Your RDA of Irony

Once Upon a Time, when Fundamentalist Protestants Were Liberals….

Today is the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up Parliament and the Royal Family. On this day in 1605 Fawkes and his fellow conspirators believed that a successful explosion would somehow restore Catholic rule to England. Mary, Queen of Scots, literally could have been a figure head.

The conspirators were a little indiscriminate with their targets. The Royal Family also would have been happy to blow up Parliament. If Mr. Fawkes was an attractive young man, James I wouldn’t have turned down the offer.

(The King’s tendencies had a rather depressing effect on his wife, Anne of Denmark. And for solace, the poor neglected woman turned to Catholicism!)

Of course, the plot’s failure did not make Parliament’s Puritans feel any more ecumenical. Guy Fawkes’ Day was long celebrated as an Anti-Catholic holiday. Bonfires throughout England roasted effigies of the Pope, although a real Jesuit would have been a welcome alternative. Today, Fawkes’ religious affiliation is downplayed. The current euphemism is that he was “Pro-Spanish.”

Now, how should we celebrate Guy Fawkes’ Day? In keeping with the holiday’s origins, you could rent Going My Way and make derisive remarks while watching it.

  1. Hal Gordon says:

    To this day, Guy Fawkes is remembered in England as the only man ever who went to Parliament with good intentions.

  2. At least Guy Fawkes had a name suitable for public occasions.

    The names of other Catholic conspirators would have been too cumbersome to say.

    Even a Puritan would break up saying “Francis Throckmorton Day”

    And how would you celebrate “Chidiock Tichborne Day” when you can’t pronounce it.

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