Careful you don’t split your sides.
Ladies and Gentleman, my wife Jill who you will meet soon and who is drop dead gorgeous. (Laughter) My wife Jill, who you will meet soon. She also has her doctorate degree which is a problem. (Laughter) But all kidding aside, my Jill, my Jill, my wife Jill and I are honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey. Because that is what it is. It’s a journey.
Categories: gender & feminism, Politics
I think RKMK got it right over at Shakesville:
It’s almost as if Biden’s saying “hey, look at the neat trick my pet woman can do – she can do education!”.
Or “Anything McCain can do, I can do better! My pet could TOTALLY take yours in Miss Buffalo Chip”
Oh, I have volumes of not liking for Biden – he has so many verbal gaffes it’s not even funny. And yet I’m still voting for Obama because I don’t believe in the strength of the Green Party (and I want to… 😦 ).
Oh. Yipee. Another one.
Am just thankful that his running mate is a young, healthy man… (a veep slot was still harmless enough to keep gaff-meister Quayle in public life, how much damage could Bidet do?)
Veep is usually The Guy That Goes To State Functions And Maybe Gives Advice position. Cheney’s a fluke by being a puppetmaster, as usually they don’t have that kind of power. So yeah, Deus Ex.
Not to make excuses for Biden, but right now I’m so sick of what we’ve got here that I’m willing to deal with this. Does that make me a bad feminist? Probably, but sometimes you have to work within the system.
Wait a minnit, wasn’t that a joke? I can’t for even one nanosecond think that he was seriously saying that it was a problem that his wife had a PhD! I’m not a huge Biden fan (don’t hate him either; these guys are just humans like the rest of us) but … I just can’t see that this was meant in ANY way other than to be funny. He may not have succeeded, but geez louise; I don’t know how many times something I’ve said has fallen flat. Not because it was viciously racist or sexist, but because it just wasn’t very funny.
I’m beginning to avoid the progressive press and blogs. More and more it seems that no one can say anything right. I’m not surprised that every single word out of a candidate’s mouth is orchestrated and vetted ahead of time. Let him try, for a moment, to just be a person and watch the nit-picking and dissections start. And then we criticize them for scripting every damn word out of their mouths.
I used to think I was a feminist, and dammit, I AM one. But sometimes I just have to shake my head.
You know what, Vicki? It’s just *not fucking funny* to say a woman with a PhD is “a problem.” Clearly some people at the event thought it has hilarious.
Oh, wait a minute. You totally just called us “humorless feminists,” didn’t you? THAT, sister, is funny as hell.
More and more it seems that no one can say anything right.
That’s because we have, um, certain expectations of our elected officials…such as that they won’t be sexist jackasses. Is that *really* too much to ask?
Oh, wait a minute. You totally just called us “humorless feminists,” didn’t you?
No, actually I didn’t.
And annaham, no it’s not too much to ask. But I don’t see sexism there, I see a lame attempt at humor. Really lame.
I have a two young-adult daughters, one of them a lesbian. I am an associate professor of physics, and took a lot of shit in the 70s as a female physics major. There are feminist issues that impact me and my daughters and my daughter’s partner every damned day. Joe Biden’s remark is not one of them. It was just dumb. It’s not dangerous, it won’t result in blood or torture or death. It’s the kind of thing that I am happy to leave to his wife. I’m a lot more interested in how he’s going to lead the Senate when he’s VP.
I see your point Vicki, but a/ I don’t think anyone was responding as if it’s the *worst thing ever*, only that he’s an idiot for making a dumb joke that relies on sexism, and b/ the joke relies on women are for decoration, the dumber they are the better for us, my wife is hot, sadly she’s kinda smart.
Maybe you don’t see it as affection you and your daughters.
I see it as directly affecting me when my opinions are discounted in favour of staring at my cleavage, when I don’t even *register* on a guys radar as I’m no longer 22, when I have to listen to men make these kinds of jokes in the workplace. I see it as affecting my son who sees again – Haw haw jokes about women are hot/stupid is *funnnneeeee*.
No-one here is planning terrorist actions on this guy or claiming he is the *root* of all evil, just pointing out “God, can you believe it? Another stupid and sexist American politician…oh yeah…I CAN believe it”.
Some sympathy here for the “perfect is the enemy of good” view, I do understand that. Even if he’s a jackass at times (*cough* “articulate”), will Biden alongside Obama be a better leader than McCain & whoever he runs with? You betcha.
Doesn’t mean that yet another “just a joke” remark about women should be given a free pass though. I’d hope that it wouldn’t be the only thing that people blog about the guy for the next few weeks or months, but I don’t think it’s wrong to make a note of it.
Well, I saw his PhD joke as “That’s going to be a problem; she’s clearly smarter than me.” We don’t know what he meant when he called it a problem. My own personal values call on me to interpret anything anyone says in the best light until evil intent becomes clear.
I see a lot of things affecting me and my daughters. I also see that I have raised (and acquired through relationship) three smart, independent women. Their world is different from the one I grew up in, different in a lot of seriously important ways. A great deal of the oppression that women experienced no longer exists. (No, I’m NOT saying that we’re in a postfeminist society.) There is a lot of work left to do, a LOT of work. But Biden has got to be better than whoever McCain chooses. He’s got to be, lame sense of humor or not. And that’s what I’m interested in.
And Viv, no, it’s not wrong to make a note of it. But it is wrong to throw up our hands and write him off as just another pig.
For clarity my remark was also a joke, and I don’t think the alternative is Republican. But I also don’t think that his idiot joke means I can’t make jokes about his idiocy in making the joke.
“Well, I saw his PhD joke as “That’s going to be a problem; she’s clearly smarter than me.””
Um, yeah. That’s pretty much the consensus.
The part you seem to be tripping over is on why that’s ok and how in the hell that’s suppossed to be funny.
(hint: if you reverse the genders and the joke makes no sense, it’s a sexist, dumb, tired, unfunny joke. unless reproductive organs are involved, of course…maybe)
No one here is saying that this should make everyone run out and vote McCain. What we’re saying is that this is more of the same; a white guy whose “off-the-cuff” speaking lapses straight into old sexist tropes (women’s prime function is ornamental, intelligence is a problem, huh huh huh) disguised as “jokes”. Do I think that he thinks he meant well? Sure. Do I think there is a sexist attitude underlying his joke? Absolutely.
There’s a reason “Can’t you take a joke?” is the middle square of my bingo card.
Dems don’t get a free pass on everything because they’re Dems. And this is not a single incident, it’s part of a pattern of behaviour. From the reading I’ve done, Biden is particularly weak on feminist issues, which together with Obama (who is also on the weak side) is not a great combination. And remember ”I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”?
File this all under the banner “Don’t fuck it up.”
*shyly insinuates newbie self into conversation* Well, as an ardent and outspoken feminist (and American citizen), I have to say that I’m not prepared to believe the very worst about Senator Biden’s intentions yesterday. I just can’t help thinking that there’s more than one way to interpret his failed attempt at humor. His wife is an English professor, has a PhD in education, and is probably forever correcting his grammar (please refer to the abundant misuse of the word “literally” in his speech yesterday). I can easily see how that could become a “problem” if your speeches are rife with the kind of language that grates on your English professor wife’s nerves (it would grate on mine, if I were in her shoes, I’m sure of it). I’m not saying that by golly I’ve got the right interpretation and everyone else is getting worked up over nothing, just that his comment was a little vague and, therefore, you can project whatever meaning you wish onto it. I just think it’s unfair to jump to conclusions and condemn the man without further explanation. Does anyone know if he, or a spokesperson, has offered an explanation?
The profiles in today’s paper seem to indicate that Biden is very much of the Open Mouth Insert Foot sort. However, he has a really excellent populist sensibility, has the foreign policy experience, and apparently our mates in Europe like the idea of him as veep.
Irritating, yes…but I get the sense from myself and the other Americans in here that we’re at our wits’ ends when it comes to leadership. Biden was the strongest choice for veep even if he does gaffe like mad, and there’s not going to be any way to change the old boys’ club if McCain gets in.
Then again, this coming from Shakesville, which I’ve been avoiding due to their anti-Obama stance. (Anyone else get the sense that they keep saying ‘HA! This would never have happened with HRC as the nominee?’) Which is a shame, because I do like what else they have to say.
…in retrospect, that was a bit harsh towards Shakesville, but they really have rubbed me the wrong way with their thoughts about the Obama candidacy. Heck no, he’s not a saint, but there are considerably more constructive methods of criticism imo.
I first spotted it on Shakesville, and thus gave the hat tip. The words came right out of Biden’s mouth; Shakesville didn’t make him do it.
Laying it all out:
Critique of the Democrats does not constitute an endorsement of the Republican Party.
“But McCain would be worse” is neither a defence of Biden’s remarks nor a rebuttal of what commenters here are saying.
The Democrats do not get a free pass; they are not immune from critique.
“Dems: It Could Be Worse” is not an optimal campaign slogan.
And I agree, and I don’t want to be an apologist for dumb behavior like this. But American politics has been, in the last five years, one big pile of ‘it could be worse’. When you’ve gone this far down the tubes, there’s a certain despair, I guess–like if you’ve already landed in the mud and you get a little more dirt on your face as you get up.
American politics is, essentially, a choice between following your moral imperative and following the need to pay the bills.
It ain’t right. But what we need to do is tell Biden that it ain’t good with us, and make that point stick, because there is no other game in town.
I just realized I sound really defeatist, but I guess it’s the honest truth.
My apologies if I was being too Amerocentric, as it’s a hard mindset to get out of. As is finishing sentences with prepositions.