Joke of the Day (Manly Version)

The Washington Post, in perhaps the funniest framing of an election in the history of journalism, presents an analysis of the Trump-Biden presidential race as a clash of two visions of masculinity. I know, I know, and I apologize if you happened to read that sentence with your mouth full.

First, in full (and admittedly fair) mockery mode, the Post, a global communist front rag, quotes congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida (a simpering butt-kisser for Trump) saying on Twitter (where all the manly men wage their rhetorical battles, of course) that “President Trump won’t have to recover from COVID. COVID will have to recover from President Trump.” No, fanboy, America will have to recover from President Trump — and will inevitably fail to do so, thanks in large measure to power-mongering cowards like you. As for Gaetz’s absurd image of Trump beating the virus to its knees, it is wrong on every level, not the least of which is that it perpetuates the media-fed illusion that COVID-19 is bubonic plague. COVID is not a dangerous monster that only a “perfect physical specimen” like Trump can defeat. It is a moderately serious flu-like virus from which most otherwise decently healthy infected individuals will easily recover, with little effect.

So yes, as the Post suggests, Trump and his supporters are silly. But what does the Washington Post present as its obviously preferred alternative to Trump’s brand of phony silver-spoon reality TV “masculinity”?


The back-and-forth between Trump and Biden has long resembled a testosterone-filled, mano-a-mano bluster between the high school jocks they used to be. They evoke different brands of manliness — an old-fashioned machismo for Trump, a manly but caring boy-next-door for Biden.

Trump and Biden — “testosterone-filled”? “Mano-a-mano bluster”? And as for Biden, how’s this for a circular definition of “manliness”: “a manly but caring boy-next-door”?

From the Dictionary of Babel:

“Manly” (adj.): (1) manly but caring.

What? How can a word be defined, let alone embodied, as that word itself with an extenuating or mitigating condition — “but caring”? (Imagine defining “greedy” as “exhibiting greed, but also liking to share.”)

Furthermore, how can “boy next door” — the Post’s hyphens are unnecessary, as they are employing the cliché here as a noun phrase, not as an adjective (e.g., “he exhibited boy-next-door charm”) — be included as part of a rational definition of “manly.” 

From the Dictionary of Babel:

“Manly:” (adj.): (2) boyish.

At any rate, the Washington Post’s editorial desk incompetence and reporter illiteracy notwithstanding, allow me to address the core of the discussion, briefly and to the point: The idea that Donald Trump and Joe Biden — a lifelong insecure blowhard and shoeshine boy for profit, and a lifelong government parasite and schmoozer — represent alternative views of manliness, manhood, or any other word with “man” in it (“maniac” excepted), is my offering for Joke of the Day.

Donald Trump sells “old-fashioned machismo” on television, but sells it so pitifully that only an age bereft of genuine art and serious acting could possibly mistake his paltry sweat act for anything but a ridiculous mockery of the real thing. 

Joe Biden, meanwhile, is apparently the oldest “boy next door” in human history. The only thing boyish about Biden is his awkward, bumbling lack of knowledge and self-awareness, and his immature willingness to do or say absolutely anything, however contradictory and stupid, to impress girls.

From the Daren Jonescu Dictionary of Progressive-Era English:

“Caring” (adj.): How boys and immature men wish to be perceived when they are trying to score points with chicks in the age of feminism.

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