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Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum comes out of online isolation to endorse Bernie Sanders

'bernie is punk,' reads the subject line.

Mar 2, 2020, 10:04 am*

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Ignacio Martinez

Neutral Milk Hotel is firmly established in the canon of indie rock through their landmark 1998 album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

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Where the band hasn’t really established themselves at all is through any semblance of an online presence. No official Twitter or Instagram page exists for the band and frontman Jeff Mangum’s status as a recluse has become quite an in-joke for fans. The band’s last live show took place in 2015 and even photos and videos of Mangum are few and far between, despite the album artwork for Aeroplane being unmistakably iconic on the internet.

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In fact, it was Mangum’s spouse, documentarian Astra Taylor, who relayed his endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for Democratic nominee to Twitter Sunday night. Taylor’s tweet includes a screenshot of the message Mangum sent out to Neutral Milk Hotel’s mailing list and the clarification that she “endorse[s] his endorsement.” 

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The email is extremely concise and casual in nature with its all lower-case styling. Kicked off with the subject line, “bernie is punk,” the entirety of the email reads: “hello my friends! just writing to ask you all to vote for bernie. much love to all, jeff mangum.”

The text is sandwiched between a screenshot from a video of Sanders interviewing punk mall shoppers in 1988 during his time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont and an image of a college-aged Sanders being carried away by police for protesting segregation in Chicago public schools in 1963. 

Regardless of Mangum’s lack of an online brand, the Twitter reaction to his endorsement of Sanders was emphatic. 

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Disclosure: Ignacio Martinez supports Bernie Sanders for president.

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*First Published: Mar 2, 2020, 10:02 am