Why ‘Let’s Go, Brandon!’ Matters

Ever since the chant “Let’s go, Brandon!” took hold at major American sporting events and in other public spaces, the propagandistic media has been befuddled by it. A few days ago, NPR published an article that was supposed to explain the intriguing mystery behind the chant. Presumably, NPR listeners might have heard the chant, and are terribly confused as to what it might mean. But fear not! NPR will explain it all! 

“If you’ve heard people chanting ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’ or seen someone with a shirt or hat sporting the seemingly-jovial message lately,” write the editors at NPR, “you might be wondering who Brandon is and why so many people are rooting for him. In this case, the phrase isn’t actually supporting a guy named Brandon. Instead, it’s a euphemism that many people in conservative circles are using in place of saying ‘F— Joe Biden.’”

Setting aside the humorous aspect of NPR’s deadly serious reporting and its apparent obliviousness about the “Let’s go, Brandon!” phenomenon, there is another layer to NPR’s reaction. Like many others in propagandistic media, NPR deemed it necessary to explain away the phenomenon. The network is not really reporting on it but offering an interpretation of the facts they hope will be palatable to their audience and serviceable to the cause. 

Saying that the chant is used in “conservative circles” is their attempt to reduce its meaning and power. More importantly, they are mounting a defense of Joe Biden. Moralistically, they pretend to wince at the vulgarity of the statement, yet their hypocrisy remains evident as they celebrate so many other vulgar people. The Left’s double standard with respect to their treatment of conservatives or anyone who disagrees with the tenets of leftism is well known. 

This is not the only example of the corporate leftist media’s distortion of facts. Twitter’s “fact checkers,” and especially the Associated Press, issue “corrective” statements about COVID vaccines (“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective”), as well as other matters that are often banal but that somehow went viral among the conservatives on social media. This includes a constant defense of the leader, who under the regime and thanks to the propaganda machine, is always presented as an exemplary man or woman who stands by his or her dutiful subjects. (You are not supposed to notice that Joe Biden is a bitter and senile man, out of step with the members of the media, who are more and more engaged in cleaning up his, er, . . . messes).

This defense of Biden is proving to be a difficult thing to manage because the authoritarians, at the same time, are trying to speed up the establishment of a totalitarian state. 

As much as an authoritarian state is an inauthentic or artificial political system, it still requires a firm foundation in fear to execute its agenda. The Biden regime and the propaganda machine are stuck in an ideological loop working at warp speed, which does not allow for the development of a firmly planted totalitarianism. Their rejection of tradition and embrace of their ideology’s fluidity and transience is actually working against them. The fact that the tools of authoritarianism have the need to “correct” (read: censor) the facts proves that they lack confidence in their powers. By denying the truth, they affirm it and become laughingstocks. 

As much as the current regime relies on the appearance of power, we should take it seriously and evaluate it, at least partially, through the lens of other totalitarian systems. 

In his book, Never Speak to Strangers, and Other Writings from Russia and the Soviet Union, David Satter notes how “A totalitarian system cannot live without the sanction of a false idea.” This is why it needs a media outlet in order to disseminate falsehoods. In the Soviet Union, this was Pravda, a newspaper that regularly presented falsehoods in order to keep the subjects in a constant slumber and existential stupor. Being exhausted from the lack of basic needs in life, the people couldn’t muster the energy to fight, and so, many gave in and not only came to believe the propaganda, but also engaged in self-censorship to preserve the illusions that comforted them.

Of course, this was not the case for everyone. Satter calls this “dual consciousness” which “is expressed in showing ideological loyalty in public and behaving as if the ideology did not exist in private without sensing any inconsistency . . . But not everyone wants to live with a split in consciousness.” Those who are staying in reality reject the split in mind. They want to remain whole as human beings, and they persist in seeking the truth and exercising their freedom. This is why something that on the surface seems silly, like the “Let’s go, Brandon!” chant, is actually monumental. It represents reality trying to reassert itself.

Satter writes that in Russia

Soviet leaders, showing the effects of dual consciousness, betray little interest in Soviet culture, although they praise it publicly and impose it on others. At ceremonies to honor the winner of the Lenin prize for the best Soviet film of the year, there is a morning screening of the winning film, which is virtually unattended. In the evening, a reception at Goskino in honor of the Lenin prize winner includes a showing of an illegally copied Western film, such as ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ and draws a large crowd.

In other words, the authoritarians don’t even believe their own lies or participate in ingesting them. There is an understanding that the lies are produced for the consumption of the commoners and their reality exists on a different plane.

The difference between totalitarian systems of the past and the current regime is the speed at which events are unfolding to expose this tension. Indeed, the discrepancies are already on full and open display. The truth may get lost in the myriad of useless and banal information in our news feed and it may seem that it gets suppressed or that there are no consequences for the injustices we know are happening. But the viral nature of the “Let’s go, Brandon!” phenomenon should give us heart. Perhaps it is the unnatural speed of the totalitarian regime that will finally lead to its warp speed undoing. 

About Emina Melonic

Emina Melonic is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness. Originally from Bosnia, a survivor of the Bosnian war and its aftermath of refugee camps, she immigrated to the United States in 1996 and became an American citizen in 2003. She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature. Her writings have appeared in National Review, The Imaginative Conservative, New English Review, The New Criterion, Law and Liberty, The University Bookman, Claremont Review of Books, The American Mind, and Splice Today. She lives near Buffalo, N.Y.

Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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