Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember the V of November

Remember, Remember the V of November

Talk about a concentrated amount of holidays near each other. In the past week we have had Halloween and Day of the Dead and now we have Guy Fawke day. This man is Guy Fawkes.

On November 5th 1605, Guy Fawkes tried to assassinate King James I (and most of the Protestant aristocracy), by blowing up the British Houses of Parliament. This would be the equivalent of destroying the Capitol during the State of the Union.

No one is entirely sure why Guy and his associates (pictured below) wanted to do this. The main theory is that it was an effort to re-establish Catholicism in England (as King James I and his predecessor Queen Elizabeth I were both Protestants).

I should point out that Guy Fawkes wasn't the prime mover of the 'Gunpowder Plot, he was merely a cog. Guy had been a soldier though, and it is likely he was involved as he had some knowledge of explosives. The conspirators had rented a cellar below the House of Lords and had been stockpiling gunpowder in there, to create the explosion.

The story goes that a letter was sent to a Catholic Lord, telling him to stay away from Westminster on the 5th. He was suspicious and showed the letter to King James, and unfortunately Guy was caught leaving the cellar in the morning of the 5th, where the guards found at least 1800 lbs of gunpowder, underneath coal and firewood. Apparently if the explosion had occurred, it would have destroyed most of the surrounding buildings and smashed windows up to 1km away.

Fawkes was subsequently tortured over the next few days. He held out for four days without revealing anything, and only gave in after seeing some of his fellow conspirators in shackles after giving themselves up. He ultimately only revealed the names of conspirators who were dead or who had already been arrested.

The men were tried and convicted on Jan 31st, and were hung drawn and quartered. On the day the plot was discovered, the people of London were encouraged to build bonfires to celebrate the survival of the King. The next year, Parliament passed the 'Thanksgiving Act' which made November 5th an annual celebration. This Act remained in force until 1859. In modern Britain, 'Guy Fawkes Night' (or 'Bonfire Night') is still celebrated, with fireworks, bonfires and church-bell ringing. Traditionally, children would create an effigy of Guy Fawkes to raise funds to buy fireworks ('Penny for the Guy!'). These effigies would be put on top of the bonfires and burned. This is less common now, as children aren't allowed to purchase fireworks any more.

Guy Fawkes was also used in the comic books and film, V for Vendetta. The famous mask is supposed to be the face of Guy Fawkes. But really, I disliked that Alan Moore book. It was such a piece of shit. Remember, remember, that "V for Vendetta" was, upon watching it a second time, a movie that's largely about a disfigured savant who kidnaps a woman, keeps her locked in his basement, tortures her, breaks her mind and then only lets her out once she's become a devoted follower of his ideas.

the only way a libertarian could get a woman. Rorschach could totally beat up V for Vendetta . But if you want to be a nerd, you could make a joke that it has been 404 years. Revolution not found. Ha ha ha ha ha...a.... yeah. One more for the road. The other joke is that he was the last man to enter parliament with honest intentions.

But Guy Fawke is not the only way to feel the V of this day, just a couple of days ago a new take on the 80's TV mini-series V aired the first episode. Yes, I'm moving on to the topic of Television here. For those unfamiliar with V, it's about a somewhat covert takeover of Earth governments by a race of reptile aliens that want to steal our water and eat the flesh from our bones. I know it's 25 years old, but I'll take the high road and assume that you haven't seen it.

But then again, if you saw the first episode on Tuesday, you saw what was the first 3-4 episodes of the original series. I mean, seriously, they pretty much breezed through it. I sort of felt that they were playing it in fast forward. They got to the healing, went to the reveal that they were reptilians, and even set up the resistance in the alien crowd.

I don't even think they formed a resistance until the 2nd-3rd hour of the original miniseries. One thing I did realize was that Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet from Lost) is literally the worst female actress that has ever lived. Seriously, I couldn't stand the scenes she was in. They were awful in every way and the only redeeming factor was that Wash was with her.

Which leads me to another thing. Does this mean that we'll never get a Firefly get together again? All the key actors seem to have gotten steady gigs now. This show has two of the cast from the show. All I know is that the next time I see any of the cast members from Firefly, I'm going to be stabbing them with a metal stick because they're god damn Reptilians.

I'm sort of interested to see how they are going to work the moral calculus here. If some aliens show up and heal millions upon millions of people and achieve world peace, how exactly could you justify forming a resistance to expel them? Even if they were all about stealing our water and eating our flesh, they did bring about world peace. Maybe the aliens will start eating people en masse to really make us turn against that whole thing.

Though I can see this show causing a lot of political ramifications. I mean, what the fuck was up with bringing up Universal Health Care? I know I talk about it at least once a week here, but in this show that has the V's in favor of it, even if it's under a rouse, it's still going to be fodder for the conservative right to protest. The Teabaggers already are going crazy with Obama for the birth certificate, I can see them running with this whole V stuff and making it even more annoying to see them protest stupid shit.

It's bad enough that Coast 2 Coast is constantly ranting and raving about the reptilians. Clearly a case of one too many red neck hicks who watched the original V mini series acting out. But now with this we're going to get even more crack pot fools talking about this. I suppose it's a lot better than talking about Mel's Hole, right?

Then again, while I saw the current political situation reflected in what the Vs were attempting to do, I did see some Scientology parallels, mostly in the interview with Queen V, where she was ready to walk out unless they didn't mention things that would portray them in a bad light.

So there you have it. A little history lesson into another famous day that was marketed as a "remember", hmmmm. I wonder if we'll have a "never forget the 11th of September" chant in a couple hundred years. And there's your taste of history and television talk.

Happy Bonfire Night everyone! Long live the rich aristocracy!

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