It’s that time of the year again, the fifth day of November. The day on which Facebook newsfeeds are saturated with “Remember, remember the 5th of November” and protesters can be seen doing their protesting with faces concealed beneath Guy Fawkes masks.
Our dear Mr. Fawkes, champion of the underprivileged and downtrodden, no? The elected symbol of anarchists, pseudo-revolutionaries, and the hacker group known as Anonymous. On this day, individuals seem keen on displaying just how in they are with progressive culture through demonstrations that they are fans of Fawkes.
From what I have gathered, individuals and groups alike are electing this man’s image as a representation of their cause. But, the historical Guy Fawkes (or Guido Fawkes) was much less concerned with destroying all corrupt edifices, and more concerned with destroying the Protestant-focused authorities in England to make way for the implementation of a rule in which authority was to be held by those with Catholic sympathies. Had the Gunpowder plot succeeded, the end result would not have been the end of tyrannical oppression, but rather the shifting of power from one corrupt group to another group that has an extensive history of corruption, violence, and perversion. The terms ‘Catholic Priest’ and ‘child molester’ seem to be nearly synonymous in the minds of many individuals. Though I do not agree with making this correlation, there have been multitudes of cases in which it has been demonstrated to be applicable to various priests (but so too have there been cases where individuals of any given profession have been shown to be pedophiliacs, the priests just get the most press coverage; I digress).
Perhaps what we have to blame for this misinterpretation of history is the graphic novel, and subsequent film, V for Vendetta. Guy Fawkes is mentioned briefly and only as a means for the storytellers to establish his image as one that is to be associated with a drive to end tyranny. In the film, the Catholic church is portrayed in a negative light by the very individual who roams the streets in a Guy Fawkes mask. Perhaps he was doing this out of irony and the purpose was lost on me.
Now each year, people flood the social network world with snippets of “Remember, remember the 5th of November” in order to get nods from fellow misled Guy Fawkesian supporters (those who accept the history portrayed in V for Vendetta rather than investigate for themselves). Also, for a group of people who seem to want to protest peacefully (a.k.a. not blowing up and murdering plenty of people) I find the use of the Fawkes image to again be a disconnect. It is just as incompatible as those who use the image of Jesus to violently attempt to enact change (the Crusades?). Fawkes sought his goals through attempted violence and the ending of other human lives. Groups such as Anonymous seem much less into the whole ‘let us blow shit up’ than the ‘let us do some computer hacking shit wherein no one loses limbs’.
I understand that the Guy Fawkes image means something different now, but with its origins in mind, I do not see how this came to be so. Were one to strut about peacefully in a Guy Fawkes mask four hundred years ago, everyone would be confused. If you supported Guy Fawkes, you supported killing the Protestants in order to get some good old Catholics up on that throne, or parliament chair, or whatever those weird British government people sit on when doing their government stuff. Now, a Guy Fawkes mask seems to mean ‘Yeah, I got stoned the other day and watched V for Vendetta. I’m not a fan of all that government shit but I think this mask looks cool, so I’ll wear it, walk around telling everyone to remember the 5th of November because Hugo Weaving was doing it. Then I’ll go home and play some Call of Duty.”
Ok, I know this is a horribly generalized case, but the point is: fuck Guy Fawkes. He sounds like he was a douche, seriously.