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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Man of Straw

It always pays to remember to take your camera to Oxford, as there is always something happening downtown that you end up kicking yourself for,if you don't take one.

This time it was something that coincidentally follows on from Sir Hooks splendid Blog ; Bonfire of the Vanities :24th Oct 2009. regarding trying to change history by burning its writings, and the mention of King James 1st.

As I outlined in my KMSA Blog: Guy Fawkes: 5th November 2008

We in the UK, have celebrated Fall Bonfires for centuries, then 400 years ago we started to include the burning of the effigy of Guy Fawkes one of the Catholic Conspirators that tried to blow up the Protestant King James 1st in the Houses of Parliament, in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Over the last few years, political correctness has meant that the whole event, has inch by inch, been whitewashed over into being called just Firework Night, with the term Guy Fawkes and the building of his effigy pretty much airbrushed out of everything except maybe in far flung rural areas.

It all naturally comes under Hooky's winds of change and I suppose it must have seemed bizarre trying to explain to small kids about the burning of a Catholic etc...(but then it didn't to me)

But, its seems we Brit's have a hankering for burning down some kind of human figure, so you can imagine my great amusement this afternoon to find a huge Wicker Man (pictured above), stood in Broad Street outside Balliol College.

(super-ironically on the very same spot where the Protestant Martyrs; Latimer , Ridley and Cramner were burned at the stake by the Catholic Queen Mary the 1st)

18th Century Wicker man

Wicker Men were a large wicker statue of a human used by the ancient Druids (priests of Celtic paganism) for human sacrifice by burning it in effigy, according to Julius Caesar in his Commentary on the Gallic Wars. In modern times the figure has been adopted for festivals as part of some neo-pagan-themed ceremonies, notably without the human sacrifice element.

Wicker man on fire at the Archaeolink outdoor museum, Oyne,, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Today's particular Oxford Wicker Man, built especially to set alight at the City's major Firework display on South Park Hill on November 7th, was the winning design, by Joshua aged 7, in a competition that apparently had been opened to all the school kids in the county, for them to draw a Wicker Man that would be made by craftsmen, who were all surrounding it as I took the photo, collecting for charity in buckets.

See it being made at;

So there we have it, we have gone from having to explain the burning of a religious terrorist to children, to explaining the neo-pagan activities of our forefathers, which doesn't actually worry me none, its just the way that the powers that be, have gently slid one bit of history out from under our noses and eased another in. In a few generations us oldies who were brought up to love the sound of Guy Fawkes name, will die out...and then they will burn the books.

Sir Dayvd (the Corn Dolly) of Oxford


  1. I often wonder how God sorts out the requests of His deranged Ape offspring?

    "Please God, bless me as I burn this Catholic" "Please God, bless me as I burn this heretic Protestant." "Please God, don't let them score a touchdown now." "Please God, let me score a touchdown now."

    Fire obviously has an elemental appeal to us HB's. Followed closely by the urge to throw someone who doesn't agree with us into it!

    I think that if we quit asking God to help us kill each other we might hear Him say softly, "Why don't you all get on the Wicker Man...I have a really big match!"

    In the great words of Achmed the Dead Terrorist, "SILENCE...I KEELLL YOU!"

    Sir Hook "I'm Burning, I'm Burning For You" of Warrick

  2. Probably old news to you folks much brighter than me, but I just learned last week the derivation of the term 'faggot' as a derogatory term for a gay man. Of course the term also means a bundle of sticks, or kindling. During the witch hunt days, gay men were used to fuel the fires in which the 'witches' were burnt. Thus...

    Lady T. (who is straight but not narrow and would never use that word in it's derogatory sense and had a bit of a rough time typing it) of Pickerington

  3. ...... and hence why a cigarette is called a Fag in the UK, a burning stick.

    As for the other matter of the gays being seconded to light the stake...well i think you'll find that is an urban myth and i can find no evidence of it in any of the ancient Lady Tam i hope that makes you feel a little better.
    Faggot over here is the name of a a small spicy meatball which i love...and that term was used by Public School Boys especially at Eton for a young pupil the older pupils used to use to do all their hard work... hence the term fag has ended up as meaning hard work as well. ( its a Fag )
    As Homosexual Practices were rife at these all Boy Schools The Fag would have also been dragged in as a bit sex too... There is every evidence this term then went to America with the first Literary exiles to the New World as the first known published use of the word faggot or fag to refer to a male homosexual appeared in 1914 in the U.S.

    It referred to a homosexual ball where the men were dressed in drag and called them "fagots (sissies)." Ernest Hemingway, in The Sun Also Rises (1926), included the line, "You're a hell of a good guy, and I'm fonder of you than anybody on earth. I couldn't tell you that in New York. It'd mean I was a faggot." A 1921 cite says, "Androgynes [are] known as 'fairies,' 'fags,' or 'brownies.'"

    So Rest easy Lady Tam... no Burning of Gays here LOL.. they used to throw cooking fat and hot oil on the stakes to get them going...

    Sir D( who doesn't smoke fags, or do anything else with them ) of O

  4. re-reading what i just wrote...i don't think i made clear the In the UK if you used the word faggot here the majority of people would think you meant Meatball. Faggot despite being used by the Public Schools boys... meant to them, a Lackey and its migration to the New World is the only way it came back to the UK to mean Homo-sexual.

    anyway...the majority of our early Kings were rampant Bisexuals and Homosexuals so we would have been wiping out most of our Royal Families LOL...

    I suspect the fact we don't use the F word here, is why is causes such amused consternation across the pond.

    Of O

  5. Oh, awesome! I thought my source was reliable, but I didn't Snopes it out... That'll learn me.

    I was definitely aware that the etymology took different routes in different English speaking countries. (My Aussie friends and I have had some delightful miscommunications)

    Lady T (Who likes being wrong if it puts humans in a better light. Even witch-burning humans.)of P-town

  6. heh.Nice one Lady T.....I know what you mean about Miscommunications... luckily for you guys I have a long history of Being with Americans...and I now i can freely converse and write in Anglo-US, with an in-built US Wordchecker going off in my head when i write blogs and emails. You guys have caught up a little by watching Modern English films...
    but if i said i was knackered , you probably wouldn't know what i was on

    Sir D ( who is indeed knackered after trying on the contents of his wardrobe ( closet ) to weed out the stuff that no longer fits, so he can go buy new stuff that does. ) of O