Wednesday’s headlines and social media posts mostly focused on new President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. But one scene at the housewarming ceremony – a very casual Senator Bernie Sanders in hand-knitted gloves – began to outshine the news and prompted the creation of a new meme.
As Know Your Meme, an online encyclopedia explaining internet phenomena, noted, at the end of the day a photo of Sanders sitting at the ceremony was heavily exploited, with people cutting out the background and moving the Senator to random locations Album covers and film sets.
Within a few hours, Jaxsons became embroiled in the exhilaration. Local businesses took advantage of the Bernie Sanders housewarming meme and posted his image on store fronts on Instagram.
Vagabond Coffee in Murray Hill posted a photo on social media of Sanders sitting in front of the Edgewood store and garnering thousands of likes in a matter of hours.
Courtney McClanahan, a manager at Vagabond, said she hired local artist John Shannon to create the coffeeshop’s version.
“It was an opportunity,” she said. “I had spent most of my afternoon injecting Bernie memes into my veins. I saw [John] had added Bernie to a number of local artist album covers and decided to bribe him with cold brew. ”
The next day, the Intuition Ale Works brewery in the city center released its own version with Sanders on the terrace, accompanied by the headline: “The feeling when your friends are late for happy hour.” Archetype, a Riverside music venue, and the University of North Florida Library and others joined in for the fun too.
On Twitter, locals have added Sanders to their favorite spots in town including St. Mark’s Square, Jax Craft Beer, City Hall and of course Lot J.
On Instagram, the Times Union asked followers which legendary locations in Jacksonville they wanted to see the meme feature. Answers included the lawn that used to be the Jacksonville Landing, TIAA Bank Field, and beach bars, including Pete’s and the Lemon Bar. And we listened.
Beyond the silliness, McClanahan said the memes provided joy and humor to cushion what was going to be a difficult year for many.
“It was serotonin right away,” she said.
Emily Bloch is an education reporter for The Florida Times-Union. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email.