Guy Fawkes Day commemorates the date in 1605 when British revolutionary Guy Fawkes plotted to blow up Britain's Parliament. On November 5, he was found with explosives (hence the name The Gunpowder Plot) in the basement of the House of Lords in London, apparently only minutes away from lighting a match. His conspiracy was intended to restore Catholicism as the official religion in the Protestant nation.
The British didn't particularly admire Mr. Fawkes back then – King James I, successor to Queen Elizabeth I, hung him in the Old Palace Yard at Westminster. He's not held in high regard today either. On this day, Britons gather around bonfires to burn Fawkes in effigy.
However, his anti-government spirit has become something of a rallying cry on both sides of the pond, as disaffected youth protesting reduced government spending in Britain, the Occupy Movement in the U.S. and the unaffiliated Anonymous hacker consortium, all seem to be claiming the Guy Fawkes mantle for the 21st Century. Or at least sporting replicas of the Guy Fawkes mask from the movie V for Vendetta (starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving). The movie was based on the 1980s graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore, which was indeed inspired by Fawkes' story.
V for Vendetta is set in a dystopian future United Kingdom. A mysterious masked revolutionary who calls himself "V" works to destroy the totalitarian government. A nuclear war has left much of the world destroyed, though most of the damage to the country is indirect, through floods and crop failures. A fascist
party called "Norsefire" rules the country as a police state. The anarchist V, dressed in his Guy Fawkes mask, commences a violent and intentionally theatrical campaign to murder his former captors, bring down the government, and
convince the people to rule themselves.
If you haven't read it, go and buy a copy. It is remarkably prescient in regards to the current anti-government, anti-business atmosphere both here and abroad.
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