“That’s Dr. Jill Biden to You, Sir. You Got a Problem With That?” according to Vogue. “On Saturday, a professor named Joseph Epstein, who apparently has gotten his knickers in a twist over the fact that Jill Biden uses the title Dr. before her name (and for good measure has @drbiden as her Twitter handle), was given a column in The Wall Street Journal to offer some unsolicited advice to the new first lady: Scrap that honorific.
“In a piece titled, “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.,” Epstein started out by dismissively addressing Biden as “Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo,” and then cut to the heart of his questionable argument: “Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
“The 83-year-old Epstein, who identified himself as an emeritus lecturer of English at Northwestern University, briefly acknowledged that Biden had every right to use Dr. before her name by virtue of the doctorate in education she had obtained at the University of Delaware. But then he added she should not do so. “A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child,” he wrote. “Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.” (Besides her doctorate, Biden also has a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Delaware and master’s degrees from both West Chester State College and Villanova University.)
“Almost within minutes, the column sparked outrage on social media—that demeaning term kiddo, used to address a 69-year-old woman, really set some people off—with critics not only calling Epstein sexist and out of touch but also dredging up some questionable and offensive positions he had taken in the past. ‘BTW this is the same Joseph Epstein who wrote a 11-page manifesto for @Harpers in 1970 explaining why he ‘would wish homosexuality off the face of this earth,‘’ tweeted the journalist Frank Rich. “No wonder he’s at @WSJopinion.”
[For comparison sake I notice that our local conservative blogger George Rebane, who also received a doctoral degree, uses “Dr.” in his bio as well. I guess Rebane and Jill Biden have something in common!]