Guy Fawkes? Really?
Via LGM, a new and kind of shocking wrinkle in wingnuttery: embracing Guy Fawkes as a hero. Yep! The legendary would-be terrorist Guy Fawkes, who wished to be the Timothy McVeigh of his time. If I’m following all this correctly, the homage to Fawkes is being played in a traditional dog whistle style. The Republican Governor’s Association no doubt wants the slogan of their new website “Remember November” to be taken as nothing but an innocent reminder to supports to vote in November. But the slogan has its roots in celebrating Fawkes as a hero. After the movie “V for Vendetta” came out, the pro-Fawkes narrative entered the American culture, and that in turn became a thing for Ron Paul supporters.
The Wachowski brothers’ retelling of the Fawkes’ story was later embraced by libertarian supporters of Ron Paul. During the 2008 campaign, “Remember, Remember The Fifth of November” became a rallying cry for Paul boosters, who shared at least some of the revolutionary fire of both Fawkes and the Wachowskis. On November 5, 2007, Guy Fawkes Day, Paul supporters raised more than $4 million online.
As an artistic statement, subverting the cultural meaning of Fawkes is kind of interesting, but decontextualized from that and rewritten as a political slogan? I’m sorry, but I find that disturbing. The cultural corollaries to Fawkes in our culture are right wing terrorists like McVeigh. The rewriting of Fawkes in a sympathetic light in English culture makes a little more sense—a historical embracing of responsibility for oppressing Catholics—but it’s just incoherent in American culture, especially when you have highly privileged, non-oppressed folks like the teabaggers embracing him. I can’t help but think it’s just another way that wingnuts have grown more comfortable sending coded signals to each other about the desirability of domestic terrorism to protest Obama being President. If this happened independent of holding rallies to commemorate April 19th (teabaggers claim it’s because that’s the day the first shots were fired in the revolution, but it’s hard to ignore a bunch of militiamen marking a day that just so happened to be the anniversary of the Oklahoma federal building bombing), I probably wouldn’t think as much about it. But once is a coincidence, twice is a trend.
Here’s the video:
I wonder if the person who decided to quote Abraham Lincoln in the video has any Confederate gear in his home or office. I’m guessing yes. It’s fascinating how incoherent teabaggers are, which makes sense because they’re basically the most privileged people in our society, but they care on like they’re suffering the worst oppression in history because they lost an election. And so you get calls of patriotism mixed in with celebrating the treasonous Confederacy. I’m sure many of them will soon insist that you can celebrate Lincoln while also calling the white supremacist Confederacy supporter who shot him a hero.