December 2011 Archives

In an Internet awash in Hitchens quotes, Ed Brayton picks an unheralded one. In this clip, Hitch is defending free speech against all manner of religious and political encroachments:

The whole speech is--of course--worth listening to, but the money quote is about 7 minutes in:

"My own opinion is enough for me and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get on line, and kiss my ass."

The Dave-Gibbons-designed Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendatta is a powerful visual brand for Anonymous, observes Slate. "By all accounts [Anonymous] has no clear hierarchy or leadership, or even any internal agreement about what exactly it is. And yet:" may also have noticed its memorable logo: a suited figure with a question mark where his head should be, set against a U.N.-style globe. You've also likely seen the visual symbol that's made its way onto the streets: a Guy Fawkes mask borrowed by Anonymous from the V for Vendetta graphic novel and movie for use in real-world protests. So how did this chaotic, volunteer-driven, non-organization manage to create a visual identity stronger than many commercial brands?

If pop-culture symbols are good, they can become both memorable and powerful. The Fawkes mask has become so.

update (12/11):
Is the Guy Fawkes mask a metaphor for the closet? Forrest Wickman discusses LGBT characters in the graphic novel and film adaptation:

The mask represents the power of the people, and the power of uniting around an idea, whatever that idea may be. But in the film, at least, the mask also represents something else: being in the closet.

He continues:

It seems likely that the Wachowski siblings (who produced and wrote the adaptation) felt a personal connection to some of these themes in the graphic novel, and chose to expand on them in their adaptation. [...] The Wachowskis have spoken very little about the subject with the press, but if this is true then it's possible that Lana may have felt as V does when he comments that "there's a face beneath this mask, but it is not me."


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Michael Kazin suggests that an Obama-vs-Gingrich matchup would be good for the country. "I sincerely hope Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination for president," he writes, because "It could bring a healthy candor to our politics and end up boosting the fortunes of liberalism as well." He prompts his readers to "imagine what a refreshing campaign he and Obama could wage:"

...this could set up the kind of campaign Americans have never witnessed before: a serious debate between articulate exponents of liberalism and conservatism--the ideological conflict that has shaped American politics since the emergence of a mass movement on the right in the 1950s.

He goes on to comment that the debates "would sharpen the terms of political discourse in a healthy rather than demagogic fashion:"

Standing just feet away from the president, Newt would probably refrain from ranting about the Democrat's "secular socialist agenda," and Obama would not be able to get away with empty talk about "winning the future."

(Especially since, as I mentioned back in January, that's one of Newt's book titles...)

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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