The Fall of Guido Fawkes

I think I may be a bad Englishman. I am oddly uncomfortable with the idea of celebrating Guy Fawkes Night. Well... maybe it's not so odd. At it's core, Guy Fawkes night is a celebration of the continued survival of the Protestant King in spite of a Catholic plot to depose him by fatal explosion. Or so we are told. There's a certain mythology around the whole event and only so much evidence to go around and while it is pretty clear that there was a conspiracy underway there's precious little evidence regarding the events of the day itself and the information we have is largely from the confession of Guido himself, obtained by torture.

The part I find difficult to resolve is the method of celebration in the face of questionable evidence. In order to convict this man horrific methods of torture were employed to extract a confession for a plot that may not actually have existed (in the form of which we are familiar today). He was then executed by hanging, drawn and quartered. While this was not unusual at the time it's somewhat below the morals we espouse today. Yet still we burn this man's effigy on a fire once a year, we celebrate his death by despicable means more than we celebrate the victory of the Crown over over it's then enemies.

It all feels a little backwards, base and hypocritical to me. Harrumph.

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