Going off Book: Inauguration Fashion and Bernie’s Mittens Memes

I promise this is not going to become a blog of “Sarah’s random thoughts about miscellaneous things.” It is, primarily, a blog devoted to books and the reading life. And I’ve been reading things. Great things. Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians blew my mind. It’s super fun and scary and you should read it. Rebecca Roanhorses’s Black Sun mingled both familiar and new in a delightful way. It was super fun and I’m excited for the second book in the series and you should read it. The problem is, I don’t have much to say about these books in the way of deep thoughts. My brain right now feels mostly capable of formulating, “That book was really good! And also … “

And so I present to you other thoughts on two things that happened over a week ago, ancient history in internet time but still alive in my heart: inauguration fashion and Bernie’s mittens memes.

All the Details on Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga's Meaningful Inauguration  Day Looks | PEOPLE.com

After watching the inauguration through to Amanda Gorman’s amazing recitation, I returned to my work day. But then I promptly kicked off a whole new spiral on an ongoing text thread I have with some of my best girlfriends by quoting R. Eric Thomas’ take on Lady Gaga’s inauguration outfit: “I do love how her outfit is Space Chancellor from a Post-Dystopian Movie on top and Actual Lady Gaga, Pirate Queen on the bottom,” followed by “J. Lo dressed fabulously as a ghost Wonka.”

From there we found ourselves furiously texting back and forth about Dr. Jill Biden’s coat (covet), Vice President Kamala Harris’ purple (mixed reviews), Michelle Obama’s purple jumpsuit (magnificent! resplendent! superlative!), and Amanda Gorman’s everything (everything!).

Readers, I know fashion and appearance is the least important thing about transitioning the leadership of the United States. I also know that commenting on women’s appearance rather than their brains and actions and personhood is a longstanding problem issue. But I also know that it felt so fun to be frivolous, to feel safe to be a little bit silly, to talk with glee about things that simply do not matter. It has felt like a long time since we could talk without shadow, asterisks, or footnotes about Fun Things That Do Not Matter.™

Which leads, of course, to the meme that powered the internet for the past week-and-change, generating enough electricity to power a certain Vermont senator’s no-doubt drafty, just-put-on-another-sweater farmhouse: Bernie, with his grumpy face, folded arms, and mittens! Once again, entirely dumb, silly, pointless. Gleefully so. Unapologetically so. Stupid, delicious, zany, childish, fun.

I dare you not to giggle. (Bernie is totes a Hufflepuff who wishes he were in Gryffindor, btw.)

Look, I know that a change in administration does not mean all the bad things are resolved. We still have a pandemic killing thousands of Americans and others around the globe each day. We still have the tidal wave of global warming and the climate crisis. We still have outrageous racial injustice and wealth inequality. We still have 70 million Americans who, best case, saw children in cages and thought, “I can live with that.” And we have some percentage of those 70 million who actively tried to overthrow the government and halt American democracy. It’s a lot. But we also have a bit of space to take a moment and notice the sparkles.

The Best Inauguration Memes, From Bernie's Mittens to Lady Gaga's Hunger  Games Pin

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