V and Murrow

Rachel Bright

V’s purpose in his speech is to persuade people to revolt against the government. He admires the Gunpowder Plot and how it revolted against the government, and he wants to somewhat replicate that event on its four hundredth anniversary. V thinks that everyone has forgotten the importance of the Gunpowder Plot in their history, and he says, “we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.” When V says this, it can be inferred that he wants to cause so much violence that the government will have to pay attention to him. This is important because it is a warning of the events that V plans to make happen in the future. V wants to revolt so badly because he sees “cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression” in his government. These words that V uses are important because they portray how V feels about the government's actions towards its citizens. They are used to convince people to turn on their oppressive government and support V in what he is doing. V realizes what so many others seem to miss, and he wants to call his fellow citizens to use violence to make a change in their society. V says to the public, “fear got the best of you,” and he wants the citizens to be more educated on their government, instead of letting fear control them. He is hoping to awaken the public to how their government is instilling fear to tell the citizens what to do.

Edward R. Murrow is calling for the media to stop being comfortable in their ignorance of reality and to educate the public on what is going on in the world, and for the people to become aware that the media is taking advantage of them. He claims that people “have built an allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information,” and that it is necessary that people see what is really going on in the world, instead of ignoring it. Murrow is saying that the citizens do not want to hear things that are going on in the world if they are not pleasant. This is important because it is the reason for Murrow's warning to the public. Murrow calls for a change in the information given to the public, so that they are watching actual news stories and not just watching entertaining shows every night. Murrow also says that, “there is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference.” The media has been so altered to fit what people what to see, instead of what people need to see, and Murrow sees that as something that needs to change. This is important because it is the call to action that Murrow is making. He argues that the media needs to make drastic changes in what it presents to the public, so that people are aware of what is going on in the world around them.

V’s speech is similar to that of Murrow in that they both make a call to action for people to make drastic changes in how aware they are of the world around them. This is because they both see dangers within their society and use history as an argument for that. They both want to get rid of the comforts that people have that prevent them from being aware of the truth. V warns against “the comforts of every day routine - the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition.” By this, V means that while people like to be in a routine and be comfortable, it can sometimes be detrimental to their well-being. This is important because V wants people to know that what they are so used to is dangerous for them. Murrow warns something similar, that people should rid themselves of their usual comfort of the television “being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate,” and instead allowing it to appreciate “the importance of ideas and information.” By this, Murrow means for people to stop using television as some sort of distraction from the realities of the world. It is important for Murrow to tell people exactly what they need to change in their life in order to be more aware of the world. These two men are claiming that comfort and complacency prevent people from realizing the reality of their world. Both V and Murrow are fighting against ignorance. V argues that people should remember their history and the Gunpowder Plot, “a day that is sadly no longer remembered,” and Murrow argues for the proper use of the television, as it “can teach, it can illuminate - and yes, it can even inspire.” Murrow means when saying this that while he does not like the use of television at the moment, it has the potential to be extremely useful. This is important because it shows that Murrow is not discrediting the technology of the television, just making critiques on its use in society.

While V and Murrow present similar speeches, there are aspects of them that are severely different, including their means of making a change and who their revolt is against. V suggests that people join him in a violent revolt against government, suggesting similar acts to when he “destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten.” By this, V means that there are certain things in the past that people need to remember. Its importance is that V is justifying his destroying the Old Bailey. Contrarily, Murrow simply suggests a change in what is shown to the people on television. There is also a difference in exactly what is being revolted against. V, in his speech, is suggesting that the government is corrupt and not looking out for its citizens, as he refers to “the crimes of this government.” He means that what the government does to its citizens are like crimes and should be punished. It is important because it shows how much V thinks the government should be overthrown. Murrow, on the other hand, contends that it is the media that is corrupt. He suggests that the media wants the people to remain “complacent, indifferent, and insulated,” and that is why it presents material like Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen, instead of news material. These descriptive words show the state of being that the media wants citizens in. They show how unaware the media wishes for the public to be of what is going on in the world. The two speeches also are aimed towards different audiences. V is speaking to an audience of everyone in society, while Murrow is only trying to appeal to those who select the media.

V is warning against a corrupt government that is trying to mask what has happened in the past and what is happening presently. That can apply to most societies because there is always a risk of the government abusing the power with which they are entrusted. They can control how people live their daily lives and the information that people receive. V specifically warns against the government of that time, which has “censors and systems of surveillance coercing [their] conformity and soliciting [their] submission.” V means that the government is watching over its citizens at all times, and people need to become aware of it. This is important because it is, perhaps, the first warning to the citizens of their government and their actions. Murrow is warning people, though, to become aware of what they are watching on the television and the information that they are receiving. He wants to ensure that people are not filling their time with emissions that have no purpose “but to entertain, amuse and insulate.” Murrow means by this that the "information" they are receiving from the media is not information, but, rather, entertainment. It is important because it informs people of what they are not receiving from the media, real and important information. In today’s world, this is very important to keep in mind because it is so easy to fall into the habit of watching Netflix and filling our time with useless pastimes. However, with the social media in our world, it is also easier to receive information about what is going on in our world. It is harder to shut oneself off from the events happening in the world. Both of these speeches give warnings that the world can still learn from today.