Monday, November 05, 2012

Thoughts on Remembering; or, A Highly Scientific Study

Remember, remember
the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot . . . 

So I have to confess that I've never seen V for Vendetta. A few years back when I first got on Facebook (I was a late-ish adopter) I was surprised but nerdily pleased to see the number of Guy Fawkes references bandied about on November 5th. (You may have noticed by now that I'm American. I assume that these references are more plentiful among the Brits.)

I didn't realize that there had been a huge movie in which Guy Fawkes (or at least the mask version of him) and his associated rhyme featured prominently. I just thought a whole bunch of other people were book nerds and liked Agatha Christie

I mean, sure, I'd heard of the movie; I just had no idea what it was about except for Natalie Portman shaving her head.

I don't think I figured out the V for Vendetta/Guy Fawkes link until the next year when Guy Fawkes day rolled around, everyone started quoting rhymes, and a few people started complaining about people not knowing anything about history and just quoting dumb movies, blah blah blah. (The fact that people were throwing sheep at Guy Fawkes, or sheep dressed like Guy Fawkes, or foxes dressed like sheep, or whatever, clearly showed that Facebook also endorsed the Guy Fawkes thing, which made the likelihood of the book geek scenario shrink, collapse, and dwindle down into a bedpost nothing.)

It was slightly deflating to realize that, far from being a co-conspirator in geeky book type lore, I actually was simultaneously 1) not a member of the Kool Kids Klub and 2) being despised for appearing to belong to the Kool Kids Klub by members of the We Actually Know How To Spell Cool But We Are Soooooo Over It Kids Club. And nobody but me seemed to know or care that I knew the Guy Fawkes rhyme like twelve years before it was a cool/lame movie. 

Ah, the trials of being a book geek. 

All of which is to say, I have apparently discovered the limits of the popular memory. The populace at large only remembers things for six-and-a-bit-years. I can say this with some certainty after conducting a highly scientific test (i.e., looking at my Facebook feed and realizing that only one person mentioned anything about Guy Fawkes and then figuring out that the movie came out seven years ago). 

Obviously, V for Vendetta has now been forgotten; it has become lost, as my old Welsh professor would have said, in the mists of antiquity. 

That, you know, or people were too busy throwing tantrums having political discussions in preparation for tomorrow's election to bother with silly pop culture references. 

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