Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's V for Vendetta Mask Night!

Hey, you know what tonight is? Tonight is Guy Fawkes Night, the night when British people celebrate Guy Fawkes, a simple man with a simple dream: to re-establish Catholicism as the national religion of England by murdering the Protestant King James I, Parliament and anyone else within a four-block radius using explosives planted under the House of Lords.
And he did it all for this man: Pope Paul V.
He is to Guy Fawkes what Jodi Foster is to John Hinkley Jr.
Above: Fawkes, shortly
before being discovered. 
Well, they don't so much celebrate Guy Fawkes as they do burn him in effigy. It's something they've been doing for like 400 years which is a really long time to hold a grudge. Especially when you keep in mind that not only did Fawkes fail to blow up anything, but that he was also captured, executed (sort of, we'll get to that) and that his body was then drawn and quartered and sent to the four corners of the kingdom as a warning to anyone else who might try to affect political change with a plot lifted from a Road Runner cartoon.

Look, I don't know much about how monarchies work, but Protestants and Catholics had been murdering the shit out of each other for decades, did Fawkes and his fellow conspirators really think that if the King suddenly exploded that everyone would be cool with his replacement being from the opposing religious/political faction?
"According to the rules of Royal Succession, should the King die without
an hier, his successor shall be chosen by means of a rap contest."
-Some Scholar
You know that step
that says 'not a step'?
Ok, so their plan wasn't exactly sound, but Fawkes ended up doing alright for himself. While on his way up the ladder for execution, he fell off the scaffolding and broke his neck before they could hang him thus sparing himself the inglorious death of a traitor, and replacing it with the ignominious pratfall of a schlemiel. Also, as failed regicides go, he is reasonably famous. His name is the reason men are called 'guys,' he's the indirect and historically questionable inspiration for those masks that Anonymous and the Occupy Wallstreet kids wear and by all accounts Guy Fawkes Night is kind of a rockin' party. You know, in many ways, having his corpse gruesomely dismembered before a jeering crowd was the start of some really good things for Fawkes, so uh, Happy Guy Fawkes Night!

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