Today we celebrate Guy Fawkes' Day...a holiday that gets a lot less attention in the US than it does in the UK, where tonight fireworks and bonfires are being lit across the land...
My mom is British, so I grew up knowing about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, although for 5, 6 and 7-year-old Sarah, it was more about lighting a bonfire and watching fireworks than about a history lesson.
I pretty much forgot about Guy Fawkes day as I aged into high school, college and beyond, but a few months back Eric and I rented V for Vendetta...and it all came flooding back. Ok...for those of you who haven't seen the movie, here's all I'll say about it: It is NOTHING like what you think it will be. The trailer is atrocious and captures about 1/30th of the actual plot. Hugo Weaving is astounding, considering he spends the entire film behind a Guy Fawkes mask, and the story is really really compelling. I know, I know...you're saying "But in the previews she's bald! and wearing a burlap sack!" Yes. Yes she is. And I honestly have no idea why that is what they picked for the preview...because it's so not what the movie is.
Anyway, Guy Fawkes wasn't just a crazy guy with a wheelbarrow full of explosives...he's a pervasive part of our culture today-- According to Richard Metzger's blog at the LA Times, Guy Fawkes was the model for Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost...and his "Guy" is the origin of our slang, "guy."
Don't believe us? Well, believe the Online Etymology Dictionary!: Guy: n. "fellow," 1847, originally Amer.Eng.; earlier (1836) "grotesquely or poorly dressed person," originally (1806) "effigy of Guy Fawkes," leader of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up British king and Parliament (Nov. 5, 1605), paraded through the streets by children on the anniversary of the conspiracy.
Anyway...Happy Guy Fawkes Day, y'all...in honor of this most auspicious holiday, for your viewing pleasure, V.