“The Left still can’t meme” is hardly breaking news — but the sources that they’re stealing their memes from are very interesting.
WaPo’s Matt Viser seemed very pleased with himself that he found that some Biden cheerleaders are sharing some “edgy” memes of Joe Biden as every single thing that this administration touches turns to crap and his approval rating sinks.
Of course, he’s a little late. Luke Winkie at Slate already ran a piece praising the awkward and hamfisted memes about “Dear Leader Brandon” just after the assassination of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The term “Dark Brandon” first surfaced in early 2022 as part of the usual gamut of memes and burns deployed by America’s extremely online socialists—especially those who’ve found themselves feeling euphorically apocalyptic in the face of unchecked climate change, a theocratic Supreme Court, and Joe Manchin’s seemingly insurmountable veto power. For them, “Dark Brandon” was a way to lean into despair. The invaluable resource Know Your Meme delved into the paper trail and uncovered a trove of extremely dark viral tweets from the spring, where Dark Brandon could be found, say, pointing a gun into a woman’s mouth in a Photoshop or overseeing public executions in a Twitter user’s ironic fantasy. The idea here is that Joe Biden was not the fuddy-duddy centrist he appeared to be and instead represented some sort of satanic, Revelations-esque figure, way worse than anyone can imagine.
Raheem Kassam, founder of “National Pulse” reported that despite the WaPo and Slate cheerleading of the mainstreaming of memes pushing a Badass Biden and “reclaiming” the “Let’s Go Brandon” chant — it’s just not very good.
“‘Dark Brandon’ is the Biden White House’s cringetastic effort to win back the ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ meme that haunted the perennially COVID-hit President through late 2021 and early 2022,” writes Kassam. “The efforts, shared by taxpayer-funded White House staff, combines an almost year-late rebuttal to the Brandon memes with the Byronic aethestic of the well established ‘Dark MAGA’ movement.”
Kassam has a handy guide to the internet phenomenon of “Dark MAGA” on his Substack that is worth the read.
The interesting part is the origin of these images — it’s Chinese anti-Biden propaganda. The original images were created in early 2022 by “cutting-edge” Chinese artist Yang Quan in an attempt to portray Biden negatively. Quan is a well-known artist and his work has been used in the Chinese versions of Hollywood movie posters for “Predator” and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.”
Quan created one image (pictured below) called “The Sleeping King ascends the Throne” which is an image of Biden on an AR-15 and M-16 version of the Iron Throne from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Apparently this is Chinese anti-Biden propaganda, but it kinda just makes Biden seem metal af pic.twitter.com/C8q2abiARf
— Neoliberal 🌐🇺🇦 (@ne0liberal) May 21, 2021
It’s not just some random on Twitter saying this, Victor Shih, an associate prof at UC San Diego, was quoted in Politico’s China Watcher Newsletter about the origin of the “Dark Brandon” imagery.
“You have this very exaggerated image of a very ‘evil Biden,’ but also, his ability to mobilize these public intellectual zombies in an image is also kind of funny because it has long been China’s accusation of the U.S. government, that the U.S. is using folks like public intellectuals and scholars within China to carry out ‘peaceful evolution,’” said Victor Shih, associate professor at UC San Diego.
Here are some examples of the “Dark Brandon” cringe:
— 🩺 Sassenach 👩🏽🦱🇺🇸🤝🇺🇦 (@sass3366) August 1, 2022
It’s pretty insane that Dark Brandon sniped Ayman al-Zawahri off a balcony with a drone while Trump was golfing with the Saudis. pic.twitter.com/Ju8xixBH6n
— @𝕊𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕒𝕖_𝔾𝕚𝕣𝕝 (@SundaeDivine) August 2, 2022
DARK BRANDON RISES pic.twitter.com/amY5KQh7LR
— SDL (@SocDoneLeft) July 14, 2022
The “Dark Brandon” imagery is really trying to push that Biden is tough and getting things done when it’s pretty clear that’s just not the case. Everything that this administration touches only gets worse — the border, inflation, gas prices, abandoning Americans and allies in Afghanistan, and on and on.
The pro-Biden Dems can try to push this, but we all have eyes. We can see that the shuffling, incoherent “Grandpop” is about as edgy as a bowl of applesauce. Yesterday, he was outsmarted by his sport coat.
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) August 8, 2022
The White House Deputy Press Secretary even attempted a “Dark Brandon” meme… but in a twist that we did “Nazi” coming, he merged the aesthetic of the “evil Biden” CCP propaganda with a Nazi symbol. Great work, there, dude!
A Biden staffer tried to make Dark Brandon a thing but copied a meme off of 4chan with a Reich Eagle in the background pic.twitter.com/C6h0eAP8Yv
— Jack Posobiec 🍊 (@JackPosobiec) August 8, 2022
The fiery image behind “Dark Brandon” and on the title of the fake movie poster is a Nazi eagle.
If this was a Republican, this “Nazi-like propaganda” would be splashed all over the front page of every paper. Remember how USA Today “fact-checked” that the Trump campaign had used Nazi imagery on a t-shirt and then quietly walked it back? Or when lefty activists claimed that the 2021 CPAC stage was in the shape of a Nordic rune that was used on some Nazi uniforms?
Good work there @AndrewJBates46
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 9, 2022
So Biden’s Deputy White House Press Secretary, @Andrewjbates46, is posting literal Nazi memes on Twitter and our corrupt media is completely silent about it.
I’m sure that if this was a Trump WH staffer, the media would treat it the exact same way and totally ignore it 🙄🙄🙄 https://t.co/FlgrWlVzNC
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 8, 2022
These guys normally love to point out this stuff. Why are they suddenly ignoring it?
Especially since “Dark Brandon”‘s
FBI Gestapo conducted a raid on President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence on August 8, 2022 — which just happens to be 8/8/22, and as CNN has told us, two consecutive 8s together are clear “dog whistles” to neo-Nazis. “’88’ refers to “Heil Hitler” (H is the 8th letter in the alphabet),” states a CNN article on hate symbols.
Is anyone going to look into that? No? Weird.
What could have possibly changed to make these overt “dog whistles” of NeoNazism suddenly something that can be ignored?
Interestingly, these memes are becoming quite popular with the Way Too Online Democrats.
Just like during the election when he was hiding in his basement, Biden’s approval has been slowly creeping up while he’s been isolating for COVID for the past couple of weeks.
“The left’s pro-Nazi memes are literally more popular than the real Joe Biden,” wrote Raheem Kassam.
That’s probably why they’re leaning into it.
Author and podcaster Michael Malice made an interesting point on Twitter a few years ago about the way that the language and imagery from the “New Right” has been adopted by the mainstream culture. He added to the thread recently and included the “Dark Brandon” imagery.
One of the major cultural shifts in the last five years is the left adopting the slang of the right. https://t.co/AnqBvYPz7z
— Michael Malice (@michaelmalice) April 24, 2019
He then shared this video of Hillary using the “living rent-free” line which is often used on the right.
Clinton: “I’m living rent free inside of Donald Trump’s brain, and it’s not a very nice place to be, I can tell you that.” pic.twitter.com/Ieb2vyVKlL
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 2, 2019
a few months after Dark MAGA, today they’re writing articles about Dark Brandon, which combines two slang terms from the right
this trend is AFAIK historically unprecedented in American popular discourse and has many implicationshttps://t.co/fmdsm4xeJ7
— Michael Malice (@michaelmalice) August 5, 2022
Rightwingers are finally doing it — we’re capturing the culture and changing the language. It’s about freaking time.
Psalms of War: Prayers That Literally Kick Ass is a collection, from the book of Psalms, regarding how David rolled in prayer. I bet you haven’t heard these read, prayed, or sung in church against our formidable enemies — and therein lies the Church’s problem. We’re not using the spiritual weapons God gave us to waylay the powers of darkness. It might be time to dust them off and offer ‘em up if you’re truly concerned about the state of Christ’s Church and of our nation.
Also included in this book, Psalms of War, are reproductions of the author’s original art from his Biblical Badass Series of oil paintings.
This is a great gift for the prayer warriors. Real. Raw. Relevant.