Saturday, December 11, 2021

Just Stop

Joe Biden was born in late 1942. That means he was 36 years old for a few months in 1978 and most of 1979.

Today on the NPR Show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me," an initial joke about Biden being so old that music wasn't invented yet that year went on too long — long enough for me to get really annoyed.

The set-up was about the news this week that Finland's 36-year-old prime minister was out at a night club until 4:00 a.m., where she couldn't be reached on her cell phone. "You never have to worry about that with Biden," one of the guests quipped. Haha, yes, that's funny, because it's true.

But then there was this line from Peter Sagal: "Music wasn't invented yet when Biden was 36."

Oh, come on, Sagal: You were a young teenager yourself in 1978 and ’79! Music was invented then.*

Yeah, sure, I should lighten up, it's a joke.

Do people like this realize they're repeating politicized, ageist talking points from Fox News? I'm not sure, but they should be. And that whatever aspects of Biden's speech performance that Fox and the Right ascribe to his supposed mental decline is clearly from his stutter, so these ageist comments are built upon a foundation of ableism as well.

I'm no great Biden fan, on account of his whole career as the Senator from MBNA, hanging Anita Hill out to dry in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his role in the 1990s rise in mass incarceration. But c'mon man, as he says. Stop joking about his age, and things that aren't even from his age but you can pretend are.

We've just had four years of such an unspeakable mess in the White House that it wasn't possible to keep up. There's an active coup still underway, with legal and legislative workings pushing in every direction to make sure it's successful next time.

There are more important things to train your comedic talents on. (And this goes for Saturday Night Live's portrayals of Biden, too.)


* Just to be pedantic, here's a list of a few of songs and albums from 1978:

Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! - Devo
"Because the Night" - Patti Smith
Darkness on the Edge of Town
- Bruce Springsteen
Give 'em Enough Rope - The Clash
"Heart of Glass" - Blondie
"I Wanna Be Sedated" - The Ramones
"I Will Survive" - Gloria Gaynor
"Is This Love" - Bob Marley & the Wailers
"Last Dance" - Donna Summer
"One Nation Under a Groove" - Funkadelic
"Roxanne" - The Police
"Sultans of Swing" - Dire Straits
"Take Me to the River" - Talking Heads
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" - Elvis Costello

And that's not mentioning the songs from 1979. Since Biden's birthday is in November, he spent most of 1979 as a 36-year-old. He was only 35 for most of 1978. 

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