The Man Behind the Mask

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Upon the idea of internet hacktivism and the cases of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden I decided to go back to the groups of notorious hacker groups and understand where the foundations of the Anonymity comes from with the global trend of wearing the common mask shown in stereotypical anonymous subjects. The mask represents a 17th century Roman-Catholic terrorist, Guy Fawke, who plotted to overthrow the government at the time and let his daughter sit on the throne aged nine. He plotted to do this by a method called “The Gunpowder Plot” an invention that would kill King James I. Fawke was victim to an anonymous letter that contained his conspiracy and he was later tortured to revealing his plans. The history of this was later adopted into the film V for Vendetta which showed the main protagonist fighting against an authoritative figure whilst wearing a grinning Fawke mask.

Today the mask symbolise anonymity amongst people who rally in protests as well as being adopted by Assange himself and Wiki-leaks. It is a pop-culture phenomenon that allows people to be hidden as well as serve as a collective face to those serving the same cause.


10 thoughts on “The Man Behind the Mask

    catacious said:
    October 9, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Interesting that you went back to look at the history of Anonymous’ icon for this week’s topic – I see that mask used a lot in protests but always wonder whether the protesters know the history of Guy Fawkes or were just inspired by “V for Vendetta”. I found an interesting article on different causes apart from Anonymous which have used the mask in their protests, which might be worth a read to add to your post ( ).
    Good use of links and sources, but it might be good to have them open in a new tab so a reader doesn’t have to keep backtracking to return to your post after using a link. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    Claudia said:
    October 10, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Hi Sam. Prior to reading you blog, I’d never really considered the history behind the Guy Fawkes mask – thanks for enlightening me! It would be great if you could include some links to other websites – I think that would really help to illustrate your points.
    Your post also really got me thinking more about the reason why Anonymous choose to wear the Guy Fawkes mask, and my research led me to find this article ( which highlights why this mask specifically is such a suitable symbol for Anonymous. The mask not only serves as an instrument for uniting people from all walks of life, but it empowers and mobilises individuals to band together and fight for a common cause. For example, I highly doubt that Project Chanology (Anonymous’ global protests against Scientology) would have been as effective, yet alone even occurred without the anonymity and uniformity the Guy Fawkes mask provided people with. I really enjoyed the different approach you took with this blog post, and I look forward to reading more of your work soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    thetremendousunknown said:
    October 11, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Hi Sam,

    I like the way you have focused on the foundations of Anonymity. Your meme is great although I only understood the play on words after I read your accompanied statement. However, I really enjoyed how you have placed links on the key concepts throughout the post.

    I decided upon inspiration of your blog post to research other groups who have used the Guy Fawkes mask which Graphic Novelist, David Lloyd calls a “convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny…it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.” 

    Anonymous, the occupy movement, protests in Thailand and Turkish airline workers are all groups/ activities where the Guy Fawkes mask was used. Alan Moore, author of V for Vendetta told The Guardian, it feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.

    I guess the question to ask is…when will we see the mask appear again?

    Liked by 1 person

    Melissa Mackay said:
    October 11, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Hi Sam,
    Your post has been extremely enlightening, and the way you have interwoven the meme medium with your textual piece was great. Focusing on such an abstract aspect of the weekly discussion makes your post unique and is sure to draw more attention to your blog. I found this article regarding Anonymous to be quite a good read, you might similarly find it interesting ( Yet again you have produced another great post, keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    The Leisure Post said:
    October 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Interesting to hear about the history behind Guy Fawke and the Guy Fawke mask.

    I find it slightly ironic that anonymous appears to follow an anti-mass media rhetoric (as demonstrated in the link below) but they do so whilst wearing the Guy Fawke mask. the Guy Fawke mask is copyrighted by Warner Brothers- so every time someone from anonymous buys a mask they are directly supporting Warner Brothers financially.

    Cheers for the history lesson Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

    The Leisure Post said:
    October 11, 2015 at 11:55 am


    thegrand0ptimist said:
    October 15, 2015 at 5:00 am

    Hey Sam, awesome post. I like your take on this week’s topic. It was interesting to read and taught me something new. Good use of hyperlinks too!
    Haha! Leisure post is right. It’s ironic that the mask is owned by Warner bros and every purchase supports the large corporation.According to this, there are replica masks being mass produced in asia now..

    Liked by 1 person

    chloeevics said:
    October 16, 2015 at 1:16 am

    I really like the history you incorporated within your post. I think its definitley a crucial part as we constantly are aware of the rise and development of technology and online media content, however we usually disregard the growth of groups and the ways that hackers have established themselves and grown over time. I like the links you make to pop-culture. It wouldve been really interesting if you had compared the growth of anonymous with another hacker group and compare the two growth using different plaforms. but it was a really interesting blog post well done! 🙂


    Jacob said:
    October 22, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I really liked this post and how you provided some historical context for the Anonymous mask. I was interested in what the mask actually stood for and where it came from, and I am so glad that you have written a nice concise post to illustrate this. Thank you and well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    alecbennett95 said:
    October 23, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Anonymous is always an interesting group to look at when discussing hacking online. I never knew the history behind the mask and can agree with Jacob’s comment above and say that you really made the blog easy to understand for those that know nothing about the group and their stance.

    Liked by 1 person

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