On the first track of her 1993 debut album “Exile in Guyville,” “6’1″,” indie rocker Liz Phair used inflating her height as a metaphor for strength as she dismissed the kind of Y-chromosome-bearer we’d refer to these days as “toxically masculine.”
“And I kept standing 6-feet-1 / instead of 5-feet-2,” Phair sings in the chorus. “And I loved my life / and I hated you.”
Phair is actually 5-foot-2; this shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s seen her live or is familiar with the themes of the album, which deals with the romantic and sexual chicaneries of the supposedly enlightened men in the alternative rock scene. No one who’s heard it — which is basically every over 35 who still listens to college radio or donates to NPR — would feel weird if they were under the impression Phair was some sort of Amazonian and was actually of below-average height.
I don’t find myself thinking about Liz Phair’s height all that often. In fact, I wouldn’t have thought about it at all if the song didn’t come up on my Spotify playlist of the 2,000-odd tracks I wouldn’t mind randomly listening to while I’m at my computer. Given what I was reading at the time, it was a moment of unbelievable synchronicity.
The Venn diagram of those over-35 college radio listeners and Joe Biden voters is two circles that overlap so completely it’s basically like a solar eclipse. I’m in that diagram, albeit in the barely visible part of the sun that makes those eclipse-glasses necessary; while I love “Exile in Guyville” and still listen to college radio (if not NPR — God made Unisom for a reason and part of it is so that I never have to hear Ira Glass’ voice) the only way I’m voting Democrat is if, for some reason, I end up dying while I’m registered in Liz Phair’s hometown of Chicago.
However, we’d all find it kind of weird if Joe Biden wanted to convince us all he was 6-foot-1 when he actually wasn’t. Which is what he’s doing, by the way.
As the Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday — in the article I was reading when Phair’s ode to gaining 11 inches in order to tell a guy off came up on my playlist — Biden was playing fast and loose with his height during a podcast interview published the day before the debate.
“Unlocking Us” is hosted by Brené Brown, probably best known for her TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability.” A professor at the University of Houston, Brown is also a social media star; her podcast has a partnership with Spotify that ended up with her picking tracks for a playlist dedicated to “yacht rock,” and she also gets over 230,000 likes for posting Deep Thoughts™ like this on Instagram.
Take away addiction and I get the same set of feelings listening to yacht rock — so thanks, Brené.
Anyhow, the takeaway from Biden’s appearance on the podcast was that same man who began the year trying to convince us all that he was a tough guy willing to tell voters who confronted him that they were “lying, dog-faced pony soldiers” and begin responses with “look, fat” is now just a fount of empathy and togetherness.
“The only way this democracy can function is with consensus. And I spent my whole career figuring out how to bring people together, not separate them, because otherwise, you end up in a circumstance where it all yields to executive power and to abusive power,” Biden said during the appearance, according to The Hill.
This was a podcast, so there’s no way to tell whether he uttered those words with a straight face or whether he had to bite his lip in order to prevent himself from laughing.
My thoughts on power and leadership, and a conversation on empathy, unity, and courage with Vice President @JoeBiden, the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee. https://t.co/83sfK9okx0 pic.twitter.com/cYwiUR0OI9
— Brené Brown (@BreneBrown) October 21, 2020
There were two things I’d like to note beyond that. First, toward the end of the interview, Biden said that bullies were “incredibly insecure.” I have no idea who he might be talking about; perhaps he was engaging in a bit of self-excoriation for when he said, during the 2016 election, that if he and Donald Trump were “in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”
Perhaps it was him, since the second thing I’d like to note is Biden’s height. Or rather, his estimation of it.
“Everybody talks about bullies. You know, well, I’m used to bullies, when you’re a kid who stutters,” Biden said, according to the Free Beacon.
“I’m now, you know, I’m 6-foot-1, I’m 176 pounds, but when I was a kid … I was the runt of the litter.”
Much like the songstress behind “Exile in Guyville,” however, it turns out Biden’s height is merely aspirational.
“In December 2019, Biden’s campaign released the results of the former VP’s physical exam. According to the medical experts who conducted the exam, Biden stands just 5 feet, 11.65 inches tall,” Andrew Stiles wrote for the Free Beacon.
And it’s not just Biden who overestimated his height during the 2020 campaign.
“Lying about one’s height is a common practice among Democratic presidential candidates. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, for example, is notorious for making false claims about his egregiously diminutive stature. Bloomberg has often claimed (outrageously) to be 5’10, which would make him almost as tall as Biden,” Stiles wrote.
Bernie Sanders and most of the other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls cried foul when the Democratic National Committee changed the rules and allowed Michael Bloomberg onto the debate stage, but the setup proved to be a boon for Sanders. #TWTFrontPagehttps://t.co/WxOl8VyIzR
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) February 21, 2020
Elizabeth Warren is 5-foot-8, according to AL.com. There’s no official number for Bloomberg’s height, but if Warren were some sort of yardstick to determine who was tall enough to go on a roller coaster, Bloomberg would be stuck riding the slow Tilt-A-Whirl.
Now, this isn’t an entirely liberal phenomenon:
Found out that Ben Shapiro lied and said he’s 5’9 when he’s most likely closer to 5’6 you can’t argue with facts pic.twitter.com/FqbIhZWR9E
— Gauri (@GAUREHHH) June 30, 2020
However, are we going to assume he forgot his height just because he forgets so many other things? Wouldn’t the more likely answer be that there’s some sort of psychological barrier about being under 6 feet — or perhaps that Trump is 6-foot-3?
Don’t think this is a story? Lest we forget, Trump’s report of his height and weight get vigorously mocked and outlets like The Washington Post believe it makes him less credible.
Dr. Ronny Jackson says Donald Trump is 6’3 and weighs 239 lbs.
Carolina Panthers LB Luke Keuchely is 6’3 and weighs 238 lbs.
I’ll let you be the judge. pic.twitter.com/ZIPN2gKgpQ
— Glenn-Simon Pardot (@WheresMyArk_23) January 16, 2018
Mike Trout is 6’2” & 235 pounds
Donald Trump is 6’3” & 239 pounds pic.twitter.com/pgdDfFMCQD
— DJC Sports Media (@DanClarkSports) January 17, 2018
It’s not just the tit-for-tat-ness of this whole thing that matters, though.
Joe Biden would fit in great on a dating app since all the men on there lie about being 6 foot tall too https://t.co/dCV6ZPwzDT
— Abigail Marone 🇺🇸 (@abigailmarone) October 21, 2020
Biden’s height issues are exactly the kind of witless woke masculinity that was being attacked on “Exile in Guyville” 27 years ago, long before we would talk about people being woke or toxically masculine.
For whatever you may think about his height and weight sensitivities, Donald Trump doesn’t care about wokeness or being perceived as sensitive. The same can’t be said for his opponent.
Joe Biden is the kind of guy who says he was bullied growing up and that bullies are “incredibly insecure.” He’s also the guy who said he’d beat Donald Trump up and who tells voters things like “look, fat, here’s the deal.” (Biden’s campaign would later claim the candidate actually said “look, facts, here’s the deal” — although he’d also called the voter “sedentary” and a “damn liar,” and the word “facts” didn’t work in context.)
He’s totally secure — so secure he’ll lie about his height.
In short, Joe Biden calling himself 6-foot-1 makes him exactly the kind of self-delusional man Liz Phair said she was 6-foot-1 in order to tell off. I’m sure Phair isn’t a MAGA hat-wearer, either, but in the left’s year of the reckoning, I’m kind of shocked this passed without much discussion.
Whatever the case, Biden should be careful. I’ve been reliably informed by a podcaster that if he trades in his authenticity for being liked, he may experience anxiety, depression, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief. Doesn’t sound like the kind of qualities one would want in a president.
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