Who Watches The Watchmen: Meaning Behind HBO’s New Series

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More lately, the phrase has been generalised to examine authority, the utility of regulators, and projects of quality assurance. 

HBO is beginning a new series Sunday announced Watchmen, a fresh take on the world of the D.C. Comics series and 2009 film of the same name. The comics, film, and T.V. series are all set in an alternate reality where masked vigilantes take the law into their own hands. Throughout the story, the presence of these superheroes safeguards changes in world archives as we understand it.

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The United States gains the Vietnam War, and President Nixon’s Watergate scandal is nevermore exposed — mainly because he enlists one of the Watchmen who has turned evil to kill Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. But, unfortunately, Nixon also abolishes term limits, so he is still president in 1985 when the film is set.

The T.V. series picks up decades later when a white supremacy group who style themselves after famous Watchmen member Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley in the film) start attacking law enforcement officers.

Why is this related to the phrase “Who watches the watchmen?” Because that was a fundamental premise of the comics series, it unquestionably came home to roost on the T.V. show.

The phrase dates back to the 1st/2nd-century Roman poet Juvenal, who wrote satires about tyrannical governments, oppressive dictatorships and law enforcement corruption. The original term is “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” in Latin, which translates to “Who will guard the guards themselves,” the latest variant of which has become “Who watches the watchmen?”

The phrase is a comprehensive embodiment of the idea that it can be difficult to hold those in power responsible. Who will do it? In the event of the Watchmen comics, creator Alan Moore asserted in a 2002 interview that the novel “started as a grim superhero story, and finished up as a multi-layered metaphor for the consequences of power upon society.”

In a 1987 conversation, Moore also revealed, “Who’s watching the people who’re watching after us? In the circumstances of Watchmen, that implements. ‘They’re guarding out for us, who’s guarding out for them?’. . . At the time, a special part of Reagan’s America isn’t scared. They believe they’re invulnerable . . . they bother me and frighten me. The power elite in America and a terrible lot of the people who vote for them appear to have this [lack of fear] . . . that’s unhealthy. . . . Watchmen is directed at an American audience. The plan was to try and make people believe a little bit worried about it.”

The themes of the comics will resonate today in this new television series from Damon Lindelof since the new Rorschach wannabes are running after cops and their relatives. In a recent Instagram post, Lindelof used the comments to discuss the white supremacy viewpoint of the new Watchmen, assuming this is “a story about America.”

“Watchmen is a narrative about America. And it’s about self-proclaimed ‘heroes’ struggling an intangible enemy that is almost impracticable to defeat,” addresses Lindelof. “In the eighties, that enemy was the pervasive warning of nuclear Armageddon within the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In 2019, that enemy is the long-overdue account with our country’s dark history of White Supremacy. That declared this is not the ONLY plot arc because there are also alien squids.”

And so, on to flea bites. The 19th-century British mathematician Augustus De Morgan digressed from constructing the rules of logic to pen the poem Siphonaptera, which opens ‘Big fleas have little fleas against their backs to chew ’em, And small fleas have more inferior fleas, and so, ad infinitum.’ Placing aside the issue of plagiarism (De Morgan borrowed the idea from the 18th-century satirist Jonathan Swift), we require to meet the presence of resources.