When Biden Swears, Why Is It Such A Big Fucking Deal?

Amy Rose Spiegel :: Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 12:55 pm

Joe Biden was probably pretty preoccupied yesterday, what with the passage of the “historic!” health care reform and all (seriously, every news source ever, can’t you think of even one other word besides ‘historic’ to describe Obamacare?  Work on this, please).  So it was pretty understandable when his excitement got the better of him and he accidentally used some dirty language when congratulating President Obama as he signed the bill into law.  As he went to embrace Obama at the end of a celebratory speech, he murmured, “This is a big fucking deal,” and the crowd went, and continues to go, wild. Biden’s “F-bomb,” as news sources I once took seriously are calling it, has led to a media frenzy in which people are eager to wring their hands and cry, “oh, the profanity!”  Here’s the thing that these selfsame people seem to be forgetting, though: Biden is far from the first high-ranking politician to say “fuck” in a semi-public setting, and he’s used the word in an earnest, innocuous way in a moment of happiness, which hasn’t been the case for many others.

Compare Biden’s slip-up to the way our last sitting Vice President, Dick Cheney, used the expletive.  In 2004, at a U.S. Senate portrait session, Cheney dressed down Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy for his criticism of Halliburton and its actions in Iraq, ending the tirade with an invitation to “fuck yourself!”  I don’t even remember reading about that at the time, which is weird when you contrast that amount of media coverage with the current public outrage over Biden’s now-infamous closing line.  Doesn’t it seem strange that one Vice President’s completely inappropriate and truly profane insult (directed at a United States Senator, no less) got less attention than another’s barely-audible, good-natured gaffe?

Another thing that really bothers me about the rabid focus on Biden’s big fucking mistake is that it comes in the context of a week of other politically-charged potty mouths, and those people were beyond vulgar and offensive in what they said.  Tea Partiers are widely understood to have questionable judgement as it stands, but that was no excuse for the actions of some of those among their ranks last Saturday.  These protestors, who were clustered around the Capitol, screamed disgusting, vile slurs at Democratic members of the House.  In addition to spitting on one congressman and calling another a “faggot,” the throng yelled “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis, who was a notable figure of the civil rights movement.

All this puritanical public outrage should be more attuned to these abhorrent, deliberate verbal attacks than to one poorly-chosen adjective used in a passionate moment.  In short, give the Vice President a fucking break, already.

One Response to “When Biden Swears, Why Is It Such A Big Fucking Deal?”
  1. werd…couldn’t agree more. hate the way the media manipulates that kind of shit, and ignores the more objectionable and incendiary rantings of the tea(bag) party. rawk on biden, it’s spring break

    Posted by: yodudebro March 24th, 2010 at 1:07 pm