Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Remember, remember the fifth of November
November 5, 2007 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Happy Counterterrorism Day.
posted by homunculus (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
And to you and yours!
posted by Iridic at 4:41 PM on November 5, 2007


The fireworks display near me in Victoria Park, Bow, had a four storey-tall Guy Fawkes skeleton aflame and lighting the touchpaper to a Big Ben rocket that took off into the air to the sounds of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity'. The show opened to the theme tune to the Exorcist.

Couldn't help but feel there were small children attending who are going to grow up not quite knowing the truth behind November 5th.
posted by tapeguy at 4:41 PM on November 5, 2007


So, are you saying we should all get some Guy Fawkes masks and change our names to a single letter?

Because, if so, I'm claiming 'q' before quonsar does.
posted by quin at 4:42 PM on November 5, 2007


( I forgot )
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:46 PM on November 5, 2007


I am going to terrorize the fuck out of some Formica tonight.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:51 PM on November 5, 2007


1. Torture Never Works and is Always Wrong
As set out in The King’s Book, King James I’s personal account of the Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes was seized and taken to the Tower of London. There, under special warrant issued by the king, he was subjected to torture over the next four days. (“No new torture was to be used,” the king directed. The torture was to be mild at first, and then progressively more painful.)


Well, that's just irritatingly prescient.

Oh, and it doesn't seem to have worked, back then, any better than it does today.
posted by quin at 4:51 PM on November 5, 2007


*Bakes “V” cake*
posted by Smedleyman at 4:58 PM on November 5, 2007


The king, for having authorized its use, was viewed by many of his own subjects as a cruel tyrant.

Surely the only people who viewed the King as a cruel tyrant (i.e. Catholics) already thought that prior to Fawkes' torture. If Fawkes was viewed with any sympathy would we, four hundred years later, still be annually celebrating his capture and execution by burning effigies?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 5:09 PM on November 5, 2007


So, are you saying we should all get some Guy Fawkes masks and change our names to a single letter?

I need to reconsider my association with the letter "W"...
posted by wendell at 5:12 PM on November 5, 2007


Burning things is fun!
posted by Artw at 5:16 PM on November 5, 2007


Take it back wendell, I'd rather associate it with you.
posted by quin at 5:27 PM on November 5, 2007


Weesa gonna die! Weesa all gonna die! Weesa die in here!
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:42 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Happy foreign holiday you didn't hear about until that fucking movie came out!
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:47 PM on November 5, 2007


This holiday smells like burning.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:48 PM on November 5, 2007


His confession. "Fawkes signed 2 confessions - one after torture and another 8 days later. The contrast between them is remarkable. The first document shown here is a page from his confession under torture. His weak and shaky signature ' Guido' can faintly be made out. The second document is from a confession signed later in a steadier hand 'Guido Fawkes'."
posted by Abiezer at 5:53 PM on November 5, 2007


Fucking campers.
posted by delmoi at 6:00 PM on November 5, 2007


Happy foreign holiday you didn't hear about until that fucking movie came out!

I'd heard of that Holiday before the movie, long before.

Anyway there was a comment on Matt Yglesias's blog today by an American living in the UK. (The post was about the movie American Gangster and how Americans make heroes out of our criminal element)
Funny you should say so on Guy Fawkes Night. Oddly enough, when I first went to the UK I thought (or should I say assumed) that the point was to celebrate Guy Fawkes and his anti-establishment plot. Stupid American: the point is to celebrate the failure of his plot and the successful confession-by-torture that followed.
I've always wondered how much the day now celebrates Guy Fawkes himself, and how much it celebrates his plot being foiled. I mean, obviously in the beginning it was all about fighting against the papists, but as the centuries wore on and on surely it must have become more about the man himself right? The Brits seem like they like ambiguity.

Either way, Happy foreign holiday you didn't hear about until that fucking movie came out!

I'd heard of that Holiday before the movie, long before.

Anyway there was a comment on Matt Yglesias's blog today by an American living in the UK. (The post was about the movie American Gangster and how Americans make heroes out of our criminal element)
Funny you should say so on Guy Fawkes Night. Oddly enough, when I first went to the UK I thought (or should I say assumed) that the point was to celebrate Guy Fawkes and his anti-establishment plot. Stupid American: the point is to celebrate the failure of his plot and the successful confession-by-torture that followed.
I've always wondered how much the day now celebrates Guy Fawkes himself, and how much it celebrates his plot being foiled. I mean, obviously in the beginning it was all about fighting against the papists, but as the centuries wore on and on surely it must have become more about the man himself right? The brits seem like they like ambiguity.

In my mind, that ambiguity makes Guy Fawkes day a badass holiday, you can celebrate it whether you love England or hate it.
posted by delmoi at 6:08 PM on November 5, 2007


*remembers, remembers*

: >
posted by amberglow at 6:08 PM on November 5, 2007


Um, oops
posted by delmoi at 6:11 PM on November 5, 2007


... still be annually celebrating his capture and execution by burning effigies?

We ... or rather, they ... still celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with fireworks for the same honest reason that most Americans behave similarly on Independence Day. We can say that with every match struck and every Black Cat lit that we're remembering the contributions of our Founding Fathers, humming Lee Greenwood's only real hit all the while, but really, it's all about blowing things up in a societally acceptable way.

And they've been doing it longer. We've only been celebrating our independence for 231 years. Bonfire Night is going on 402! And in that span of time, most of the context has been lost. Instead of "This is the night where we strike fear in the hearts of Papists!," the celebrations are more along the lines of "This is the night when we go watch things burn in a family-friendly setting."

So if someone wants to restore a certain amount of context, even from the confines of a magazine article, I'm all for it.

After all, if it hadn't been for Alan Moore, I'd think little more about Bonfire Night than anyone else. As an American, I probably wouldn't think about it at all. But reading V for Vendetta in 1988 (when DC Comics republished the series stateside) not only taught me the meaning of this calendar day, but altered the way I viewed the world entirely.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:33 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


A Religious fanatic feels persecuted, goes overseas to fight for his God and then returns home to attempt a bloody act of terrorism.

Next week as Britons celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic jihadist, under the Houses of Parliament in 1605, they might reflect how dismally modern the Gunpowder Plot and Europe's wars of religion now seem.

posted by mlis at 6:47 PM on November 5, 2007


grabbingsand, I was criticising the article's contention that the King was "viewed by many of his own subjects as a cruel tyrant" for torturing Fawkes. This is wishful thinking on the part of the author as there is no evidence supporting his claim, and plenty of evidence suggesting that Fawkes' death was greeted with widespread celebration.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 7:00 PM on November 5, 2007


how was Cromwell's death viewed by people at the time? (or did it depend on which people?)
posted by amberglow at 7:08 PM on November 5, 2007


Well, the post-Restoration 'Convention' Parliament felt strongly enough about Cromwell that they exhumed his body and hung it, decapitated it and displayed his head on a spike.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 7:19 PM on November 5, 2007


I was thinking today, the next U.S. president, if there's anything worth saving about our country, on the first day of his or her presidency, ought to issue an executive order disavowing torture, specifically including waterboarding. Whichever candidate seems most likely to do this, that's who gets my vote.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:22 PM on November 5, 2007


Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime
posted by words1 at 8:03 PM on November 5, 2007


The Ottery St Mary tar barrels festival also takes place on November fifth.
posted by Sailormom at 8:04 PM on November 5, 2007


Isn't there a bit in Pepys diary where he and some other London bourgeois sit around the dinner table some time after the Restoration and remark how England enjoyed much greater respect in the days of the Lord Protector, and that he was a puissant man, shame about the regicide? Not as funny as when he steps in the big pile of turds in his cellar, but there you go.
From what I've read, Cromwell was running out of genuine friends and supporters by the end, and the rule of the major-generals et al had eroded what popular support there had been, but much of our view of the commonwealth is tainted by the vigorous slanders of the apologists for the restored monarchy.
I grew up Catholic in England and have always loved me a bonfire night, spuds, sparklers and all - I had no idea of any sectarian aspects despite the basic history at school, and only learned about its origins later.
As a stude here in Beijing we convinced the stodgy university foreign affairs office that it was a celebration of deep national importance to Britons and almost succeeded in burning our dormitories down with an ill-placed pile of overly resiny pine.
posted by Abiezer at 8:18 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


11/5 - Nevar Forget.
posted by seanyboy at 11:59 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


The article seems also misguided in argueing that George Washington ordered his officers not to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day out of principle. Reading his order it rather seems he considered it highly undiplomatic at a time he was trying to secure the support of the (Catholic) French Canadians. Also, burning the Pope in effigy was also unlikely to go down well with his French and Spanish allies...
posted by Skeptic at 4:08 AM on November 6, 2007


I've always wondered how much the day now celebrates Guy Fawkes himself, and how much it celebrates his plot being foiled.

Neither. It's the night we light a fire, eat pork pies with mushy peas and mint sauce and set fireworks off.
posted by vbfg at 6:20 AM on November 6, 2007


I've been sitting here for half an hour now trying to work out how Guy Fawkes and all that proves that stereotypes are unjust, and while I'm sure stereotypes are often unjust, the reasoning here completely eludes me.

That piece reads as if the War of Independence was fought in the cause of Catholic emancipation, whereas I thought the Founding Fathers left England because not enough Catholics were being burnt. Cromwell himself was very nearly one of the FFs, if I remember rightly, being turned back at the quayside by Royal agents - one of History's Worst Mistakes.
posted by Phanx at 6:59 AM on November 6, 2007


For anyone interested - the transcript of the trial is here and fuck it, why the hell not, my collection of (honestly quite interesting) links from Nov 4th, 2004.
posted by longbaugh at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2007


I was criticising the article's contention that the King was "viewed by many of his own subjects as a cruel tyrant" for torturing Fawkes. This is wishful thinking on the part of the author as there is no evidence supporting his claim, and plenty of evidence suggesting that Fawkes' death was greeted with widespread celebration.

I think you're right. That struck me as the weakest arguement in the article.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on November 6, 2007


V for Vendetta Televised Speech
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2007


McCain blasts Giuliani over Waterboarding comments
posted by homunculus at 5:14 PM on November 6, 2007


« Older In his own words...   |   Yummy Science. Researchers unr... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments