January 30, 2021

Not lost among the pictures taken during last week’s Biden inauguration was the shot of US Senator Bernie Sanders huddled alone in the cold trying to keep warm.  The picture has become the trending meme on social media for his iconic look.  When asked for a response, Sanders said he was “just sitting there trying to keep warm.”  It seems his mittens are what made the picture go viral on social media.  The mittens were made by a teacher in Vermont and have been in high demand since the ceremony.  This is not the first time Sanders has gone viral on social media.  The politician is also famous for another meme in which he wore his coat during the 2020 Presidential Election.  That clip had him saying, “I’m once again asking….”  People went wild and made the image a fill-in-the-blank meme.  Time Magazine said was one of the most impactful memes of 2020.

When I looked online, I found an Internet meme is “a type of idea, behavior, or style that is spread via the Internet through social media for humorous purposes.”  Memes can spread from person to person or through a variety of social networks.  These memes are often modified to become spoofs of the actual image or event.  The hallmark of all memes is the appropriation of a part of the broader culture.  Appropriation comes across by intentionally misspelling words or phrases or using incorrect grammar.  With this Bernie meme, it is by putting him next to other famous people.  Many memes use popular culture and can lead to issues with copyright.  It appears from his response Bernie is okay with all the attention he is getting.  So far, so is the photographer.

With all the attention memes are getting I was not surprised when I also found Meme Generator.  This is a free online image maker that allows you to customize both text and images.  The site stated most people just added captions, but you can also add images and create your own templates.  This is available from your computer or mobile device.  The meme created does have a watermark on the meme as it “helps other people find where the meme was created, so they can make memes too!”  If you buy the upgraded package you can “remove ads and supercharge your image creation abilities.”  Once more, the hidden cost of free.

Thoughts:  Between the unrest of the summer, the lies and turmoil of a stolen election, and the insurrection at the Capitol, our country is desperate for something to make us laugh.  Over the year I have seen a variety of animal pet memes that a few will find humorous and pass along.  What made Bernie different was that it captured the isolation most of us feel and gave it a humous twist.  Whether we are a provocative Senator or a casually followed blogger, we have been forced to embrace the separation of the past year.  I find it refreshing that with the Bernie meme we have found a way to come together that does not belittle or degrade another.  Perhaps this is a sign of hope.  (btw:  the caption attached to Bernie and Patrick was, “Hey Bernie, can I borrow your gloves for the big game?”).  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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