Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remember, remember, the 5th of november

Four hundred and three years ago marks the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt by Catholics intended to kill the English king, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack by blowing up the Parliament. It's interesting to see how popular culture has reimaged this event (which has been symbol of anarchy and terror for hundreds of years) into the struggle of honorable citizens against the fears of their nation sliding into totalitarianism. This is similar to how we romaticize pirates nowadays as noble Robinhood-esque characters like Captian Jack Sparrow. The reality is that these folks were theives and murderers. Kinda makes me wonder how Al-Qaeda will be remembered in two hundred years...

The Gunpowder Plot is now a remembered as symbol of the struggle of freedom against tyranny, just like how the meaning of most holidays and historical events drift from their real origins (Christmas and Easter, anyone?). A good example of the symbolism of November 5th has on people was when Ron Paul set the GOP record for the largest online single day fund raising on November 5, 2007. It's now a feel-good date, as you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who likes totalitarianism and tyranny. Let's just ignore the fact that everyone's definition of tyranny is wildly different. After all, most partisans believe that totalitarianism and tyranny is what the *other* political party is offering...

So, in the spirit of the new meaning, I think I'll watch V for Vendetta again tonight. That said, here are some of my favorite quotes from that movie:

"But I'd only told them the truth. Was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us. But within that inch we are free."

"Beneath this mask there is more than flesh... Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof."

"There is a face beneath this mask but it's not me. I'm no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it or the bones beneath them."

"But again, truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror."

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