‘Let’s Go Brandon’ and the linguistic jiujitsu of American politics


(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

(THE CONVERSATION) During an interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown on Oct. 2, 2021, NBC sportscaster Kelli Stavast made a curious observation. She reported that Talladega Superspeedway spectators were chanting “Let’s go Brandon” to celebrate the racing driver’s first Xfinity Series win.

In reality, however, the crowd was shouting a very different phrase: “F–k Joe Biden,” a taunt that had become popular at college football games earlier in the fall.

The deliberate misinterpretation of the crowd’s chant was a deft bit of verbal legerdemain on Stavast’s part. Although she hasn’t…

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