Guy Fawkes Symbol
Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), also known as Guido Fawkes , the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries , was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Fawkes was born and educated in York . His father died when Fawkes was eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic. Fawkes later converted to Catholicism and left for the continent, where he fought in the Eighty Years' War on the side of Catholic Spain against Protestant Dutch reformers . He travelled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England but was unsuccessful. He later met Thomas Wintour , with whom he returned to England.
As a loose collective of so-called "hackers" labeled Anonymous continues to cause mostly harmless chaos around the Internet, a symbol born from Alan Moore and David Lloyd's graphic novel V for Vendetta has become synonymous with the cause of radical transparency online. The Guy Fawkes-style mask worn by the character V was first used by Anonymous as way to publicly protest what they saw as the harmful indoctrination of Scientology, but has since evolved to encompass an entire movement that is as seemingly diverse as it is secretive. We decided to dig in to what the movement is trying to accomplish, as well as what creator Alan Moore thinks about the hacktivist group.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images A protester in a Guy Fawkes mask at a rally in San Francisco on Aug. 15. Time Warner earns a licensing fee on the sale of the masks. When members appear in public to protest censorship and what they view as corruption, they don a plastic mask of , the 17th-century Englishman who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Stark white, with blushed pink cheeks, a wide grin and a thin black mustache and goatee, the mask resonates with the hackers because it was worn by a rogue anarchist challenging an authoritarian government in “V for Vendetta,” the movie produced in 2006 by Warner Brothers.
As an anthropologist of the digital I tend not to treat digital media as exceptional, except when it comes to the few exceptions that seem to rub up against our traditional categories and methodological tools. Anonymous, the online entity that has recently erupted full force engaging in wave after wave of protest following the Wikileaks drama, seems to be one such exception. For those that know nothing about Anonymous it is a challenge to characterize in the course of a few sentences. But largely because of the recent distributed denial of service attacks, journalists have been on a spree to describe Anonymous, so far, largely telescoping on the DDoS and as one journalist put it , the “darkened” chat rooms many an anon are to be found.
Anonymous logo Anonymous logo from parasearcher.blogspot.com. The loosely affiliated and ever-changing band of individuals who call themselves Anonymous have been variously described as hackers, hacktivists, free-expression zealots, Internet troublemakers, and assorted combinations thereof. By all accounts the group has no clear hierarchy or leadership, or even any internal agreement about what exactly it is.
An Anonymous protester wears a Guy Fawkes mask in Madrid earlier this month. Photograph: Mario Pereda/Demotix They call themselves " Anonymous ", and they are the world's most famous group of hacker-anarchists. When they have left the glow of their computers to protest in public – against anti-piracy laws, perhaps, or the imprisonment of Julian Assange – they have taken, very wisely, to wearing masks.
A protester at Occupy Seattle wears a V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP The skin is pallid, the cheeks touched with pink. The eyes are holes. And the smile is frozen, set forever, a fixed uncanny moustachioed grin above a devilish goatee beard. This is the face of protest in 2011.
The comic-book writer Alan Moore is not usually surprised when his creations find a life for themselves away from the printed page. Strips he penned in the 1980s and 90s have been fed through the Hollywood patty-maker, never to his great satisfaction, resulting in both critical hits and terrible flops ; fads for T-shirts, badges and shouted slogans have emerged from characters and conceits he has dreamed up for titles such as Watchmen and From Hell . "I suppose I've gotten used to the fact," says the 58-year-old, "that some of my fictions percolate out into the material world." But Moore has been caught off-guard in recent years, and particularly in 2011, by the inescapable presence of a certain mask being worn at protests around the world.
Nov 5, 2011 8:05am Today is Guy Fawkes Day. In Great Britain, Guy Fawkes Day — and its post-meridian counterpart, Bonfire Night — have been celebrated every Nov. 5 for centuries, since soon after Fawkes’ death in 1605. In the lead-up to today, a Guy Fawkes mask spawned by the 2006 movie “V for Vendetta” has become the accessory of choice at Occupy Wall Street and similar protests around the world. So who was Guy Fawkes, and how did he become a symbol of protesters more than 400 years after his death?