The weather for President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony was stormy, with flurries of snow and a freezing wind that brought the temperature down to near zero. But never let it be said that a Vermont citizen like Senator Bernie Sanders doesn’t know how to dress for winter weather.
Along with Amanda Gorman’s poignant poem, Senator Sanders’ now iconic mittens were one of the highlights of the day. Within 24 hours, the casual look had launched more memes than anyone could count and, like Elf on the Shelf, it was pretty much everywhere.
Bernie’s curled-up image, captured by the decorated photographer Brendan Smialowski– was soon Photoshopped into classic paintings like Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’ and Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’. It has been inserted into contemporary pop culture with nods and nods to Sex and the City, Twilight, Game of Thrones, Y Where’s Waldo? It’s even been switched to Sharon Stone’s infamous cross-legged hot seat pose from Basic instinct.
Some of my favorite Bernie Sanders sightings today: pic.twitter.com/Pxta5BO7Uu
– Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) January 21, 2021
As well as injecting some much-needed humor into our social media, Sanders’ sartorial tour-de-force injected some much-needed money into some charities, thanks to the senator himself, who seized the moment.
He quickly added the image to a line of merchandise on your website—With all proceeds going to benefit Vermont-based charities, including Meals on Wheels and senior advocacy groups.
The hoodies, t-shirts and stickers sold out in less than 30 minutes. Additional supplies were similarly bought faster than you can say ‘Jack Frost’. In total, Sanders reported that it raised about $ 1.8 million in the span of five days.
“We are excited to be able to use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need,” Sanders said in a statement.
Jen Ellis, the Vermont elementary school teacher responsible for knitting the world’s most famous mittens, reported via social media that Sanders called to let her know that “the mitten frenzy” had raised a lot of money for various worthy causes.
Ellis, who was inundated with glove orders, which she doesn’t have time to do, set up a new philanthropic website called Generosity brings joy. He will collaborate with companies to design and create “Bernie Mitten Themed” products to benefit charity, in the hope that “high-quality, cheerful” items will make up for some of the shortcomings of nonprofits during the pandemic.
Ellis wasn’t the only fan of Bernie’s memes who used his skillful talents to raise money for charity. Tobey King, a Corpus Christi Texas woman, listed a crocheted Sanders doll that she had conceptualized to benefit Meals on Wheels on eBay, and it raised a staggering amount. Listed at a modest opening price of 99 cents, 167 bids later, the “Bernie Mittens Crochet Doll” sold for a staggering $ 20,300.
Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon artist Mike Bennett has made a life-size cutout of Bernie in his now iconic pose for a charity auction. Through his creative geniusOver $ 3,000 in donations have been raised for Meals on Wheels.
“This is the lesson life has taught me over and over again,” said Jen Ellis, who had gifted Sanders with the original mittens. “If you give of yourself, not only material gifts, but your time, your good will, your goodness, you receive joy. It’s that easy. You don’t have to be rich to worry; you just have to be human. We all have so many gifts, and the world is a better place when we share them. “
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