Skip to comments.Guy Fawkes Night: 7 Things You Never Would Have Guessed About England's Most Famous Traitor
Posted on 11/05/2013 12:03:32 PM PST by Alex Murphy
Anyone who is familiar with British political history, or has simply watched too much V for Vendetta, knows Guy Fawkes. The man apprehended with a massive stockpile of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords in 1605, Fawkes was tortured and killed, leaving behind the macabre refrain to "remember, remember the fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot." However, it is often a misconception that Fawkes was simply an anarchist with a penchant for explosives, and his legacy surprisingly extends beyond an annual burning of his likeness. For example...
1. He wasn't an anarchist.
Despite the idealization Fawkes has received by the aforementioned graphic novel/movie, he did not attempt to blow up Parliament to destroy the government, but rather to reinstate the old one. Following England's split with Catholic Church in 1534, the Pope excommunicated the monarchy. Fawkes, who had converted to Catholicism at age 16, was disgusted by this and essentially served as a reactionary terrorist by attempting to destroy King James I and other political elites.
2. The plot probably would have failed anyway.
When the unlit gunpowder was moved from beneath Parliament to the Tower of London, it was discovered that the gunpowder had been left to sit too long, and had separated into its completely harmless chemical components. As Parliament had originally planned to meet earlier, but postponed the session due to a resurgence of the bubonic plague, the gunpowder had been in the cellar for almost six months, rendering it useless.
3. Fawkes' execution makes lethal injection seem pleasant.
After being pronounced guilty of high treason in what was essentially a show trial, Fawkes was sentenced to death by being hanged, drawn and quartered. This was carried out by cutting off the condemned's genitals and burning them "before their faces," followed by disembowelment and finally decapitation. However, Fawkes was able to jump off the scaffold with the noose on, causing his neck to break and killing him. Thus he was spared the nastier parts of the execution. Ironically, the attorney general later complimented King James on "his admirable clemency and moderation."
4. Originally, an effigy of the pope was burned for festivities.
Due to popular anti-Catholic sentiment, in the American colonies November 5 became known as "Pope Day," and was celebrated by burning an effigy of His Holiness. After George Washington publicly denounced the holiday as offensive to Canadian Catholic allies, the tradition died altogether in the Americas, while the effigy of Fawkes became the main one burned in England.
5. An English village celebrates the holiday by racing with flaming tar barrels.
Dating back to the 17th century, every Guy Fawkes Day, residents of Ottery St. Mary will partake in this highly flammable event. While its origins are unclear theories range from a pagan ritual to a connection with Fawkes' gunpowder the race through city streets is a boon for the town's treasury, drawing nearly 20,000 visitors annually.
6. Fawkes has an island named after him.
Isla Guy Fawkes is located among Ecuador's Galápagos Islands and, though uninhabited, serves as a launching point for divers due to the coral reefs nearby. What's more, Fawkes serves as the namesake for a national park in New South Wales, Australia, as it was first explored on November 5.
7. He ranks #30 on a list of British heroes.
Despite being arrested for high treason, Fawkes was selected as the 30th greatest British hero in a 2002 national BBC poll. Coming in ahead of David Beckham, Henry VIII, Charles Dickens, and a number of other notable Britons, Fawkes' election may have been primarily due to the collective humor of the British populace, but is primarily a nod to his enduring role in British culture today.
They would HAVE to be crazy to disagree with lying, murderous, thieving thugs like Hitler, Obama, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot...
“Sacred King” ping.
As I often observe, the English speaking peoples are a strange lot: we all commemorate acts of treason against the British Crown by letting off fireworks. Those still subject to the Crown, an unsuccessful one on the fifth of November, those of us no longer subject to the Crown, an eminently successful one on the fourth of July.
#2 was debunked. The government was apparently concerned that people might realize how close the cabal came to succeeding.
"....An interesting note is that Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world and parent of Warner Brothers, owns the rights to the image and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask. In 2011 purported members of Anonymous told CNN that activists were ordering masks mass-produced and shipped in from Asia so that Time Warner didn't receive the loyalties."
-- from the thread Here's A Factory Where Those Iconic Guy Fawkes Masks That So Many Protesters Wear Are Manufactured
Mass production of Guy Fawkes masks. Irony.
What exactly is ironic about mass production of Guy Fawkes masks?
Oh, I dunno. Radical leftists buying up Guy Fawkes masks that were made in third-world craphole sweat shops while rich Capitalists at Times-Warner soak up the moolah seems a little ironic to me. But it might be just me.
Those who wear them are proud anarchists, who spout inanities about how righteous they are. To find out their symbol is mass produced in what looks like a third world country sweatshop is indeed ironic.
Kind of like a vegetarian sneering at you and your hamburger while cramming down his own veggie burger, only for you to then both discover that you actually switched burgers.
Good. As long as black powder is stored somewhere dry, it can last a LONG time... Easily decades much less six months.
Not sure that wooden barrels in a basement next to a river would stay sufficiently dry for 6 months.
Well, maybe, but I just don’t really see why anarchists should have a bigger problem with mass-produced stuff than other people. A mask is a mask is a mask as far as that goes, and it would hardly seem more fitting should they be using expensive custom hand made masks. But, that may just be my take on it.
Anarchists are not the sharpest tools in the shed. A friend found a very telling question to ask them, that revealed much about the depths of their ignorance.
“What *kind* of anarchist are you?”
He got some hilarious, hyphenated replies.
“I’m a communist-anarchist”, alternatively, “socialist-”, “capitalist-”, with one ‘rocket surgeon’ even calling himself a “pro-animal, vegetarian-anarchist”.
My friend took it further and discovered that there really wasn’t a bottom to that well of stupid.
He asked them if they knew the “anarchist’s oath”, if they had an “anarchist party card”, or had an anarchist uniform. This usually resulted in some pretty silly guesses.
They actually did have an answer for the “anarchist anthem”, which invariably was the Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy in the UK’.
Speaking of which, here is that song, performed on the ukelele (mp3 file). (Public domain).
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