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Having stirred his shadow army of commenters to a fever pitch with an article about abortion, the next day Dark Matt decides to calm them down with a lighter puff-piece.

Pacing is all. Patience is everything. Dark Matt does not want the shadow army to flame out too early. It must be prepared for the next phase of intensification, when Dark Matt becomes even Dark Matter.

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"small-c conservative and incrementalist...fundamentally uncool"

I feel seen.

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Remember when the Onion guy who made the Diamond Joe articles came out and apologized because they made Biden look too cool? (Primary season is always weird.)

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Aug 10, 2022·edited Aug 10, 2022

"At the end of the day, this is a free country and nobody is stopping you from saying “fuck Joe Biden” if you want to."

This isn't quite true and I think misses part of the reason why Let's Go Brandon took off. There are actually still quite a few places where dropping the F-bomb is considered uncouth or would result in some form of discipline. By not being an explicit obscenity, it allowed people to bring Let's Go Brandon paraphernalia into the work place without being asked to remove it and to say it on FCC regulated television without getting censored. It also allowed the Cad wing of the right to signal how they felt about Biden without upsetting their puritan grandmothers.

Incidentally, this phenomena is one of the reasons I am strongly opposed to criminalizing hate speech. People will always develop perfectly innocent seeming euphemisms for criminalized language, often adopting words or symbols used by every day people. This will in turn result in a push to criminalize the euphemism, sweeping up and penalizing members of the public that aren't paying attention to the word games of the cultural class. For another example see how the OK symbol became essentially verboten in left wing spaces nearly over night a few years ago.

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Yesterday I posted a long essay about why I quit Twitter.

Today Matt Yglesias posted a short essay about why I quit Twitter.

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One the one hand, I'm grateful for the explainer, because I was definitely a bit puzzled about the layering involved in the "dark Brandon" thing.

On the other hand, I think most of my exposure to it was from following Matt on Twitter, so I think I've just paid him to solve a problem that he created.

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Just a note on Reagan and the SNL skit: This was specifically about Iran-Contra. Reagan was saved from impeachment over this scandal partly because of a widespread perception that he was mentally out of it and that rogue underlings had hijacked the NSC etc. It's long been established through declassified documents that he was far more directly involved in key decisions and the entire process than almost anyone thought at the time. This was much truer than it was of his involvement in other policy areas in his second term.

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Aug 10, 2022·edited Aug 10, 2022

Love this. Reminds me of the old Vox explainers before a lot of the best people from Vox were poached by the New York Times.

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One thing this doesn't mention is the obvious influence of superhero culture on these memes. The sketch about Reagan doesn't suggest he has laser eyes, but Biden having a super powered alter ego is now the most legible way to describe this phenomenon.

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So this is what they do on Twitter all day?

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Matt’s Vox explainer of the American Chopper chair-throwing meme was great too: https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2018/4/10/17207588/american-chopper-meme. Matt missed his calling as a Comp Lit professor.

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This, THIS, is what the internet was invented for. Looking forward to your next book about the meme-ification of presidential communications (except it wont be a book but a long form Twitter thread)

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founding

I actually spent about 20 minutes last night googling “Dark Brandon” to try to figure this out, but I should have just waited for the explainer.

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One of my fixations is the enormous amount of online commentary dedicated to the proposition that these older female Democrats aren't left-wing enough.

I remember the collective freakout over the wine moms reading American Dirt in book clubs, like this was something wrong.

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Kind of want MY to take over knowyourmeme now

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