This my first post on this Forum, so I hope it goes well. For a little background, I first read Watchmen in 1992 as part of a class assignment, and the then again about a year later. After I saw the movie this year, I decided to re-read it again, to see if I could figure the dang GN out. I had some of my own ideas, some re-occurring themes that had stuck with me since my first reads, and I have also read some other theories, on this forum, and other forums/blogs/essays. I've also done some outside research through the internet, and have discover a lot that wouldn't have been as easily available back when I had first read it.
That's my short introduction. Anyways I thought that as a post subject, I would give my analysis on Chapter XII, Pages 1-6. It being Nov. 2nd, I thought that would be a good place to start. Most of it is subjective of course, and includes themes that re-occur throughout the GN. I had hoped that this wasn’t going to be to be too much like an essay because some explanations also touch other topics on this Forum, and might be better expanded there. Plus some of the ideas reflect other parts, and sequences of the GN, and I didn't wanted to be calling out other pages/panels etc, but then again, there’s a lot here.
-The clock in the center chimes midnight, which is both the death of the past day, and the birth of the new day. It is also symbolic towards Dr.M's Atom symbol, which represents Death/Rebirth, and also the chiming of the Doomsday Clock.
-The left hanging female body faces down, as symmetrically opposed to the right hanging male body facing up, both impaled on the glass (shark tooth) shards.
-The Knothead holds the castration knife in the upper left corner, while the body in the lower right holds a castration pose. The baton phallus is erect in the upper right corner, while the bloody phallus is flaccid on the lower left (castrated). These are symmetrically symbolic towards the Nietzsche “Castrati Rapist” graffiti and theory.
-Behind the bloody phallus the male and female Knotheads are positioned for sex, or violence, or sexual violence… a common theme, too expansive to explain here. The bloody baton also covers the male’s eye.
-The crooked poster has Krystalnacht as the opening act for Pale Horse, which is Sold Out. Kristallnacht was Nov. 3 1938, and was the “Night of the Broken Glass”, to which Hitler allowed the destruction of Jewish lives and property unabated, based on the murder of a Nazi diplomat that he blamed on Jewish opposition groups (a lie). Many consider that night as the start of the “Final Solution” in which millions of Jews and others groups were needlessly slaughtered because Hitler thought it make the world a better place, and of which he ultimately failed.
-The blood arrow points upwards on the poster, as Krystalnacht was the opener directly to Pale Horse (Death), which of course is Sold Out (all dead). The arrow has afterwards fallen to the 5 mins to midnight symbol.
-The floating G-3265 ticket represents the date (3/2/1965), which is the beginning of “Operation Rolling Thunder” in Vietnam, and of which many consider to be the start of the Vietnam War. After the Bay of Tonkon incident (a lie), the US justified the massive aerial bombardment “ORT” over North Vietnam to save Vietnam from Communism, and make it a better place. Hundreds of thousands were killed, plus millions of others were displaced needlessly over the next 44 months, as the offensive achieved none of its objectives, and of which the US ultimately failed. The Operation was officially called off Nov 1st, 1968. The symbolic (G-) ticket must have been purchased beforehand, because the concert was sold out by Nov. 1st, 1985. The (G-) part will be explained on Page 6.
- Standing back to the corner for a broader view… It is now 5 minutes past midnight on the MSGarden clock. The satellite also faces the view of the clock, also towards the sky signaling a new era (technology), as the blimp crashes down from the sky (old technology).
-The smoke from the street directs Krystalnacht as the opening act to Pale Horse, with the Four Horseman band members in view as portraits. The Night of the Broken Glass is evident as the bodies also litter the street. The glass shards look like teeth from the shark’s mouth
-The male body in the left lower corner is crushed facing up, while the female body in the right lower corner is smashed facing down. Symmetry… more later.
-The body in the center crawls down the path of the one-way street to his hell, like the sailor to the Black Freighter
-The newspaper headline first asks the question of WAR? The Gazette published on Nov. 2nd. The arms of the Squid are first evident.
- The watch on the bottom is frozen at 11:35, like the Hiroshima clocks. A moment marked forever in time (next page also).
-The Utopia Theater with fallen “T” leaves U – OPIA. Opia is the medical suffix pertaining to defects of the eye or failing visions, (Myopia, etc.). In effect it says U – Blind or failed utopia.
-In the film, “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, The Alien Klaatu comes to Earth with a message of peace, and is immediately shot at. He comes with Gort, a super (hero?) robot,
designed to protect civilizations from themselves, or to destroy them if they war against others. The message is that violence must be renounced, or technology will eventually advance to where man can destroy all things. The message is lost with the shattered pictures of Klaatu and Gort. Watchmen parallels abound… Klaatu Barada Nikto!
-The black Watch Vender, who was walking away from the fight, lies dead laying up facing towards us, while the Knothead who was walking towards the fight, leans up against the post facing away. They are separated from each other. (Note the positions of the principle dead characters throughout the next pages).*
-The twisted One-Way sign points to the Pale Horse concert on page 2, as in “go directly towards death”.
-The newspapers still ask the question WAR?
-The Gunga Diner Elephant blimp has crashed, but more on that on page 4.
-The Elephant has crashed into the Gunga Diner, and the Diner sign also has the Elephant’s picture with a transport carriage. The Squid’s arm has destroyed the Diner, and has killed the patron with Tandoori Chicken to go.
-The symbolism is that Alexander the Great’s first foray into India was the Battle of the Hydaspes River, where he faced up to 100 War Elephants. His troops could not kill the beasts, so they blinded them, causing the Elephants to go mad, and attack friend and foe alike. Alexander won the battle, but his troops refused to continue, and face more such horrors, ending his expansion. So like Ozymandias wins the battle with his Squid, but his ultimate plans will fall short. BTW, the recipe for Tandoori Chicken originated in Peshawar… a city in the Punjabi Province where the Hydaspes (Jhelum) River flows.
-The Gazette still asks the questions WAR?
-Det. Joe, who was on duty, but didn’t want to stop the fighting, lies dead leaning upright with his back upwards. You can see the arm of his partner, Det. Steve.*
-Det. Steve, who was off duty, but decided to help stop the fighting, lies dead on his back facing upwards. You can see the feet of his partner Det. Joe.*
-Joey, who used physical violence in her demands for sex and wanted to fight, lies dead leaning up on the wall looking away. Aline, who wanted to breakup and back away from the fight, is intertwined with Joey, laying down facing us.*
-Malcolm, who wanted to get back with Gloria, but not under her conditions, is leaning up and facing us. Gloria, who used verbal abuse in her demands for sex and under her conditions, is intertwined with Malcolm, laying down facing away from us. Malcolm wanted to help stop the fight, but Gloria demanded that he didn’t.*
-Milo, who was on duty, and needed to stop the fight, lies down, back upwards, but facing us. Milo’s brother, who was off duty, and wanted to leave early for beer, leans up, with his body facing up, but looking away.*
- *Think of that looping graffiti with the arrow. At the crossing of the loop was a “Knot” that was the Fight between Joey and Aline, of which attracted or repelled the other characters. R.D. Laing’s book “Knots” is a book about interpersonal relationships, and how we manipulate and destroy each other. That and other Laing theories permeate throughout “Watchmen”. The smashed Gordian Knot truck symbolizes how that Knot was sliced through, leaving the bodies like strands of twine. Parallel to each other but symmetrically opposed. The mirror image Double RR is another good example. The two Bernards on page six make the top the loop in their fusion together. More might be expanded about it another time.
-The Shadow lovers on the wall, and their duality. Are they loving each other, or strangling each other? R. D. Laing said that, “We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.” Like the Rorschach blots, its an interpretation.
-The Squids arm destroys the Fallout Shelter. No place is safe. The time clock says 5 minutes past midnight, symmetrical to the MSGarden clock on page 2.
-The Promethean Cab signs hangs with the word “Light” illuminated. Prometheus gave fire to man, which brought him to the age of technology. Fire can be used for good or ill. Fire, stone tools/weapons, bronze, iron, gunpowder, nuclear age... next?
- The newspapers ask WAR? Bottle of Nostalgia (yea I see it, don’t get me started)
-The two Bernards embrace each other in death. They are two opposites with the same name trying to help each other, to save each other. They are the connection on the top of the humanity loop.
-The Pink Triangle poster with G W A R is missing the G. The G is the (G-) 3265 on the Concert ticket, which is symmetrically transposed on Page 1. “Operation Rolling Thunder” G-3265 symbolically ended on Nov. 1st. It is now Nov. 2nd, and the newspapers are asking WAR? The remaining letters on the poster symbolically provide the answer, as the Cold war has ended, but a new war will start.
-Now the Squid. Hindu/Buddhist as well as Existential philosophy runs throughout the GN. In the Hindu religion, there are many variations on the creation story. One tradition has Vishnu as the sleeping dreamer, the netherworld where all things originate. Out of Vishnu’s navel emerged (or ate through) the Lotus where the God Brahma sits on top and watches over the universe. Every time Brahma blinks, an old era dies and a new one is reborn, continuing the never-ending cycle of death and rebirth.
-Now out of the Institute For Extra Spatial Studies (the netherworld) emerges the Squid with the Lotus mouth, and in its death throes, the eye on top blinked. This is the symbolic representation of the end of an age, and the beginning of the new one. This may be a stretch, but why do think that it was Hira Manish (Indian) who drew the Squid image?
-The Black Freighter Comic has the Veidt Method Ad on the opposite side, showing their duality as one and the same.
-The blood splatter over the eye of the Happy Face electric hydrant plug coincides with the idea that even in this new era, it is the same blindness that exists, and it symmetrically aligns with the bloody baton on the lower left on Page 1.
All these ideas are subjective, of course. If anyone thinks that it helps or has merit, I would welcome the response. If there are other questions on this post, I might respond, or expand on also. Anyways again, Hi Everyone!
Sometimes the difference between a good joke and a bad joke, depends on its delivery!