I have to make a confession at the beginning of this blog. Sometimes, in the privacy of my own home, I do baby talk to my cat. I say “we got a big slepper over here!!!” to my girlfriend when the cat is, in fact, asleep on the couch. When he is curled up on the bed, sometimes I say “wow. So smol.” But then he stretches out and I have to say “Babe, look at this frickin’ long boy.” “Is that a big longo???” she often asks. “Big longo!!!!” I scream. I have even watched a few of those treacly TikToks where someone whispers “Small boy. Baby. Does not know anything,” at their pet, but honestly that feels like a bit much after the first one.
None of this happens in public because the strange combination of normal pet infantilizing and internet memes that gave rise to “heckin doggo pupperiono aroo” speak is incredibly fucking annoying. Consider this, from a non-official fan account for Champ and Major, the Biden’s two rescue dogs, after Biden injured his ankle playing with one of them:
I’ve been staring at this for two days trying to decide exactly why I hate it so much. What galls me, I think, is that this is an extension of political stan culture. It’s easy to feel personally attached to a person you invest a lot of hope or promise in: I’ll be the first one to admit that watching a NowThis compilation of AOC doing sick dunks in House committee meetings just hits different sometimes. With some exceptions, I think AOC’s politics are extremely similar to mine, and it’s thrilling to see my views represented in Congress by someone who is clearly smart and capable. But I don’t know AOC. AOC is not my friend. I’m interested in her life insofar as it affects the policies she promotes from her seat, but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to obsess over what kind of dog she has (it’s a pug or something I think).
Americans, in general, seem uniquely susceptible to this kind of political hero-worship. It happens across the spectrum in extremely strange ways, which is how you get weird subsections of conservative troll twitter stanning for “based Mitch McConnell,” and American leftists doing fancams for Bolivia’s Evo Morales . Whatever. People should be able to like what they like and take joy from what they can (unless it’s Mitch McConnell, then you can fuck off), but stanning any politician, particularly an American one as politically lackluster as Joe Biden, is never going to be a good look. His dogs are fine.
Here are the dogs, if you need a reference:
I am glad the White House will have pets in it again, because the best thing I can say about Joe Biden is that he does appear to have normal human traits like “an attachment to his children” and “enjoys animals.” I also hope that the Bidens get a cat because I like cats.
But if it were up to me, the White House would have a system similar to 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the U.K.’s Prime Minister, and of Larry, a rescue cat whose official title is Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. Larry was originally adopted by the David Cameron administration in 2011, but was officially declared a civil servant in 2016 and has retained his title and post throughout three different PMs. His upkeep is paid for by the Downing Street staff, not by any partisan administration. Larry is a cat of the people, and we have no choice but to stan.