The evolution of a meme is a beautiful thing to watch.
In the 24-hours since the image of a mitten-clad senator Bernie Sanders first drew attention at U.S. President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the meme has naturally changed and evolved. At first the Internet was simply obsessed with Sanders’ “Vermont grandpa-core” look, remarking on how he looked like he was on his way to the post-office, or like a chilly parent at their frigid kids’ outdoor sports game.
Now, the meme’s evolved, and we’ve collectively moved on to simply placing Sanders in places he seems like a natural fit. Because why not imagine Bernie hanging out with sad Keanu or on the Toronto sign?
Of course Canada’s prodigal son Ryan Reynolds got in on the fun with his own spin on the meme.
But a new web tool makes building your own Bernie memes even easier for the not-so Photoshop savvy, allowing you to drop photographer Brenden Smialowski’s iconic image of cosy Bernie literally anywhere in the world. New York software engineer Nick Sawhney developed the tool, which uses Google Maps to place Bernie at any address or place the service recognizes.
You can simply type a place name or street address, and the webpage will load you your very own version of the Bernie meme. Canadians took the chance to place Sanders in some iconic locales in their own neighbourhoods, like Vancouver’s Congee Noodle House or its international airport.
Or various Toronto-area Chinese restaurants.
Or even just a driveway in Edmonton.
Really, we all just love putting Bernie places.
Admittedly some addresses work better than others, like when we tried to plunk Bernie down in front of the old HuffPost Canada office in Toronto.
On Twitter, Sawhney said the site has crashed several times since its launch due to overwhelming demand. He is funding the server out of his own pocket, and has launched a fundraiser on buymeacoffee.com to fund both the server and associated fees from Google Maps and keep the Bernie memes going.
When asked about the iconic image yesterday, Sanders himself said he wasn’t looking to inspire a meme, but rather was simply bundled up against the cold.
So go forth and put Bernie in front of your childhood home. It’s the least we can do to smile during these trying times.
WATCH: Image of Sanders in mittens goes viral.