Caption This: What’s Going on in this Photo? (Ho)

In either the next “National Treasure” movie or the inevitable reboot, I nominate the aforementioned treasure to be current Vice President Joe Biden.

Aviator-wearing, takes-his-scarf-off-like-a-G, convertible-driving, “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey!” Joe, America’s favorite beer-slingin’ uncle.

Sure, there have been plenty of former Vice Presidents with appeal, notables including sexy environmentalist Al Gore, ghost-of-Christmas-past-lookin’ John C. Calhoun and Dick Cheney, with that undeniable sparkle in his lopsided eyes and the heart of a lion spit from the bowels of hell.

But Joe! Joe’s got that megawatt smile and the can-do attitude that is essential to being a citizen of the United States of America. Joe loves this country, he loves his President and he just wants to share it with all those around him. The rowdy uncle at the barbeque of our country — Bae-den for sure.

Hence this picture, which launched a thousand articles and Tweets. Here, our beloved Vice President has his capable hands placed fondly on the shoulders and his lips millimeters away from the ear of Stephanie Carter, wife of Ashton Carter, during Ash’s swearing-in ceremony as the country’s new defense secretary.

“What Happened to Personal Space?” cries a CNN.com article on the photo. “Joe Biden Needs a Tranquilizer Dart: Stephanie Carter Suffers the Veep’s Paws,” according to TheDailyBeast.com. Ouch.

Now, let’s cut Uncle Joe a little bit of slack here. He’s known for being a hands-on, affectionate guy, as seen with his encounters with Hilary Clinton, the President himself and the biker woman in Ohio from the infamous 2012 photo.  These encounters are usually pretty brief, lasting no more a few seconds but seem to be the span of a lifetime thanks to the immortalizing effect a photo has on a moment.

Joe just wants all those around him to know the effects of that famous American warmth and hospitality, perhaps an attempt to compensate for it being not-so notable in our country’s foreign policies. Thanks for always doing one for America, Joe-Joe.

Though one really can’t help but wonder what he said to Carter during this brief exchange. “Hey how you don’ lil mama lemme whisper in your ear/tell you something that you might like to hear?” Damn, I do hope so. Something tells me Uncle Joe appreciates a good Ying Yang Twins song and a 40 when the moment calls for it.

The gift this particular photo gives is the endless opportunity to ad-lib captions of your choosing. Uncle Joe, reinventing the American pastime one photo at a time! Move over, baseball.

The touch of Joe Biden should be put up there with a personal blessing from the pope himself. Warm, sincere and a whole lot of lovin’ fun, what could possibly scream “America!” more than a 72-year-old man in a position of high power smiling into someone’s ear? I can hear the bald eagle screech faintly in the background when I look at this photo. I salute you, Uncle Joe. You’re welcome to whisper in my ear anytime you want.

 

Shannon Ho is a fourth-year English major. She can be reached at shannoyh@uci.edu.