Saturday, April 24, 2010

Guy Fawkes revisited

Steve Benen and Josh Marshall are surprised that the Republican Governor's Association has decided to issue a call to Remember November in a way that seems to evoke remembering the Fifth of November. I have to say it's not obviously true that there's any Guy Fawkes reference in the video. It could be exclusively a reference to Election Day falling in November. And Benen calls back to a Michelle Bachman rally on Capitol Hill that took place last November 5-- but as far as I can tell Benen was the only one linking that to Guy Fawkes Day. The basic presumption has to be that Americans don't know the date, don't know the rhyme, and don't know the significance of either.

But here, my guess is that the Ron Paul influence on the Tea Parties has meant that rallies have signs and chants to remember November in a way that is directly descended from the Paul campaign's inadvertent association with Guy Fawkes Day.

And-- tell me if I'm imagining this-- in the "Remember November logo, the V is stylized to look both like the checkmark on a ballot and like the V from "V for Vendetta."

SO I think Benen, Marshall, and Scherer are right to see a Guy Fawkes influence here-- but it certainly doesn't amount to a wholesale appropriation of the imagery. This is a lot more tenuous than, say, the usual Republican appropriation of and code language about the American Confederacy.

In case the connection is real, I'll take the occasion to refer you to my post three years ago about the strange twists and turns and misunderstandings that ended with Guy Fawkes being a symbol to the American anti-statist right.