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If you’ve opened Twitter in the past month, you’ve probably noticed an influx of profiles with specific emoji next to the username. There’s a donut. There’s a rose. There’s a wilted flower. There’s an ear of corn (now known as “corncob”). What does it all mean? Because this is the internet, the explanations are both exhausting and confusing. You’ll question whether you want to continue using Twitter at all. The short answer? People are acting like the Democratic primary election of 2016 is ongoing, and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters are still at war with one another. But if you really want to understand liberal Twitter’s markers, here’s a short guide to the meaning behind each emoji.
Ear of Corn
A couple of weeks ago, a divisive Kamala Harris meme was being circulated on social media. The meme showed a photo of the California senator in front of a logo for “Centrist Corncobs 2020.” Some people criticized the use of term “corncob,” claiming that it was homophobic. But that theory was shot down by leftists on Twitter, who said that the inclusion of “corncob” was likely a reference to a popular dril tweet (if you’re lost, dril is a massively popular Weird Twitter account that parodies the internet). The meme seemed to be initiated by people who think that Harris, a Democrat, is too moderate on several issues to become a viable candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
"im not owned! im not owned!!", i continue to insist as i slowly shrink and transform into a corn cob— wint (@dril) November 11, 2011
Earlier this year, Twitter discussions around the corn emoji were linked to the dril tweet.
Now people are using the emoji in their profiles as a joke. We think.
Donut (with or without water drop)
The donut emoji emerged from a comment made by Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution, the political action group that aims to continue the movement started by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. On a recent trip to the Democratic National Committee’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, Turner and fellow Our Revolution supporters were apparently blocked from entering the building. The DNC also offered the group donuts and water—and the refreshments were not met with open arms. Turner said:
“They tried to seduce us with donuts and water. They’re pompous and arrogant enough to say to the people, ‘you’re not good enough to be on our property — and, oh by the way, we’re just gonna hand you donuts and water over the barricade.’ That is insulting. Absolutely insulting.”
Since last summer, when emails emerged showing that DNC officials favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, the committee has been at odds with Sanders supporters. Turner’s comments showed that the feud between Sanders supporters and the DNC is not over.
The donut comment stuck. Last week, a Twitter account called Hillary Warned Us called for “proud” Democrats to add a donut to their username.
If you're proud of being a Democrat, add a donut to your name. 🍩— Hillary Warned Us (@HillaryWarnedUs) August 10, 2017
Donut-emoji people are people who support the DNC and/or Hillary Clinton. (Or they might just really like donuts.) Some people are also using the water drop emoji to symbolize Turner’s comments about “donuts and water.” But the people who are using a donut emoji to protest Turner and everything she stands for are facing a lot of criticism.
So basically any white Democrat with a donut emoji in their user name is saying "I do not care for that disobedient black woman."— GAYBOY COLOR (@disco_socialist) August 14, 2017
I like how you're being lectured on racism by somebody using a donut emoji to mock a black woman who couldn't be bought off with donuts.— Stewart LaBeouf (@voicehaver) August 12, 2017
*extremely normal voice* I'm going to put a donut in my display name to mock a black woman who couldn't be bought off with donuts— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) August 10, 2017
it’s actually good that centrists are using the donut, a pastry with literally nothing in the middle, as their signifying emoji— Jack and Biz Have Never Publicly Denounced Nazis (@karengeier) August 10, 2017
The red rose emoji is no longer being used primarily by Bachelor/Bachelorette fans livetweeting the TV show. Sanders supporters began using the rose emoji several months ago. It’s colloquially known as the “Bernie or Bust” emoji. It’s also used to show support for the Democratic Socialists of America. Why a red rose? It’s a progressive symbol with roots in May Day marches.
People who fancy themselves "Democratic Socialists" a la Bernie use a rose emoji in their name. Political noobs mad BS didn't win.— Spifffan (@spifffan) June 6, 2017
people who have/had a rose emoji in their handle & love to chant Bernie Would Have Won— Centrism2020 FanAcct (@Wilson__Valdez) July 17, 2017
It gets hard to tell on here how many are Bernie diehards vs bots, but I think at least 1/3 of my blocks = rose emoji crowd.— SnarkSquad (@SwanQueenoholic) June 30, 2017
I have been informed the rose emoji represents support for the Democratic Socialists of America, not the House of Lancaster. My apologies.— H.P. the Cimmerian (@tuesdayreviews) August 11, 2017
The wilted flower (or wilted rose) emoji holds the opposite meaning of the rose emoji. It’s for people who aren’t supportive of Sanders’ movement. Some of the same people who use the donut in their username also use the wilted flower.
The red rose is the Democratic Socialist symbol. Essentially the "Bernie is Jesus" emoji. The dead rose is a symbol of "I'm not on board".— Free Bravenak FSS (@taysdadtx) July 17, 2017
Found a liberal with a wilted rose emoji in his display to own Bernie Bros and I will die giggling kiddos— altest ever left (@jokesmithe) May 7, 2017
The donut is sort of the new wilted flower emoji.
oh are ppl switching to donut emoji bc the wilted rose didn't catch on like they'd hoped— margot ½ jay (@em_aytch) August 10, 2017
Donut emoji twitter is bad but at least they finally figured out what a self-own the wilted flower emoji was— Diarahann Carroll (@33mhz) August 11, 2017
So, let’s review. Hillary Clinton and/or DNC supporters are using the donut and wilted flower emoji. Bernie Sanders supporters/Democratic Socialists use the red rose emoji. And the corncob emoji is being used by dril fans or people critical of so-called centrists. Corncob emoji people usually disagree with donut emoji people. Also, because it’s Twitter, anyone may be using any of these emoji to parody the meanings behind the emoji symbols. Phew!
Now you can understand all these emoji references on Twitter.
it's pretty rich that the rose and corncob emojis ppl are suddenly up in arms about a fucking donut emoji.— Celia (@_celia_marie_) August 10, 2017
the corn cob emoji is going to fuck the donut emoji in the next emoji movie— fraser söze (@fraserwat) August 11, 2017
What a time to be alive.
Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.