in "Beyond The Fringe" where the leader of a newly-independent Commonwealth country is described by a Government Rep as "Yes, well, that was before we actually discovered that he was a Freedom Fighter, and not a terrorist at all".

Keep it up, Tony. You're constantly reminding me why I left in the first place.

malachi trizec said...

if worse comes to worse, y'all can come to canada to watch it...