'Anonymous' beats out British tradition, 'V is for Vendetta' as mental tag for creepy mask

'Anonymous' is the costume to wear for Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night this year

It's obvious that you can't learn a lot of deep, meaningful, partially concealed things about the human condition by putting a lot of weight in correlations weight in correlations of mostly-unrelated bits of data. It's still entertaining.

On the off chance it has any higher meaning, this particular one must say something fascinating about celebrity, faddish interest levels of Americans, the impact of highly visible anti-establishment groups and the tendency of people to want to buy merch to support the latest catchphrase or meme.

Setup:

  • Guy Fawkes was a British anarchist who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605. There is a British tradition of burning him in effigy every year on Guy Fawkes Night, on or around Nov. 5.
  • Officially sanctioned celebrations on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot may have lopped over into Halloween in some places, and the celebration itself is probably not as big a deal in the serious culture of Britain as it used to be.
  • There are still plenty of places to buy a Guy Fawkes mask and suit, however, the better to dress up and dance around the bonfire drinking gin in mugs and singing God Save the Queen.
  • The creepily mustachioed Guy Fawkes mask was used as a disguise by the hero known only as V in the 2006 movie V is for Vendetta, a Zorro-ish story set in a future version of Britain in which the government has become totalitarian and corrupt.
  • Members of Anonymous use the Guy Fawkes mask as a disguise in photos to hide their own faces and to evoke the spirit of rebellion against authority.

Payoff:

There are a million places online to buy Guy Fawkes masks and merchandise, though most Americans, at least, won't recognize old Guy right away. Those looking for the mask search for it under their own markers for rebellion and independence, and online marketers respond.

Judging (speciously) the level of interest by the number of hits, the Internet is a lot more aware and supportive of Anonymous than either the hit Hollywood movie or a 400-year-old British cultural tradition that allows for public bonfires and mayhem.

Winner: Anonymous. Who'da thunk?

Search Term "Guy Fawkes" mask for sale "V is for Vendetta" mask for sale Anonymous mask for sale
Number of hits 1,020,000 2,060,000 7,080,000
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