It's a picture that might belong in a film that's half horror, half sci-fi: US President Joe Biden standing on a murky background, brilliant crimson laser beams emanating from his eyes, his brooch of the US flag shining prominently towards its reverse. .

Nonetheless, it wasn't a meme web page or a troll account that posted that picture: it was published on Biden's personal X web page earlier Monday. Towards the backdrop of Israel's brutal warfare in Gaza that has killed greater than 28,000 folks and that the US has supported, the picture has drawn specific criticism of Biden from some social media customers.

Right here's every part we learn about Biden's put up to date:

What was the place?

Biden's put up got here after the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers within the Tremendous Bowl.

Singer Taylor Swift – arguably the largest identify on the planet of leisure who has beforehand criticized former US President Donald Trump, Biden's foremost rival within the 2024 election – got here out Travis Kelce, who performs for the Chiefs. Whereas Swift's look at Nationwide Soccer League (NFL) video games this season has helped the game's model, it has additionally sparked conspiracy theories from sections of the far proper, who’ve recommended the NFL conspired to arrange a win for the Chiefs. create a backdrop for Swift to endorse Biden's candidacy.

Though the Chiefs gained, Swift has but to declare assist for any presidential candidate. That didn't cease Biden from mocking the conspiracy concept along with his tweet, suggesting he had timed it.

Biden's tweet sparked a variety of reactions on X, from digital eyes to responses expressing disappointment and outrage.

Many customers have questioned whether or not Biden's account was hacked. Others joked about an intern posting the picture whereas others remarked how they thought a parody account posted the image at first look.

Many recommended that Biden's put up was distasteful and insensitive because it got here amid Israel's devastating warfare in Gaza.

Whereas calling for an finish to civilian deaths in Gaza, the Biden administration continues to promote and provide weapons to Israel.

Given the warfare in Gaza, the put up was not “acceptable,” stated Ahmed Al-Rawi, affiliate professor of reports, social media and public communication at Simon Fraser College in Canada.

“However I don't assume Biden is considering the worldwide viewers right here,” he stated. “He thinks particularly of his American viewers.”

What’s the Darkish Brandon meme?

The choice textual content, or description of the picture on Biden's put up, merely says, “darkish model.” This can be a reference to a meme that dates again to October 2021.

A crowd chanted obscenities about Joe Biden throughout a race on the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Whereas interviewing race winner Brandon Brown, NBC sports activities reporter Kelli Stavast interpreted the chants to be “Let's Go Brandon,” and reported them as such on dwell tv.

Since then, the phrase “Let's Go Brandon” has turn into code for verbal abuse at Biden, lending Republican politicians a brand new language to make use of towards Biden on-line, evading censorship and avoiding criticism. The phrase additionally started to appear as music lyrics.

Since then, the Brandon meme has developed and varied interpretations of the picture of Biden with laser beams taking pictures from his eyes – dubbed “Darkish Brandon” – started to make the rounds on the Web.

Cutouts of the Darkish Brandon meme additionally made an look on the web site of the third Republican presidential main debate in November 2023.

Cut-outs of the "Brandon dark" Internet memes are displayed across from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the site of the third Republican presidential primary debate in Miami.
Clippings of the Web meme “Darkish Brandon” are displayed in entrance of the Adrienne Arsht Middle for the Performing Arts, the positioning of the third Republican presidential debate in Miami, Florida, on November 8, 2023. [Mandel Ngan/AFP]

Has Biden made related posts prior to now?

Whatever the origin, the meme that was meant to mock and criticize Biden has been repeatedly co-opted by Democrats and Biden himself. His tongue-in-cheek recognition of Brandon's phrase started in 2021 and has continued.

In April 2023, Biden donned a darkish parasol after joking about changing into the “Darkish Brandon” particular person in the course of the White Home Correspondents' Affiliation dinner in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden wears sunglasses after making a joke about becoming the "Brandon dark" person during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington,
Biden joked about changing into the “Darkish Brandon” persona in the course of the White Home Correspondents' Affiliation dinner on the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC on April 29, 2023. [Carolyn Kaster/AP]

The Biden marketing campaign made its first put up on Fact Social, the conservative social community of the rival of the presidential race Donald Trump in October 2023. With the profile image of Darkish Brandon, the verified account @BidenHQ has posted, “Good. Let's see the way it goes. Converts welcome!”

This appropriation of memes is a part of an ongoing political warfare, stated Al-Rawi, who has studied and written in regards to the politics of memes.

“The meme in itself is a political communication software,” he instructed Al Jazeera. “It’s being armed by totally different events to draw consideration and distract from different issues.”

Al-Rawi believes that the Brandon meme labored in favor of Biden from the attitude of his supporters, who like the truth that he takes a political assault. Then again, Al-Rawi stated, it might be insensitive in a part of the International South.

Al-Rawi additionally attributed Biden's efforts to “meme-ify” political messaging to makes an attempt to attach with youthful voters. Biden's capacity to control has been undermined due to his age and issues along with his reminiscence.

Biden is just not the one politician who has used memes to convey political messages. Social media groups and followers of politicians together with former US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have relied on web memes and tendencies for extra political messages.

World leaders used to speak by press releases and televised statements, however the creation of social media has modified how they impart with the general public, Al-Rawi stated.

Memes are one such approach.

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