“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

From: V for Vendetta

Genre: Movies, Comics

Who said it?: V

The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from V for Vendetta. This was originally a comic series written by Alan Moore and made into a feature length film of the same name. Both the comic and the movie are about V’s vengeance against a tyrannical government and Evey, a young woman who eventually joins V in his revolution.

The quote comes early in the film. V (played by Hugo Weaving) had just rescued Evey (played by Natalie Portman) from agents of the government. He brings her to his home/hideout and they discuss the bombing of a Parliment building that V claims he did. Evey asks if he’s scared because he’s now a wanted man and every one who he’s incited will also be hunted down. This is when V delivers the quote.

Geek wisdom: The people can also affect change by other means, such as voting these people out or, in the worst case, depose a corrupt leadership. Even the most tyrannical governments can be toppled if enough of its citizenry fights back and these governments must be afraid if they really want to stay in power.

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“Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise.”

From: Watchmen

Genre: Comics/Movies (sort of)

Who said it?: Rorschach

The story behind the quote: The quote comes the Alan Moore comic Watchmen, which was later adapted to a feature length film of the same name. Both the comic and the movie takes place in a world on the brink of nuclear war and a group of costumed heroes try to solve the murder The Comedian, a former comrade of theirs. There’s a lot more going on but, if I did try to cram all of the details of the incredibly dense narrative, this would be one long paragraph.

The quote comes from the very end of both the film and the comic. The heroes do discover who is behind the murder of The Comedian. However, the mastermind behind the plot has managed to also find a way for the world’s leaders to band together and, thus, actually have world peace through a truly despicable act, however. Most of the heroes decide to keep quiet to ensure the peace would last. However, one of the heroes, the anti-social Rorschach (played by Jackie Earle Haley) doesn’t want to do it…

Never Compromise Watchmen

 

When the comic was adapted into the 2009 film, the quote did change a bit as the lines are switched but the message is still the same. This time, Rorschach says, “Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon.”

Geek wisdom: A person’s integrity and humanity will never be tested when things are easy. They will only be tried during times of hardship and when we feel we need to compromise. While some people may believe that conceding may be the proper thing to do, there will be people who will be sticking to their guns no matter what. These are the people that may not be able to see the greater good of compromise or these people may be the ones who are the true heroes for standing up for their beliefs even if they are not popular. Ultimately, only history will say which was the right choice.

“If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

From: Batman, specifically The Killing Joke

Genre: Comics

Who said it?: The Joker

The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, The Killing Joke. This comic drastically gives a different spin on the origins of The Clown Prince of Crime and turns it on its head. Basically, The Killing Joke tells the story of The Joker’s plan to kidnap Commissioner James Gordon and give him “one bad day” so he can go crazy like The Harlequin of Hate became after his stint as the Red Hood.

The quote comes near the end of the story. Batman managed to track down the Joker. The Joker attempts to escape and, all the while, goes on a tirade saying that he’s won (thinking that Gordon has gone as mad as he is). He also knows that something awful happened to him that made him become the Joker but he just can’t remember exactly what it was…

Joker Origin Killing Joke

 

Geek wisdom: Our brains have this weird way of clouding our very memories. Sometimes, we can remember something so vividly, we’d bet our life on it, only to find out we remembered it wrong. Other times, we can have fond memories of the past. But, when we revisit the same thing, we find out that it’s not as good as we remembered.

This is not a bad, nor a good thing; it’s just a fact of life.