‘Just Like We Drew It Up’: What’s behind Joe Biden’s Super Bowl post? | Joe Biden news

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It’s an image that could be in a movie that’s part horror, part sci-fi: US President Joe Biden standing against a fake background, bright laser beams -red coming from his eyes, his United States flag badge shining prominently against his side. .

However, it wasn’t a meme page or a troll account posting that image: It was posted on Biden’s own X page early Monday. Coming against Israel’s brutal US-backed war on Gaza that has killed more than 28,000 people, the image prompted particular criticism of Biden by some social media users.

Here’s what we know about Mr. Biden’s post so far:

What was the post about?

Mr. Biden’s appointment came after the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Singer Taylor Swift – perhaps the biggest name in the entertainment world to have criticized former US President Donald Trump, Biden’s main rival in the 2024 election – is back by Travis Kelce, who plays for the Chiefs. While Swift’s appearance at National Football League (NFL) games this season has helped the sport’s brand, it has also fueled conspiracy theories from sections of the far right, who have suggested that the NFL expected to set up a win for the Chiefs. create a backdrop for Swift to support Biden’s candidacy.

Although the Chiefs won, Swift has yet to announce an endorsement for any presidential candidate. That didn’t stop Biden from mocking the conspiracy theory with his tweet, suggesting he had planned the moment.

Mr Biden’s tweet sparked a range of reactions to X, from digital eye rolls to responses expressing disappointment and anger.

Several users questioned whether Biden’s account had been hacked. Others joked about an intern posting the image and others noted how they thought it was a parody account posting the image at first glance.

Many suggested that Biden’s appointment was reckless and insensitive because it came amid Israel’s devastating war on Gaza.

While they want to stop the civilian deaths in Gaza, the Biden administration continues to sell and give weapons to Israel.

With the war in Gaza, the post was “not appropriate”, said Ahmed Al-Rawi, associate professor of news, social media and public communication at Simon Fraser University in Canada.

“But I don’t think Biden is thinking about the global audience here,” he said. “He’s mainly thinking about his American audience.

What is the Dark Brandon meme?

The alt text, or image description on Biden’s post, simply says, “dark brandon”. This refers to a meme that dates back to October 2021.

A crowd chanted obscenities about Joe Biden during a race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. While interviewing race winner Brandon Brown, NBC sports reporter Kelli Stavast explained that it was “Let’s Go Brandon”, and described them as such on live television.

Since then, the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” has become code for verbal abuse of Biden, lending Republican politicians new language to use against Biden online, getting around censorship and avoiding criticism. The phrase also began to appear as song lyrics.

The Brandon meme has since evolved and various takes on an image of Biden with laser beams shooting out of his eyes – known as “Dark Brandon” – began making the rounds on the internet. .

Cutouts of the Dark Brandon meme even appeared at the venue for the third Republican presidential primary debate in November 2023.

Cuts out the "Brandon Dark" An internet meme is shown across from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the venue for the third Republican presidential primary debate in Miami
Clips of the internet meme ‘Dark Brandon’ are shown across from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the venue for the third Republican presidential primary debate in Miami, Florida, on November 8 , 2023. [Mandel Ngan/AFP]

Has Biden made similar posts before?

Regardless of where it came from, the meme that was meant to mock and criticize Biden has been co-opted again by Democrats and Biden himself. His recognition of Brandon’s phrase began as early as 2021 and has continued.

In April 2023, Biden put on dark sunscreen after joking about being a “Dark Brandon” at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden Wears Sunglasses After Joking About Being An Entrepreneur "Brandon Dark" persona at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington,
Biden joked about being a ‘Dark Brandon’ persona at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC on April 29, 2023 [Carolyn Kaster/AP]

The Biden campaign made its first post on the social media network Truth Social, a contender for the presidential race of Donald Trump in October 2023. With the profile picture Dark Brandon, the verified account @BidenHQ posted, “Well. We’ll see how this goes. Welcome back!”

This use of memes is part of an ongoing political war, said Al-Rawi, who has researched and written about the politics of memes.

“The meme itself is a tool of political communication,” he told Al Jazeera. “Different parties are deploying it to attract attention and distract from other issues.”

Al-Rawi believes that the Brandon meme has worked in Biden’s favor from the point of view of his supporters, who love that he is making a political attack. On the other hand, Al-Rawi said, it could be insensitive in parts of the global south.

Al-Rawi also accused Biden of efforts to “meme-ify” political messages in an effort to connect with younger voters. Mr. Biden’s ability to govern has come under scrutiny because of his age and memory problems.

Biden isn’t the only politician to use memes to push political messages. Social media teams and followers of politicians including former US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have banked on memes and internet trends to further messages. political.

World leaders used to communicate through press releases and televised statements, but the advent of social media has changed the way they communicate with the public, said Al-Rawi.

Memes are one of those ways.

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