It’s Guy Fawkes day. I can’t for the life of me ever seem to actually remember why he tried to blow up Parliament. Most everything I know about this holiday I learned from V for Vendetta, which I doubt is a rich source of historical accuracy. But I’ve been seeing Mr. Fawkes’s pointy beard everywhere these days. Apparently he’s become the mascot for OWS or something. I’m so behind on the news. You’d think I’d get my TV working or something, but I really have no interest.
Let me say, I’m not a fan of blowing up buildings, even if they’re unoccupied. The number of times I’ve seen Fight Club doesn’t change the fact that I don’t condone real life violence. I am hugely in favor of people using their voice, however. Outsiders are often puzzled and disapproving of the amount of bickering that seems to go on in our culture. They get a skewed view of America from their media because they only hear the people with the loudest voices, a lot of whom appear on Fox News. Yet, even though it’s annoying, I believe there’s something special about our freedom of speech that allows people to say even the craziest of things. Whatever you believe, you have the right to tell people about it whether others agree with you or not.
This freedom, though, gives us a much greater responsibility to educate ourselves and think before we react. This is a responsibility I feel too many people neglect. Anybody can say anything they want, but that doesn’t mean you should believe them. This is the most important lesson I tried to teach my students. Evaluate what you hear in the media. Search for biases. Analyze the validity. A lesson I fear so many people have forgotten.
See, now I’m just rambling again.
So, on this bonfire day, I will eat treacle toffee, watch a great film with an elf and a swan, and be grateful for my freedom. There are still too many people around the world living under tyrannical rule. The Arab spring proved that humanity’s urge for freedom from oppression cannot be denied. There are a lot of things that are seriously messed up in this country. Greed and irresponsibility are rampant. And yet, essentially, I am free and happy. So set something on fire tonight, and remember remember the fifth of November because really, what else is there to do?