Joe Biden’s laser-eyed alter ego is back for a Super Bowl meme – LSB

Garima
7 Min Read


President Joe Biden took to X/Twitter last night to acknowledge the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, posting a photo of his laser-eyed alter ego “Dark Brandon” — a meme that originated as a right-wing slogan but was co-opted by Biden’s followers and the social media team.

In response to the Chiefs’ win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the president published the sinister portrait that liberals reimagined and used from 2022 to portray Biden as a superhero.

“Just as we drew it,” read Biden’s post.

The Internet has since, and not surprisingly, had much to say.

What is the “Dark Brandon” meme?

The genesis of the Dark Brandon meme is peak internet, which really just means its history is murky and hard to follow. As Vox explained in 2023, the meme appears to have originated at a NASCAR Xfinity Series race in October 2021, when NBC reporter Kelly Stavast identified crowd chants of “Fuck Joe Biden!” as “Let’s go Brandon!” during a live interview with winning driver Brandon Brown.

Conservatives wasted no time in taking the phrase as an insult to Biden, with Republicans even using it in speeches in Congress. From there, the memes took off online. The sinister, highly stylized iteration of Biden with glowing red eyes is incendiary coming from the right, painting the president as something of a supervillain. This kind of memeing is in line with the “Dark MAGA” subgenre, which features increasingly unhinged and “darker” versions of Donald Trump running for re-election, mostly from MAGA followers themselves.

But Democrats decisively jumped on the meme in an attempt to make it their own. “Dark Brandon” was born, repurposed to celebrate Biden’s position as a leader. The meme gained momentum after the administration announced it had killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a strike in 2022. It also followed a string of political victories orchestrated by Biden that year, with the employment rate reaching 50- annual low and the Senate passes the Inflation Reduction Act.

Since then, senior members of the Biden administration — from the director of digital strategy to several members of the press — have post the meme often. The president himself ended his speech at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner last year with a Darhk Brandon joke:

Now, the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign is even selling a t-shirt featuring the meme on its site.

Why did Biden post the Dark Brandon meme?

Biden’s latest post about Dark Brandon is no accident. Coupled with the “Just as we drew it” caption, this is likely a response to the wave of conspiracy theories centered around the game’s manipulations, Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.

SEE ALSO:

Travis Kelce caught yelling at his coach instantly becomes a meme

The president is reportedly seeking a second endorsement from Swift, who previously endorsed Biden in the 2020 election. This has sparked a firestorm of suspicion among Trump supporters, with many claiming that Kelsey and Swift’s relationship is a ploy to benefit Biden and that this year’s Super Bowl was “rigged” in favor of Kelce’s team, the Chiefs (who won in the final seconds of the game). That contingent includes Fox News anchors and Trump ally Vivek Ramaswamy, the latter speculates on X: “I wonder if there’s a big presidential endorsement this fall from an artificially cultured couple.”

The long-running conspiracy prompted Trump to share his thoughts on his own social media platform, Truth Social, writing: “I signed and was responsible for the Music Modernization Act for Taylor Swift and all other music artists. Joe Biden did nothing for Taylor and never will. There is no way she can support Crooked Joe Biden, the worst and most corrupt president in our country’s history, and be disloyal to the man who made her so much money.

All of this preceded Biden’s post, which appeared to poke fun at the right with these theories. A TikTok posted by the president (on his brand new account) mentions Dark Brandon to poke fun at conspiracies, while also signaling his social media team’s intention to keep the meme alive during the election season.

How did the internet react?

Some people thought that the meme posted by Joe Biden’s official X accountwas from parody account.

Despite the meme featuring key players like Trump and Swift, the internet is also outraged that Biden’s post seems tone-deaf and insensitive to the crisis in the Middle East. At the time of the Super Bowl win, Israeli forces were conducting a special forces operation in Rafah, a southern Gaza city where Palestinians were taking refuge from the war. The strike killed at least 50 Palestinians. Two Israeli hostages were released.

On X, people quoted Biden’s posts and shared thoughts on the timing of all thiswith very pointed to Biden’s role in the ongoing devastation in Gaza. The nature of the meme doesn’t help: the image of Biden’s alter ego, stylized with glowing eyes, looks menacing on its own. One user has been criticized “Joe Biden in fucking meme mode”while wrote another: “I can’t believe Biden’s tweet is real.”

Biden most recently posted using the official presidential account @POTUS to congratulate the superiors one more time: “We’re ready to welcome this team back to the White House.”

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