V for Vendetta

By: Myah Lanier

Edward Murrow and V

V for Vendetta shows an inspiring character, named V, who stands up for the citizens of London by explaining to them how corrupt their world is and encouraging them to stand up for themselves. Edward R. Murrow made his own speech that points out similar points to that of V and therefore is a real life example of V.

The purpose of V's speech was that he wanted to point out the corruptness of the government and show the citizens that they have managed to lose their voice. He knew that the citizens of London were not understanding the issues within the government and how it was treating them. He told the citizens, "And where you had the freedom to object, to think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have sensors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. By saying this, V is emphasizing that the government has managed to convince the citizens that living in this world of isolation, under complete rule, is beneficial for them when in reality it is not. The government has convinced its citizens that its rule gives them protection and just the right amount of freedom, when in reality it has taken all of the citizens' freedom by taking away the most important thing: their voices. V stated, "Fear got the best of you...and 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." V pointed out to the citizens that they are living the "comforts of every day routine" without thinking through them at all. They are oblivious to how the government is treating them and he explained to them that they must stand up for themselves, with him, and get their voices and freedom back. He told the citizens, “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.” V allowed the citizens of London to become actively involved by giving them a time and a place to stand with him.

Edward R. Murrow had a similar purpose as V did when he gave his speech in that he brought attention to the fact that his audience needs to stand up for themselves, use their voice, and understand that the world around them has become harmful to their lives. Murrow states, "Our history will be what we make of it." He explains that is it our job to make our lives and our history meaningful and to understand the importance of our future. He asks, “Would anything happen, other than a few million people would have received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country- and therefore the future of the corporations?” By asking this, he argued that people are somewhat aware of what is going on in the world, but they do not say or do anything about it. He emphasizes that the future is what the world makes of it and the citizens are slowly caring less about major world situations, like the “study of American policy in the Middle East,” even though these world situations have an impact on what the world will be like in years to come. He calls out mass media and technology as ultimately causing the lack of involvement in major world situations to try to help individuals understand that the world around them has become harmful. Murrow states, “We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent…Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off of our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.” By saying this, Murrow is drawing attention to the fact that individuals watch television as if it is nothing. Instead of using the television as an outlet to the world around them and to being caught up on current events, individuals use it as entertainment and as a distraction from negative aspects of their lives. Murrow wants the citizens to understand that television should be used as a linking institution to inform them on major worldwide events rather than an outlet used as distraction from their surroundings. Murrow explains to the citizens that they have managed to lose their voices and need to stand up and talk about the corruptness of their society. He expresses the "importance of ideas and information" and states that we are at fault for not standing up for what we believe in and for not using mass media as a source of bettering the society. Murrow says, “There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate-and yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it…” Murrow wants his audience to understand that they are able to take control of their own lives and that they can use the media as a linkage institution to the world rather than using it as an outlet to escape the world. His ultimate purpose was to call the citizens out for using the media as a distraction and therefore paying no mind to the world around them.

V and Murrow are both very inspiring and use similar ideas and organization in order to get their speech across. They both start their speech by apologizing, or saying that this speech "might just do nobody any good.'" They do not start violently or overwhelmingly, because they want their audience to be with them and to trust that what they are saying is meaningful. Both V and Murrow talk about how the citizens' voices have been taken away or covered up. In V’s situation the citizen’s voices were taken by the government and for Murrow they were covered up by media. They talk about how ideas that used to be encouraged are now "dangerous thoughts.”They both put blame on the situation, but also on the citizens themselves. V states, "if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into the mirror" and Murrow states, "if we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge..." Both are stating that the citizens are doing the wrong thing by sitting back and doing nothing; they need to stand up for themselves and for their thoughts and understand the corruption within the media and the government. They encourage their audience to realize and start to think for themselves again, rather than allowing the media or the government to control every aspect of who they are. They make it clear that individuality and how people feel and think are extremely important and that people should stand up for their ideas and who they are. V and Murrow believe that the people can do what they set their minds to and because of this they encourage them to fight for what is right for them. In V’s situation, he wants the citizen’s to fight for their voice and for their freedom; in Murrow’s situation he wants the citizens to fight the urge of using mass media as entertainment and to use it as a linkage institution instead.

While V and Murrow had similar objectives and guidelines, their speeches still differed in many ways. The main way in which these two speeches contrasted was the fact that V's speech was giving the citizens something to physically do, while Murrow was telling them to think. V tells them "But if you see what I see...then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight..." while Murrow states, "This instrument can teach, it can illuminate- and yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards..." Murrow calls them out and encourages them to think and use television and other media as a way of strength rather than a way of weakness. V encourages the citizens to stand alongside of him and physically riot in a way that will cause change within the government and within their world. Another major difference between the two speeches is that V is calling out the corruption of the government, while Murrow is calling out the citizens for using media as entertainment and a distraction rather than using it for information and knowledge. V brings attention to situations that everyone in the city of London encounter, but have been oblivious to the significance of them. He says, "And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression." This meaning that the government has caused the country to become a place of intolerance and injustice and the citizens have not paid any mind to it. Murrow states that "But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us..." He is calling attention to mass media within the society and how people are relying on it as an escape, rather than using it as an outlet to truly understand the world.

In conclusion, V and Murrow both speak to their audience in a similar way in hopes of calling attention to important and harmful issues within the audience's daily lives. While they have similar organization and ideas, V starts a physical movement and gives the audience someone to stand with while Murrow starts an intellectual movement and hopes they will think about everything within themselves.