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Celebrating assassins


Not content, apparently, with commemorating people willing to kill hundreds of thousands in defense of slavery, Republican governors have now embraced gunpowder chic by asking their supporters to “Remember November.” I agree with Josh Marshall that this is pretty shocking, especially coming from people who can be counted on to yowl insanely every time a young poseur is photographed wearing a Che Guevara shirt to an anti-war rally. Never mind that the RGA has its history completely ass-backward; the cry of “WOLVERINES! “Remember November” has nothing to do with keeping Guy Fawkes’ aspirations alive but is, rather, intended to commemorate his execution and remind the English to be alert to treasonous conspirators in their midst.

For fuck’s sake. Just imagine if liberals organized their opposition to Republican economic policies by trying to rally their base by commemorating the life and works of Leon Czolgosz.

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  • Jon

    Come celebrate Czolgosz Day. Support the Constitution. Bring your guns!

    Kind of has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

    This ignores the fact that the liberals and democrats that Republicans stigmatize and excoriate are generally devoted to nonviolence and the least likely to act violently.

    But, if all they will respect and listen to is threats of violence, I suppose that something could be arranged.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      But aren’t you aware that nonviolence is the root of terrorism? That’ll be Doughy Pantload’s next magnum opus.

      • Jon

        Precisely, since the deep conspiracy has hidden the fact that Gandhi was the father of the atomic bomb.

        Our mistake really. They would respect us more if we had killed them. Letting your political opponents live is nothing more than cowardice of the lowest stripe.

  • ralphdibny

    The Time blog Marshall links to goes out of its way to be “even-handed,” arguing that the RGA is inspired not by the actual Guy Fawkes, but by the film V for Vendetta. I haven’t seen the film (or read Moore’s graphic novel), but Time claims that the film portrays Fawkes as a librul fighting against teh evul George W. Bush. In other words, they did it first.

    • wengler

      If that Time blog hasn’t been corrected yet, it not only got the name of one of the producers wrong, it stated that the film V For Vendetta was an adaptation of Guy Fawkes’ plot. The truthiness of the print media FTW.

  • Red Jenny

    What the hell movie were you watching? November 5 and Guy Fawkes Day are about celebrating freedom by blowing up government buildings.

  • rea

    Apparently the Republicans are now coming out firmly agsint Protestantism.

  • j.e.b.

    Just imagine if liberals organized their opposition to Republican economic policies by trying to rally their base by commemorating the life and works of Leon Czolgosz.

    Not a fair comparison: Some liberals actually know who Czolgosz was…and the rest know how to use teh google.

  • Burn the pope!

  • DrDick

    I do not know why this should surprise anyone. It has been quite clear for at least 20 years (30 if you were paying attention), that the Republican Party is only interested in raw power and will do whatever is necessary to get and keep it. Admittedly they are upping the ante a bit here, but it is perfectly of a piece with their tactics since the “Reagan Revolution.”

  • Matt McKeon

    Isn’t remember November supposed to be about the election?

    • calling all toasters

      Remember the future? Wasn’t that an ungodly awful song by Nektar?

  • Matt McKeon

    Ok, just read the TPM article. I stand corrected. Jesus Christ.

  • I’m sorry can someone please explain the reference to Fawkes?

    I know who he was, I saw V (bad movie) and I don’t see any connection here.

    It seems to be saying remember November is election time. What am I missing?

    • Hob

      Rick: Seriously? V blows up Parliament on November 5, and recites the “Remember, remember” verse, and um… wears a Guy Fawkes mask for the entire comic/movie.

      • Anonymous

        If you really want to know more and I’d recommend James Sharpe, Remember, Remember: A Cultural History of Guy Fawkes Day (Cambridge, Mass., 2005).

        • Anonymous

          Or, alternately, you could google “Guy Fawkes” and patch that big embarrassing hole in your basic cultural literacy.

      • seriously. Where does the video blow up anything?
        Where are the Guy Fawkes masks?
        How is it referencing the movie in anyway? Any clips from the film or similar scenes?

        If “Remember November” is all you have that’s weak sauce. There are lots of things to remember in November. Primarily our national elections and I’m guessing that is the connection most people watching that video are going to make, just like I did.

        I’m willing to be convinced. If you can point to a “yes” answer to any of the questions above or some other nuance that I missed I am all ears.

        • Anonymous

          “Remember November” is pretty overt, especially when you consider how popular V for Vendetta was.

          Add to that the red V in the “Remember November” logo, the color palette of the scary splash cuts in the video, and the fact that “Remember, Remember the 5th of November” is widely recognizable in the English-speaking world, and you get a fairly strong allusion.

          It’s not the only meaning in the video — as you note, the elections are also a strong component of the slogan’s appeal — but it is part of it. Just because not everybody gets it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

        • Hogan

          There are lots of things to remember in November.

          Sure, but they’re not saying “remember in November,” as people usually do when talking about an upcoming election. They’re saying “Remember November.”

  • tao9

    I suppose the 11.2 (election day!!!) logo at the end didn’t tip off the lowest/common/denom geniuses at Time.

    The faculty savants here are just going with the flow for some willful, smug lefty hate&smear.

    • DocAmazing

      Well, the smear is in assuming that the Teabaggers are sufficiently intelligent to know about English culture/the development of common law and/or Alan Moore comics or the movies of the Wachowski brothers. Thus, you are left with this choice: 1. Michelle Bachman and the Teabaggers deliberately chose 11/5/2009 for a rally knowing it was Guy Fawkes’ Day and came up with “Remember November!” as a provocative reference to the Gunpowder Plot; or 2. Michelle Bachman and the Teabaggers are too ignorant to know anything about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.

      I could be convinced of either, really.

      • DrDick

        There is that.

  • Mudge

    I have yet to wrap my mind around the concept of “the works of Leon Czolgosz”.

  • DocAmazing

    Actually, its about the application of the principles of nonviolent resistance demonstrated one November in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

  • DocAmazing

    Oddly, in the person of Glenn Beck, we seemed to have traded Guy Fawkes for Fox Guy. Let the quartering commence!

  • Matthew Stevens

    I’m happy to think Republicans are crazed yahoos, but aside from the “Remember November” phrase, the connection with the Gunpowder Plot seems tenuous. Folks are leaning too heavily on that witless Swampland post (by a guy that doesn’t know V for Vendetta was a comic book).

  • calling all toasters

    I’m old enough to remember when the GOP would pat itself on the back for being ‘the party of Lincoln.’ Now they seem to prefer the guy who shot him.

    • Jon

      What a long, strange trip it’s been.

  • Miriam

    I watched the video. It is awful – but I really don’t see the connection to Guy Fawkes. I think this is a tempest in a tea pot. I’m all for calling out Republicans – but all we are really seeing here is a slow news day.

    • Ed Marshall

      If you say “Remember November” to me what goes through my head instantly is “Remember, Remember the 5th of November”.

      Maybe most American’s don’t have any idea what Guy Fawkes day is, as a matter of fact, I know the historical details and that you celebrate it by getting drunk, burning the pope in effigy and beating up a Catholic (that’s how I heard it anyway), but if you have watched “V for Vendetta” this has to be the first thing you think of. The guy upthread is either playing silly or he slept threw the damn movie.

      • davenoon

        Precisely. I obviously assumed everyone would get the reference; it seems to me impossible that anyone would use the phrase and *not* be thinking of Fawkes in some fashion. It really makes no sense except as a play on the short rhyme…

    • Ed

      I’m inclined to agree with Miriam. Maybe the use of the slogan reflects a certain cluelessness in regards to pop culture but I think that’s as far as it goes. Doesn’t take much to shock Josh Marshall these days.

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  • Wareq

    What a bunch of Epic Fail Guys (Epic Fox Guys?)

  • wiley

    The significance of remembering the fifth of November in the movie “V” was to inspire a popular uprising against a right-wing government. Is it Islamo-fascist-socialist-communist-right wing Obama, now?

  • stickler

    Some surprising gaps in cultural understanding here. For those who don’t know (and can’t, apparently, Google), here’s how the Guy Fawkes episode was commemorated by the people, in verse:

    “Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
    I see no reason
    Why the Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.
    Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
    To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
    Three-score barrels of powder below
    To prove old England’s overthrow;
    By God’s mercy he was catch’d
    With a dark lantern and burning match.
    Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
    And what should we do with him? Burn him!”

    Gunpowder Treason. That’s what the RGA is celebrating.

  • Anonymous

    “Never mind that the RGA has its history completely ass-backward; the cry of “WOLVERINES! “Remember November” has nothing to do with keeping Guy Fawkes’ aspirations alive but is, rather, intended to commemorate his execution and remind the English to be alert to treasonous conspirators in their midst. ”

    True enough, but I think that many people will be most familiar with the rhyme through its use in V for Vendetta, in which V reclaims the words. He “remembers” the 5th of November by emulating it.

  • Richard T

    The Gunpowder plot was hatched by a bunch of Roman Catholics to blow up the King, aristocracy and Parliament to instal a Roman Catholic king and lords thus returning England (and probably Scotland) to the Catholic cause. In passing throughout James’ predecessor’s reign (Elizabeth) the Pope had declared her heretical and required she be deposed and assassinated.

    In parts of England the 5th of November is linked with burning the Pope – in effigy I should add – as it is tied in with commemorating te Protestant martyrs from the mid 16th century burned by the Catholics at that time. So you see processions round towns and villages carrying effigies of His Holiness to go on the bonfire,

    That’s why the use of the 5th of November and Guy Fawkes night by the Teabaggers is pretty stupid if they knew any history at all.

    Sorry for the length of this but I hope it clarifies the history for your readers.

    • It’s usually Fawkes in effigy, actually, rather than the Pope.

  • les

    These are the people who called themselves “teabaggers.” It’s pretty easy to overestimate their intelligence and cultural awareness.

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  • It’s an ad, and it’s designed to appeal to the lizard brains of the base. The music, the black and white footage with the sudden eruptions of bloody red are all intended to evoke fear and loathing. The image of Castro is there to tell people Obama isn’t just a socialist, he’s a commie and the equivalent of an enemy of the United States. All of this makes the ad loathesome, even without the Guy Fawkes/V references. But those are there because the makers of the ad were inspired by V. They thought it was cool the way ad people think the Beatles are cool. Cool is any pop iconography that can be used to slip the advertisers’ message past the target audience’s intellectual defenses.

    The ad people thought the V stuff was cool and clever, because they thought it would help get the message across. They don’t care if anybody watching actually recognizes the references, including their clients. So if most people, including the RNC, watch it and associate remembering November with remembering to get out and vote so the evil commie Democrats don’t turn us into Cuba, they’ve done their job. Anybody who catches the V references, well, that’s cool too, because then they’ll know how smart the ad guys are.

    I guess my point is that the ad is a masterpiece of cynicism.

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