Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here's Bernie Sanders, a man in his 70s, watching a furry fight a Jack Skellington cosplayer

Photo: Tom Williams (Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders was born in 1941. He’s been involved in politics for almost the entirety of his life. He’s no doubt seen many remarkable things over the years, but we can only assume the most incredible of all was captured in a photo from 2017. In it, we see Sanders walking through a mall where a fuckin’ furry and a Jack Skellington cosplayer (or is it a formal-wear Shy Guy?) are about to engage in battle.

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Tweeted by Buzzfeed News reporter Ryan Broderick nearly two years ago, the photo’s resurfaced with this week’s announcement that Sanders will run for president again next year. While already an astounding, fevered, Rockwellian tableau of modern America, recent news gives the picture fresh context, as well as a closer inspection. Sanders is smiling in the photo, which is nice, and the furry is either a Dragonball Z fan or attempting to offer its foe invisible flowers.

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What does Sanders see when he sees this? We have no way of knowing which parts of the internet he’s visited so there is, of course, a reality where even a man of his advanced age looks upon the cosplayers as fellow travelers. In that case, he may be smiling at the excellent craftsmanship that went into their costumes. He may be flashing some kind of acknowledgement with the grin, letting them know he may not be wearing his dragon costume or Naruto headband at that moment, but that he’s one of them just the same.

More likely, though, is that Sanders looked at the scene with the fresh, naive eyes of a old politician. He sees a strange, business suit-clad person threaten a doe-eyed forest creature with all the terrible might of outsized corporate power decimating our environment. The animal, innocent and helpless, extends its paws in a gesture of common goodwill but big business remains steadfastly threatening. Sanders, watching on, smiles at the persistence of the furry, happy to see the youth enacting morality plays that dramatize the modern political struggle.

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.