Ultra Rick Roll: “Epic Fail Guy” Republican Governors Association Meme

Heads ups: some links are a little salty in their language and images, amirite?

There are obviously some merry pranksters of the 4Chan /b/ level  in conservative think tanks who infiltrated and convinced the Republican Governors Association that Guy Fawkes Day would be a really cool sub rosa coda to their new campaign, now known as  “Remember November.

Basic historical facts: In 1605 British Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators stashed a bunch of gunpowder under the House of Lords and planned to blow up Parliament because the English government was Anglican and the plotters were Roman Catholic.  That would be a jihad, except the dudes were all Christian not Muslim, but you see where I’m going.

Fawkes was left guarding the boom-boom room, got caught when guards–tipped off by an anonymous letter–searched the basements. He confessed under torture and named his pals, and so was convicted of terrorism.  On execution day, he jumped off the gallows scaffolding, breaking his neck, in order to avoid the rather painful drawing and quartering that awaited him.

The failure of the Gunpowder Plot is celebrated in the UK on November 5 with bonfires. Depending on who’s lighting the fires, sometimes the Pope and other political figures, like Margaret Thatcher, are burned in effigy instead of a figure of Guy Fawkes. There’s also a little poem that’s recited:

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

Flash forward 400 years to 2005 when the film V for Vendetta–based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore–was scheduled for release (it was delayed until February 2006): A mysterious figure in a Guy Fawkes mask seeks to overthrow the totalitarian British government and becomes a hero, empowering the masses who all don the masks.

Along the way, on the Internets, most notably on 4 Chan.org the image sharing boards where people post anonymously and where cultural phenomenons like “rick rolling” exploded into the mainstream,  Guy Fawkes became a symbol of  utter failure, developing into a meme known as “epic fail guy,”  (EFG), a failure so grand it somehow succeeds in spite of itself and becomes “win.”

In 2008 EFG and the Guy Fawkes mask became a universal symbol for Anonymous, the global anti-Scientology protest group which coalesced on the Internet and actually succeeded in exposing much of the organization’s dirty laundry,  making them a goofy joke. Anonymous became underground heroes within the youth and online cultures. Can’t you just see the brain storming at RGA:

Whoa this whole Guy Fawkes thing has a hip new youth movement on the internets. Let’s subvert their subversion! They’ll never notice our subliminal appropriation.

Um, fail.

Fix’t by infiltrator:

/b/tards, this is full of win. And what do you want? Win! What will this give you? Delicious caek, made of win full of win>9000. All their bases are belong to us. Resistance is futile; they will be enturbulated! Doooooo eeeeet!

And the RGA fell for it.

And even more backstory: The term “anonymous” and “Anonymous” are often confused; when an “anonymous” kid hacked into Sarah Palin’s email account and posted the info on an “anonymous” site, “Anonymous” was blamed by Scientology. Um, epic fail all around.

Scientology calls the Guy Fawkes-mask wearing Anonymous “terrorists.”  This is the religion practiced by Washington insider Joe Coale who, after the hacking and Palin’s failed bid to be a heartbeat from the football, helped Palin form SarahPAC while his wife Greta Van Susteren shills for her on Fox.

And now the RGA is kinda trying to explain themselves as seen above…and failing.

Quick recap: For their campaign, the RGA uses slogan celebrating either the attempted traitorous overthrow of government on theocratic grounds, or the failure of said plot. Either way, celebrating fail. Additionally,  the RGA is co-opting a youth movement symbol which is (wrongly) associated with terrorism and harassing Sarah Palin, as well as annoying Greta Van Susteren. Epic fail.

But maybe, as explained on Encyclopaedia Dramatica, in some deeply non-dualistic universe it makes sense with so much fail surrounding them that the RGA would, in fact, adopt Epic Fail Guy as their subliminal electioneering slogan. Way to go an hero!

13 Responses to "Ultra Rick Roll: “Epic Fail Guy” Republican Governors Association Meme"
Pannochka | Friday June 4, 2010 02:07 pm 1

Heh…reminds me of the Tea Baggers trying to change their name to Tea Partiers once they figured out what Tea Bagging means.

But that is assuming the RGA was unaware of the symbolism of “Remember November” and the “V”. This is possible. I bet most of them think WWII started in 1941. History doesn’t count if it doesn’t involve the US.

newtonusr | Saturday June 5, 2010 06:07 pm 2

Nice piece of history, Lisa.
I was tempted by the Scientology ref, but that fruit is just.too.low.

Loo Hoo. | Saturday June 5, 2010 06:43 pm 3

Dang, this is all news to me. An hero, EFG, the Remember November thing… all of it. Thanks for the head’s up, Lisa.

Chris Matthews (I know) is doing a series on the deranged right starting, I believe, June 16th. I wonder if he’s aware of this?

newtonusr | Saturday June 5, 2010 06:55 pm 4
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 3

While to be hoped for Loo Hoo, my sense is that Tweety is going to preoccupy himself with Snowmelda and Beck.

Loo Hoo. | Saturday June 5, 2010 07:00 pm 5

OT: 28 children lost their dads on the Flotilla.

Furkan Dogan, 19, was in his senior year at Kayseri High School, where he was awaiting the results of his university entrance exams. He had hoped to become a doctor and loved chess. He was the son of Dr. Ahmet Dogan, an associate professor at Erciyes University. He was a Turkish-American dual national with two siblings.

Loo Hoo. | Saturday June 5, 2010 07:01 pm 6

True, newt, I’ll send his staff a link to Lisa’s article though.

newtonusr | Saturday June 5, 2010 07:10 pm 7
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 6


Loo Hoo. | Saturday June 5, 2010 07:11 pm 8


Bustednuckles | Saturday June 5, 2010 07:44 pm 9

Full speed ahead ya dumb fucks,Damn the torpedoes.

earlofhuntingdon | Saturday June 5, 2010 08:50 pm 10

Republican governors probably don’t know the difference between Churchill’s V for victory sign and the reverse, which means, “Up yours” or “pass the chips”. What they know about Guy Fawkes and the Fifth of November probably comes from watching Natalie Portman films.

Mr. Fawkes and his gunpowder were part of an attempted armed insurrection against the legitimate ruler of the day; oddly, they would figure as the party Ms. Portman’s character’s pal, the one with the mask, was fighting against. Mr. Fawkes is considered humorous only in hindsight and only because he and the other plotters failed.

Using Fawkes as a symbol for domestic opposition to Mr. Obama or the Democrats promotes the fantasies of rightwing extremists, some of whom dream of being more effective than Mr. Fawkes. Words retain their meanings, as do symbols. If those extremists succeed, or empower the less extreme to more effectively obstruct government for the sole purpose of obstruction, let the consequences be on their necks.

I am after the truth | Saturday June 5, 2010 09:04 pm 11

This was probably stolen from the November 5th money bomb for Ron Paul in 2007. If you google Ron Pal November 5th, you’ll probably find links to what I am talking about. How do I know this? I was a Ron Paul supporter.

bigbubbabulls | Sunday June 6, 2010 02:44 am 12

A lot of verbiage just to say, “Sarah Palin rocks!”

newtonusr | Monday June 7, 2010 07:52 pm 13

What comes before?

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