Do you recognize this moustache?
It belonged to Guy Fawkes, a terrorist whose 1605 attempt to blow up the House of Lords got him arrested, tortured, executed … then burned in effigy every year since.
Now his face — and fabulous ’stache — are symbols of contemporary uprisings that are, thankfully, a lot less explosive: the hacker army of Anonymous and the class warriors of Occupy have both donned Guy Fawkes masks as sly shorthand for their opposition to the status quo.
To fit such situations divergent in time and ideology, Guy Fawkes’ mug has become quite adaptable. And the centuries-long diminishment of crimes attributed to it — from regicide to pwnage — means we are now free to apply his moustache as a
generic icon of protest.
You can wear one when your in-laws overstay their welcome; or when your client interferes with your art direction; or when that food truck is blocking the bike lane. Whenever you feel the need to shake your fist, decorate your face instead.
And if your peeve is not too personal, we’d appreciate a photo of your mustachioed remonstrance. Take a picture of yourself wearing this upper lip toupee and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Guy Fawkes Day!
We admit to a recent touch of Anglophilia. Our new Team Members and clients in London — not to mention this summer’s compelling Olympic Games — keep turning our attention toward the sceptred isle across the Pond.
Trying to catch up on a bit of English history, we’ve been learning about Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated every year on November 5, the anniversary of a 17th Century plot to blow up Parliament and kill King James I for not being quite the right kind of Christian.
Why celebrate? Well, the plot was thwarted and the regime survived — and the occasion was exploited by both sides of the Protestant-Catholic divide during a time of intense religious conflict.
Today the more gruesome — and political — aspects of the holiday are obscured by a lot of fun and fireworks. Children throwing stuffed Fawkes dolls onto bonfires may know no more about the origins of their national holiday than American kids know about why they dress like Batman on Halloween.
But as we expand our relationships and embrace new opportunities in London, we are happy to learn a little more about English history — and why those protesters on Wall Street might have been wearing that particular mask.