Posts tagged karen liao
Posts tagged karen liao
I remember watching this movie on HBO quite a few years back. Those were the days when sociological concepts were not quite in my realm of understanding or interest. My older sister had been waiting days for this to come out, and I wanted to see what the big fuss was about. From a point of view of a sixteen year old (or at least somewhere around that age), the language was pretty hard to comprehend. But the action, oh the action, was simply a universal counterpart of the word awesome. Knives, masks, mystery, blood, torture, black bags were many of the things that appealed to me at that fresh age – not forgetting the cape!
Four years have passed and not much has changed – I still find weapons and action scenes intricately awesome. However, now that I have been recently further exposed and educated about sociological issues, V for Vendetta has made so much more sense and is now in my list of favorite movies ever, joining Black Hawk Down, Pride and Prejudice, The Breakfast Club, and Cinderella Man.
Not only has it been forever engraved in my Facebook information page, this movie and its content has literally opened my eyes and rattled my brain about the power of something so mundane – the power of media and its capabilities in changing even a powerhouse like England.
What Roger Silverstone states about media’s relevance certainly applies to this film. Media was definitely the center of people’s lives. It was a way for them to “learn” about the outside world and experience it without leaving the comfort of their homes. Of course that is after all the propaganda, censorship and all other kinds of manipulation have been implemented do we see the exact effects the use of the media was being aimed for.
The government, with its strong institutional relationship with the media, used its power it knew it had to disseminate information that they wanted and how they wanted – again with the use of lying, exaggeration, and very good mass media skills. They gathered the people’s trust and fear until the “protagonist” ends up destroying their system.
Weber’s “Autonomy” took over, and people began to dare to defy the set laws. People used their innate power combined with hidden courage to see through and filter out what was mostly false disseminated information. Why this wasn’t happening before V showed up in everyone’s synchronized television sets was because of what the media did – lessen or completely phase out face-to-face contact. According to George Herbert Mead, a relationship between the community and the individual must be made through personal communication because he believes there should be NO sense of alienation in a society. People had a hard time filtering information because conspicuous conversations were always being monitored, and death was most probably what welcomed each one whose heads were black bagged. There was fear because there was no community. Man is by nature a social animal (Aristotle), and it is much more difficult to individually go against a tide than it is if one has some sort of back up.
It was obvious that media could do such powerful concealing acts face-to-face contact could not. It is so much harder to spot lies or nervousness on media forms than in personal conversations. Isn’t it a wonder why the Chancellor never was in face-to-face contact with anyone (even his own men) until the end? And there we see that he was not the strongest or least scared of his fate unlike the man who brought him to V. That character, the Secretary of Defense if I remember correctly, was a special kind of ruthless – a man of none or very little fear. Other than V, he would be my favorite.
There is a great irony that really caught my attention in this film. When V took over the entire British television base, he awakened sleeping patriots waiting for an opening to attack. He also made me realize the great irony in the media sense. They could not stop him from broadcasting because all channels were told to be linked and controlled by one base to make sure they can show whatever to whomever, whenever. The purpose of this was to keep everyone in line and give the illusion of community. This backfired because what they thought would be their greatest instrument for success to control became the major weapon used against them and marked the beginning of their system downfall.
If V was denied access to this centralized system, everyone would have left the fifth of November to be just another day – which, in the end, goes to show how the power of media prevailed as a great one to be used for different purposes. It is subtle and sneaky, but most of all, it’s effective.
This is exactly why it is such a previous and dangerous commodity. Whoever knows how to use it has complete power over society. It being mundane is its greatest advantage to becoming more powerful and extraordinary.
Croteau, D. and Hoynes, W. (1997). Media and the Social World [selected pages]. In Media/Society (pp.16-26). Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.
Ryan, J. and Wentworth, W. M. (1999). Classical Sociological Theory and the Mass Media. In Media and Society: The Production of Culture in the Mass Meda (pp. 23-42). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.