I originally planned to post this on Guy Fawkes Day, but life got in the way and it did not happen.
Before you comment on this post with the obligatory explanations of what GFD is really about, I need to tell you… I already know.
I fully understand what GFD was, and still is to others. I am many things, but historically illiterate is not one of them. Add to this that I would see no way the Gunpowder Plot would have inspired me now, being that I am Jewish. I also, in no way shape or form, support the deposition of any political official through means of assassination.
All this being humbly submitted to you, I now divert your attention to the meaning that has been assigned to this day through the movie “V for Vendetta”. A movie that was based on a comic character. This movie is about, for lack of a better term, a man who, through his own trying experiences with an oppressive government, turns to sedition. As a catalyst for this, he chooses to use another icon from English history as his avatar… Guy Fawkes.
So… understanding the differences between the HISTORIC and the recently creates Pop-Culture versions of Guy Fawkes, I think I can now explain why I think the new version is something that we can all find something to identify with.
When I first saw the movie, I was very pleased with it. While I understood that we were not looking at a modern retelling of the Gunpowder Plot or of a person that was TRYING to be Fawkes, I did understand that there was a strong message in the movie that was more than just the neat fighting scenes and the special effects. Something even beyond the main story line that the screen play was trying to convey.
Face it. Today, with all of our electronics and toys, the collective population of the world has a pretty short attention span. We have to have everything now… now… now. This also, unfortunately, applies to movies as well. People do not want a movie that drags a point out over a two and a half hour period of time. They want instant satisfaction. They want the movie to tell them who to like, who not to like and explain everything to them. If you put together a movie that takes a long time to build up the plot, then only satisfies you in the last few minutes… there are a lot of people that would have walked out. Personally, however, I find that these are the movies I like the most. A good example of a movie like this would be M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense.” If you have not seen that, do not worry, I will not tell you the twist… but it WILL cause you to watch the movie all over again.
Now… to the point. This movie sent a message to me, as I am sure that it must have to others as well. This is that if people become too complacent, to lazy, that they run the risk of letting their governments walk all over them.
It tells you that there is a point when you have to make sure that you remind the government that it is there to work for you, not you for it. That when a government begins to trod on the rights of those it is supposed to protect, then it is the inherent right of the people to stand against the government. Whether that be in the form of a vote, a recall, or just marching on Congress, the White House, Parliament, Red Square, etc… you pick the iconic center of your respective government. As long at this protest or march is PEACEFUL, then I support that type of action 100%.
In the movie, “V”, the main character that was played by Hugo Weaving, advertised that to the people of England, though he, himself, was quite violent and taking care of the people that had done him wrong. So he does not really practice what he preaches, so to say.
But now, today, you see the Guy Fawkes persona being used by many groups and their patron saint of rising up against something. Some of these things I support, like the group Anonymous and SOME of their actions. But there are others out there that I do not and think that they are using the character reference in a manner that in not befitting the new meaning that has grown around it. People like the Occupy Wallstreet folks.
I firmly believe that there is a time when it is perfectly acceptable to rise up and voice your discontent with an issue or problem… or even a government. Sometimes it is necessary to get ones point across by becoming vocal and turning some heads. This is what GFD had become in my mind. A Reminder that the “Vox Populi” is a powerful thing and that, as “V” so eloquently put it in the movie… “Government should be afraid of their people, not the people of their government.”