GUY FAWKES MASK: GUY FAWKES – FROM A TERRORIST TO AN ANTI-HERO

From a declared terrorist to a spontaneous anti-hero!

From a declared religious militant to a symbol of anti-establishment protests!

The imagery that lasted for centuries, some 370 years –long enough for system and people to go routine and indifferent to the reason with which it had started – after all, time wears off reasons, interpretations and relevance of any incident to customize it in the context of ‘now’ – has been made irrelevant in three decades.

The imagery that started taking birth in early 1980s with a character of a fictional world, has become the most adopted placard of anti-government and anti-system protests the world over in just three decades.

That tells us the power of communication and the media it rides.

Before the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ which had a wide release in 2006, Guy Fawkes was not known worldwide. Same thing can be said about his mask, or the mask designed in his name.

Even in Britain, the country of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and the country of Guy Fawkes, he was being forgotten, even if the plot had become synonymous with his name. People preferred Halloween over it and people preferred calling November 5 as Bonfire Night and not ‘Guy Fawkes Night’.

He was resurrected as an anarchist and an anti-hero in a comic book series, ‘V for Vendetta’ on a fictional dystopian Britain. The main protagonist of the fictional world, ‘V’, was dressed like Guy Fawkes wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. The series continued for several years. ‘V for Vendetta’ was also released as a graphical novel.

The 2006 movie epitomized the written work behind it. Though it had many changes from the source material, it can be said it took out Guy Fawkes and his mask out of Britain.

With the launch of the movie, the Guy Fawkes’ journey, from a terrorist to an anti-hero, was prepared for a global outreach. And it came in 2008 when the ‘hacktivist collective Anonymous’ adopted Guy Fawkes mask in its protests against the Church of Scientology. Since then, it is all over. Since then, the mask has been adopted as the protest symbol the world over. Its outreach is clear from the fact that it is banned in Middle East countries like Bahrain, UAE and Saudi Arabia. And it is also banned in Canada in ‘extreme circumstances’.

Films are a powerful medium to take an image to the global audience to change and build perceptions. The US has been doing it for years. And Guy Fawkes’ metamorphosis though the Guy Fawkes Mask once again reiterates it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Guy_Fawkes_Mask-Wikimedia CommonsImage courtesy: Guy Fawkes Mask – Wikimedia Commons

THE GUY FAWKES NIGHT: FOR THE WORLD, IT’S BASICALLY ABOUT THE MASK

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**Collage prepared from the photographs sourced from the Internet


It’s the Guy Fawkes Night today (it’s the Guy Fawkes Day as well/also the Bonfire Night – the India time – by the British time, it is few hours away while writing this). Names apart, it is basically in the message. And the name Guy Fawkes in the contemporary times reiterates it.

The over four centuries old name, associated with a failed treason plot (or the rebellion depending on which side one was – the Gunpowder Treason Plot) to remove the British king and install a Catholic monarch, on November 5, 1605, has come to be associated with a symbol that has fast become the protest mark to raise the voice against establishments and against policies.

The Guy Fawkes Masks are fast becoming the protest symbol of modern-age political activists, protesters and anarchists, from Middle East protests to Occupy Wall Street, from India to the US.

Over the centuries, the day has had changing perceptions in Britain about celebrating it with bonfire and masked effigies but history is history and it is for Britain, rooted in a Monarchy.

For the world of now, it is basically about ‘it is in the message’. Irrespective of the associated history, the contemporary world knows Guy Fawkes Masks as popularized by the film version of the graphic novel ‘V for Vendetta’ released in 2006.

The 10 issues of ‘V for Vendetta’ had their run-time from 1982 to 1989 where the Guy Fawkes Mask of the day found its origin but the mass appeal it needed to become a growing worldwide phenomenon came with its film adaptation.

The film popularized the Mask the world over and the themes the novel and the film dealt with attached with the Mask the elements of activism against oppression. V, the mysterious central character of the novel in a Guy Fawkes Mask designed by David Lloyd, fought to liberate his country from a Fascist regime in a dystopian future. He raised voice against the wrongs and he gave voice to the others.

And the world has never been bereft of issues crying for attention and voices, in developed nations, in developing countries, in the third-world block, in democracies, and in tyrannies. The issues always look for symbolisms to tell the world of their presence. And many such issues have found their symbolism in the Guy Fawkes Masks after the movie was released.

It also reiterates why cinema is such a powerful communication tool to propagate ideas, to spread thoughts, and to popularize symbols.


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 **Collage prepared from the photographs sourced from the Internet


THE GUY FAWKES NIGHT: FOR THE WORLD, IT’S BASICALLY ABOUT THE MASK

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MR. V OR MR. KANE OR MR. FINCH OR MR. MCMURPHY: AND THE MASK

The cult or Mr. V or the cult or Mr. Kane or the cult of Mr. Finch or the cult of Mr. McMurphy..

The cerebral Mask Vs the maniacal Mask Vs the calibrated Mask Vs the peculiar Mask..

Masks are good friends when they don’t let one bleed giving one the space to be his Self while screening him from the scavenging curiosity, the pervert ebullience and the duplicitous vivacity of others.

Guy Fawkes delivered Mr. V.

Mr. Kane had his own reasons.

Mr. Finch could preserve his integrity.

Mr. McMurphy was delivered to his freedom.

They could befriend the Masks and the Masks, in turn, befriended their individualities.

Guy Fawkes, V For Vendetta, Citizen Kane, To Kill A Mockingbird, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/