Have you heard the term “Let’s go Brandon,” and know what it means?
Okay. Right away I’m bothered, as I am by any sentiment that requires further explanation. Imagine if knowing the order of the alphabet wasn’t common knowledge. Needing to ask someone if they know that D follows C is just bothersome.
So yeah, anyway, I guess I have to explain that “Let’s go Brandon” means “F–k Joe Biden,” which — when I found that out — just made me think, why don’t they just say that? Are we living in a Harry Potter world, where names are part of incantations and uttering them lends power to evil wizards?
Is Joe Biden an evil wizard now?
The term, for those who don’t know, comes from when a newscaster accidentally misinterpreting a NASCAR anti-Biden chant as being a rally of support for race-car driver Brandon Brown, who was being interviewed at the time. Now, when certain people say “Let’s go, Brandon,” they really mean the other thing. As a result of Brown’s involuntary association with the political term he is losing valuable sponsorships.
This is something that happens on both sides politically, of course. It’s not a new. The president gets a moniker. Plenty of people referred to Trump as 45. The f-you sentiment isn’t new either. The sarcastic “Thanks Obama” actually existed.
Still, there is something about this term that I just find incredibly puerile. It’s this strange giddiness I see people have over using it, as if they’re getting away with something. As if they invented a new swear word and instantly regressed to the mentality of someone who, you know, doesn’t know the alphabet.
In the social media age — which is still technically a bit new — finding ways to insult people to avoid flagged comments or censorship issues has become common place.
Like 1488. It’s a number used in hate groups. It references the 14 words used by white supremacists and the 8-8 refers to aligning a numerical order to the alphabet to designate H-H for Heil Hitler. H is, of course, the eighth letter in the alphabet.
I’m certainly not trying to lump people that say “Let’s Go Brandon” into the same category as those hate groups. You do start to walk in the same territory though. You have freedom of speech and are afraid to use it, so you speak in code?
Numbers at least translate and make sense.
The term 45 has a logical reason to be a nickname for the 45th president. The “Thanks Obama” term didn’t require any extra explanation, unless you were unfamiliar with sarcasm.
To some, it might feel like this secret language, since there are steps involved that make it seem layered. But all it’s doing is requiring extra effort to parrot an inarticulate message.
None of it articulately names or discusses issues. Falling into insults and staying there sidesteps tackling actual issues.
That’s also, unfortunately, is not new.
It’s not productive to say F–k Bush or F–k Clinton. Same with “Let’s go Brandon,” only with the latter it also has the added effect of ruining a perfectly good name.
We went through this with Karen. There are some great people in this world named Karen. But now that name is associated with rude entitlement and other harsh connotations. The Dark-type Pokemon trainer didn’t deserve to have that happen to her. I feel a similar way about hurricanes. All those poor people named Katrina out there.
Now this new thing is genuinely hurting Brandon Brown.
But back to where I started, I’m really trying to understand why this use of a term is so attractive to people. It’s not actually a social media censor bypass. If there were some oppression-level movement to prevent people from saying “F–k Joe Biden,” it would make more sense to me. I think it comes from this victim mentality of wanting to be the underdog. It’s appealing to think you are in a position where you have to be inventive to say what you want, even if you don’t.
It’s like repeating a joke you heard, though in this case it’s one without a punchline. It just carries an emotional response that certain people enjoy. That’s the dangerous thing about acting on emotions, though.
You ignore all the other things connected to it.
Thus the damage is done.
To all the actual Brandons of the world, I’m sorry for your loss.
Oliver Graves is a stand-up comic and award-winning columnist. “Oliver’s World” runs every first and third Thursday in the Argus-Courier. You can find out more about Oliver at OliverGraves.com or on his Facebook page.
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