Due to overwhelming demand, we bring you a fresh batch of viral bundled-up Bernie memes, which took the internet by storm after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s inaugurations.
It’s now clear that the senator from Vermont emerged as the indisputable star of the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, January 20. His modest appearance at the ceremony in a quotidian winter jacket and adorable fair isle mittens charmed and amused the public.
The web immediately exploded with a flurry of memes superimposing the image of Sanders bundled up in his chair in DC’s biting cold onto famous artworks, movie scenes, and various pop-culture tropes.
An entire genre of Bernie-themed art historical memes had emerged, positioning the chilly legislator inside known masterpieces including Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” (1942). In fact, one of the widely shared memes was made by our own news editor Jasmine Weber, featuring the senator among the park-goers in Georges Seurat’s 1884 painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.”
In an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Thursday, January 21, Sanders was asked if he knew of his current viral status. “I was just sitting there, trying to keep warm,” the senator answered, but confirmed that his staff had shown him the torrent of viral memes. Meyers continued with a question about the contents of the Manila envelope that the senator was carrying at the inauguration, to which Sanders replied: “It’s top secret.”
Meanwhile, Jen Ellis, the Vermont teacher who received national attention for making the mittens and gifting them to Sanders about two years ago, reported being inundated with mitten orders and interview requests. “I think my Gmail has crashed now,” she told Slate.
Ellis, who teaches second graders, said that she had more important responsibilities to attend to: “My report cards are due tomorrow, so I need to focus on some other things until the weekend, when this will probably not be a thing anymore.”
Contrary to previous reports, Ellis clarified that the mittens are not knit but instead “sewn from repurposed and up-cycled sweaters.” She also had some bad news: she already sold out her inventory of about 40 pairs and won’t be making any more.
“People have been contacting me thinking that they can get mittens, and actually they can’t,” Ellis said. “I don’t have any more, and I don’t have much of a mitten business anymore because it really wasn’t worth it.”
“Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government,” the teacher explained. “We get taxed to the nth degree, and it wasn’t really worth it pursuing that as a business, even as a side hustle. I mostly just make them as gifts.”
If you’re sad that you can’t get your hands on a pair of Bernie mittens, you’ll be pleased to know that Meg Harlan, a climate scientist and a fan of sustainable fashion, had reverse-engineered their pattern and posted her analysis for free download on the knitting and crocheting website Ravelry.
The bundled-up Bernie mania is not limited to internet memes. Within hours from the inauguration, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, posted a Bernie Sanders Inauguration Day Bobblehead for pre-order. The figurines, priced at $25, will be ready for shipment in May.
The National Museum of American Jewish History, a Smithsonian affiliate, has also joined the trend by offering bundled-up Bernie merch on its website, including a mug ($15) and a t-shirt ($24).
Enjoy some of our favorite memes below, and be on the lookout for updates.