Scrolling Headlines:

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UMass Board of Trustees approves rise in tuition, student fees -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former Minutewoman Quianna Diaz-Patterson named to Puerto Rican national softball team -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

UMass rowing’s Jim Dietz inducted into CRCA Hall of Fame -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jury selection begins Monday in second gang rape trial -

Monday, June 15, 2015

Students turn attention to state legislators as decision on UMass budget looms -

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alumna and next director of Brooklyn Museum Anne Pasternak ‘created her own path’ -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

UMass graduate crowned head of 600-year-old Indian kingdom -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The fifth of November remembered

Courtesy of intergalacticrobot.blogspot.com.

It’s like this: “Remember, remember the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot.  I see no reason the Gunpowder Treason ought ever be forgot.”  It “remember, remembers” the attempt by a conspiracy of 13 English Catholics to blow up the House of Lords in 1605 with the goal of installing a Catholic monarch—evidently the Catholic-Protestant rivalry was all the rage in those days 407 years ago.  Guy Fawkes is the man most remembered of that squad of thirteen—as a man of 10 years’ military experience, he kept watch over the gunpowder that was to be used in the attack (Wikipedia).

I recently finished reading V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (the comic which was later adapted into the better-known movie starring Natalie Portman).  Moore’s comic (Lloyd illustrated what Moore wrote) was published in the ‘80s in the heyday of the British version of Ronald Reagan (Margaret Thatcher), the Cold War, and the public debut of AIDS.  I’ll let Moore describe the times: “It’s 1988 now.  Margaret Thatcher is entering her third term of office and talking confidently of an unbroken Conservative leadership well into the next century…the tabloid press are circulating the idea of concentration camps for persons with AIDS.  The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top.  The government has expressed a desire to eradicate homosexuality, even as an abstract concept, and one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against…It’s cold and mean-spirited and I don’t like it anymore.  Goodnight England… Hello the voice of Fate and V FOR VENDETTA” (from Moore’s introduction to Book One).

What does that have to do with Guy Fawkes and the fifth of November 1605?  Moore’s melodramatic anarchist V wears a Guy Fawkes mask in the comic and implores the audience not to forget 5/11/1605 (European date format there because it’s England) with the scrap of poetry recited in my first paragraph above.  V does this while blowing up several British landmarks himself, in the context of an alternate reality- authoritarian government having taken over England after a nuclear war.  The “man from Room Five” in the mask never reveals his civilian identity, if he has one, and trains/tortures his protégé audience surrogate, Evey Hammond, while plotting the fascist government’s overthrow and usurping the “Voice of Fate.”

Although similar, there are differences between the film and the comic.  The film, distributed by Time Warner, portrays V much more clearly as a hero evoking the Fox (that’d be Zorro) or the Bat whose actions resonate with the English populace and have positive consequences (even taking his torment of Natalie Portman into account).  The comic, produced by Moore and Lloyd, naturally fleshes out V’s impact and perception more, along with the people within and under the ruling regime, and the aftertaste for the reader is more ambiguous.  If this is just a book review, I’d definitely recommend the comic, even though I’ve said little about it. It’s a solid read/spectacle that’s of higher quality than the movie.

Two phrases from the comic that apply in a nice vague sentimental way for some people today: “At least the trains all run on time but they don’t go anywhere,” and “The bulging eyes of puppets, strangled by their strings!”   Mmmm, dystopia.  It’s finger-lickin’ good.

Very recently, online non-entity Anonymous have taken to wearing Guy Fawkes masks with pride.  Giving a reason as to why anybody’s interested in Nov 5th.  The masks don’t mean much—but, I disapprove of Western governments who supposedly value free thought cracking down on the internet at the behest of the “official” mass media producers.  Oh, and uh, Occupy Wall Street.

Tom Lynch can be reached for comment at tjlynch@student.umass.edu.

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