On a historic inauguration day, January 20, 2021, a week after a historic insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the meme that trailblazed across the internet is the understated, if overheated, fashion sense of simple Bernie Sanders on a fold-out chair. Minutes after Biden was officially sworn in as President, a Twitter user had already created a transparent PNG of the image to allow others to easily photoshop Bernie into whatever scene they wanted.
A few hours later, another ingenious Bernie fan had created a Snapchat lens that allowed users to place Bernie in a chair right in front of them wherever they might be. New York University graduate student Nick Sawhney took it one step further and created an app online where you can put Bernie in an image of any address on the globe. His site received so much traffic, it created nearly one million Bernie memes. After two days of running, the traffic overwhelmed his app and Sawhney took it down.
At another news TV channel, the Vermont senator said that people from his constituency are not particularly concerned about good fashion, and are more fussed about the cold. “What was really nice is the woman who made the mittens lives in Essex Junction, Vermont, she is a schoolteacher and a very, very nice person. She has been somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that is being shown to her mittens,” Mr. Sanders said in his interview on the Late Night with Seth Meyers Show.
Well, Senator Sanders, I too caught the Bernie chair meme fever. I have spent the last 48 hours glued to my chair as I archived over five hundred memes from Twitter using R-Shief software. And then I made the mosaic still image. Then I had to go back and edit and filter through the meme archive I had collected. I then created the animation. It has been a long time since created soundtracks in Abelton, but I was so inspired to build those from scratch too. I then sliced in sound bites from Sanders’ speeches and interviews. Wow. Now I want to make a browser extension with Bernie popping up in unexpected places.
How did this tactical media meme approach take over all of us? Wired magazine’s Angela Watercutter suggests “The Bernie Sanders Meme Proves the Internet Is Resetting” in her article on January 22, 2021. I do not know if I was feeling the cultural deflation and demotion of Trump off the Internets and away from our POTUS data body, or whether I am inhabiting Bernie’s “give-no-fucks demeanor,” I just hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed making my signature mosaic a la video remix.
See the original still mosaic below.