Liberté, Égalité, Gritté

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I'm a few days late with this, but better late than never — Gritty as La Liberté guidant le peuple:

For our Martian readers, Gritty is the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team — but also more than that:

And as Wikipedia explains:

Gritty was quickly reappropriated as a leftist icon, as activists identified with the mascot's "cheerful, unkempt, maniacal demeanor" and googly-eyed, anarchic mirth. Gritty appeared on a Philadelphia anti-Trump protest banner a week after his debut and was spread through leftist online forums and Internet meme groups that depicted Gritty. Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym described the Trump vs. Gritty phenomenon as "one orange horror has been met with another." A Wall Street Journal op-ed challenged the mascot's reappropriation. The character was created with no political element in mind. When Philadelphia played an outsized role in determining the 2020 presidential election, social media users depicted Gritty, as the city personified, defeating outcoming incumbent Donald Trump.

Among the current Gritty memes, there's a connection to the Four Seasons Total Landscaping joke:

(And as Jake reminds us in the comments, you can buy t-shirts and tote bags with that design, thanks to Shin Ying Kor, with the proceeds going to good causes…)

There's Gritty as Betsy Ross:

And Gritty as Olenna Tyrell from Game of Thrones:

These memes spread widely enough that Le Monde published an explanation (which actually referenced an article from 2018, when Gritty already had some political uptake):

Also there's this — and this

Update — Nicole Conlan explains Gritty to the French:


  1. Philip Anderson said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 11:17 am

    I’ve not come across Gritty in the British media. I’ll ask my Wharton wife.

    But “outcoming” (as an adjective) in the Wikipedia quote? Incoming or outgoing, surely?

  2. Gregory Kusnick said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 11:29 am

    I was going to say that "outcoming" is superfluous anyway: a defeated incumbent is by definition outgoing. But I guess in Trump's case that remains to be seen.

  3. James Wimberley said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 12:26 pm

    IIRC "incoming" is a noun in military argot. when what comes in is artillery fire or flak.

  4. Philip Taylor said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 12:53 pm

    Re. "outcoming", could not a covert homosexual who has decided to reveal his sexual proclivities to all be described as "outcoming" during his emergence from the wardrobe ?

  5. Philip Anderson said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 1:21 pm

    @James Wimberley
    Incoming (fire): an adjective becoming a noun when everyone understands the context is fairly common.

    @Philip Taylor
    That sounds plausible. But are you suggesting that was the intended meaning?

  6. champacs said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 1:24 pm

    "For our Martian readers" : because the whole planet is supposed to be familiar with American popular culture? [scratches head]

  7. Philip Taylor said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 2:41 pm

    Philip Anderson — "the intended meaning" ? Probably not. But in the context of the outgoing President, nothing is impossible …

  8. Jake said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 3:50 pm

    The 'Gritty on the lawnmoweri' is due to Shing Yin Khor :

  9. Haamu said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 3:54 pm

    @champacs — This one is not exactly American popular culture; more like Philadelphia-and-environs or NHL-fandom popular culture. I'd guess most Americans don't know, or have only the faintest awareness of, who Gritty is.

    I'm one of the latter, but I don't mind being called a Martian. On this blog, that and similar comments are almost always met with protests like yours. It's essentially evolving into a running gag. Perhaps we can all agree on the figurative meaning: "For those of you who are not trapped within the particular subculture where the following context is inescapable, here's what you need to know." A sign of polite deference, offered with a touch of humor.

  10. Haamu said,

    November 12, 2020 @ 4:04 pm

    Actually, though, evidence seems to be mounting that Martians ought to be hockey fans.

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