Who Is Inauguration Man?

his identity revealed

Inauguration Day this past Wednesday was Joe Biden's time to shine. The malarky is finished. It was a beautiful celebration of democracy. Who can forget when this happened?

Joe was the main even but The Internet went crazy for Inauguration Man, a grumpy old man sitting in a chair, who was the subject of countless memes and jokes. It was epic. You've probably seen the pic of him on Instagram.

Here he is, Inauguration Man:

Haha! He doesn’t look too happy to be there! While everyone else was wearing designer gowns and fancy coats, he was fine in a plain old gloves and mittens. It was an epic move to show up like this. And so obviously, The Internet turned him into a meme. It was pretty win.

As Inauguration Man took the internet by storm, many users on social media were asking, “Who is Inauguration Man?” Nobody could be sure, given the outerwear and mask he was covered in (kudos for social distancing). Here’s the scoop.

Inauguration Man actually has a pretty interesting backstory. His name is Bernard Sanders and — get this — he was at the inauguration because he’s… a Senator! Yep, that’s right, he’s a Senator from Vermont, which explains the snazzy mittens.

Sanders, who also goes by “Bernie,” actually had a brief shot at the presidency himself. He ran in the Democratic Primary in 2016, and again in 2020. Interestingly, he is officially an Independent, because of his leftist politics. He has a few stans, known as “Bernie Bros” who support things he does, and would explain how the meme happened. Sanders is originally from Brooklyn, New York and he was once a mayor of a town.

Bernie is perhaps best known for appearing on Saturday Night Live with Larry David. The joke was that they’re both cranky, old men. Aside from that, he’s been trying to do some really interesting stuff in the Senate. He believes in a thing called Medicare For All (good luck!) and supports raising the minimum wage to $15 nationally. That’s very cool! Opinion of him on Twitter seems to be split, but there’s no denying Inauguration Man stands up for what he believes in.

It’s kinda cool how the internet can turn anyone, even a regular guy at the inauguration, into a meme! And Inauguration Man using his new platform for a great cause: raising awareness of mittens and coats.

a short thing about lady gaga

Lady Gaga (seen above) sang the national anthem at the inauguration, which gives me a nice peg to talk about a thing I recently learned. Gaga stans on Twitter have been using a mysterious new symbol in their display names for a while.

Last year, she released an album call Chromatica that is set on a planet called Chromatica. The symbol for Chromatica is a circle with a W-like squiggle in it.

So you can see where the symbol in the Twitter display names is cribbing from. But they’re not the same, because the fans aren’t using some sort of custom Chromatica symbol. They’re repurposing an old symbol that’s included in Unicode, the standard for encoding and representing digital text that also gives us new emoji.

The Chromatica stans are using U+3004, a symbol representing Japanese Industrial Standards (if you look again, you can now see that the squiggle is “JIS”) that was added to Unicode in 1993. The logo changed in 2008, so there’s not much use for this symbol anymore. Since it might break things to remove stuff from Unicode, however, it remains.

There are a bunch of old, unused symbols like this that might find new life as a stan prop. I just think that’s neat.