November 8, 2011

Guy Fawkes Day!

I didn't know Guy Fawkes Day existed until V for Vendetta came out, but it fell on a Saturday this year, so in true college style we had a party. We spent a little bit of time pondering how problematic the whole thing is - the masks in V for Vendetta as a symbol of revolution against an oppressive government when that doesn't really make a terrible lot of sense... And then we made scones and ran around and gave up on trying to make it make sense.

James Ford over at Monkey Mind, however, didn't give up on trying to make it make sense, and he has a really interesting reflection up. Here's a bit:

During the Occupy Wall Street and the whole ongoing “Occupy” protests, the mask appears internationally being used as a symbol of popular revolution. Artist David Lloyd is quoted saying: “The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.”

I’m sure Warner Brothers, who must make a little money off of each mask worn, are happy as clams to have become the face of revolution…

And, of course, in a world where everything is connected, irony becomes the commonplace of communication.

Sometimes I like it. But. Me, I’m not so sanguine about the Guy Fawkes mask part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, with its undercurrents of violence, and frankly, with its misdirected zeal.

He talks about his hopes for the Occupy movement, which involve it shifting its focus entirely to electoral politics... which seems unlikely, and which I might disagree with him on. But it's an interesting thought. Read the whole thing!


Foxie said...

You know... Guy Fawkes Day actually has nothing to do with V for Vendetta. Guy Fawkes Day is when we celebrate a Catholic fundamentalist failing to blow up and kill the democratically elected British Parliament.

If Britain was ever going to have a popular revolution, it would be during the summer. We get fractious during the hot months (see the recent riots). Bonfire Night is a time for fireworks, big bonfires, standing in the cold eating vending trailer hotdogs with your friends and family.

Them masks fuck me right off. Stop stealing our holiday!

(Incidentally, the film is horrifyingly misogynistic.)

Anyway, rant over...

Foxie said...

Sorry, that wasn't really aimed at you! Aimed more at all these people I see wearing the masks and such...

Katie Casey said...

Oh, I know! I just didn't know about Guy Fawkes Day until I saw that film. But Wikipedia explained the actual history. The proper holiday sounds like fun; our version is always just finding an excuse to goof off.