What Ken Bone’s fame can tell us about the election

by Talia Raoufpur, Staff Columnist

Kenneth Bone won the second Presidential debate. His immediate rise to fame exemplified the public’s desire to escape the inevitability of a Clinton or Trump presidency. Bone, an energy worker, asked how the candidates’ energy plans would minimize job losses at fossil fuel plants. His question was nothing special and his physical appearance was monotonous.

Bone has become a household name. NJ.com writer Amy Kuperinsk dubbed him “the hero in red.”  In the 11 days following the debate, his Twitter following grew exponentially. He went from seven social media followers (two of whom were from his grandmother’s two Twitter accounts) to 251,000. 1.4 million search results appear when his name is typed into Google. Bone became a political Kardashian, selling himself to major brands such as IZOD and Uber. He even has taken the liberty to sell a series of political t-shirts, featuring his newly iconic face. Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, NY has dedicated an entire menu to him. The “Sexy Ken Bone” Halloween costume for women sold out in a few hours. His now famous red sweater has become as iconic as the candidates’ American flag lapel pins.

Bone is a product of the entertaining yet annoying meme culture. Trump’s “bad hombres” comment, a shirtless photo of moderator Anderson Cooper and Hillary’s Jim Halpert-like facial expressions have also been seized upon by social media meme culture. The memes take the edge off of this contentious political campaign and allow people to take a mental break from the disarray and humanize the candidates.

The rise of Bone reflects the ridiculousness of this election campaign. Social media’s obsession with a man as vanilla as Bone demonstrates the hope lost in our two presidential candidates.

He represents a persistent and ever-present disposable meme culture that is here to stay as long as the candidates continue to be so distant from voters.

Although Bone might represent a well mannered and boring American, the message behind his celebrity status hints at a serious issue with the political system. Americans are sick of the current political climate and are searching for a way out. The man in the red sweater has become the funny bone that Americans desperately desire.

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