Over the weekend, a controversial piece was published in The Wall Street Journal, in which longtime writer Joseph Epstein took surreal umbrage with the fact that Jill Biden, the incoming president’s wife and the future First Lady, uses the academic title of “Dr.” His beef? That she’s not a medical doctor; instead she holds a doctorate in education. Epstein’s plaint was simply incorrect: Anyone who has a doctorate of her level, namely an Ed.D, can be reasonably referred to as a doctor. But there was one person who ran to Epstein’s defense: far right commentator and frequent figure of social media fun Ben Shapiro.
I speak as a "Juris Doctor." No lawyer should be called doctor. It's idiotic. In law school, one of the students had a doctorate in a liberal art. When the professor addressed the student but forgot the honorific, another student piped up, and said, "You should say 'Doctor.'"
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) December 14, 2020
“Only people with Ph.D.’s in hard sciences and medical doctors should be called ‘doctor,’” Shapiro demanded. He then spoke in his full capacity as a former Harvard law student. “I speak as a ‘Juris Doctor.’ No lawyer should be called doctor. It’s idiotic. In law school, one of the students had a doctorate in a liberal art. When the professor addressed the student but forgot the honorific, another student piped up, and said, ‘You should say ‘Doctor.'”
Shapiro later laid out a scenario: “If you’re at a dinner and somebody introduces himself as ‘Dr. Smith,’ you’d be rather upset to learn that he had a doctorate in musicology if you were to suffer a stroke at the table.”
He also elaborated on his show, where he bragged about how he went to Harvard while Jill Biden earned her doctorate at the University of Delaware.
Ben Shapiro throws a tantrum about calling Jill Biden "Doctor": "If you're not impressed by Harvard Law then you certainly should not be impressed by a degree from University of Delaware in education…When I was at Harvard Law, an actual prestigious law school" pic.twitter.com/NkwoVQJuVk
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) December 14, 2020
Shapiro’s pedantic — and often times questionable, to put it mildly — opinions often make him go viral, and not in the way he’d like. This time was no different. Some called him out for his obvious elitism.
Ben Shapiro is having a hissy fit over calling Jill Biden "Dr". After all, she went to the U of Delaware and he went to Harvard. Well la te da Ben! Aren't you just the perfect fucking example of a privileged, white, elite, Republican. Can you bend over and kiss your own ass too?
— Amy Lynn 🍭🌊 (@AmyAThatcher) December 15, 2020
Others pointed out that he’s just plain wrong. What’s more, Shapiro, by his own admission, is only a “Juris Doctor,” and while technically he could refer to himself as “Dr. Ben Shapiro,” that’s not professionally appropriate. (Perhaps the worst thing to come out of all this: You could more accurately refer to him as “Ben Shapiro, Esquire.”)
Dr. Jill Biden earned a doctorate in education and has every right to be called doctor. In fact, anyone with a PhD, DDS, MD, DO, or Ed.D has the right to be called doctor. Ben Shapiro never earned any of those degrees. He may have gone to Harvard Law, but his only title is Clown.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) December 15, 2020
is he fucking dumb? everyone knows people with a DOCTORATE DEGREE are called DR. Ben Shapiro is an idiot pic.twitter.com/Eu34iSlXjU
— sarah (@sclements2020) December 14, 2020
What's actually happening here is that Shapiro is soaking in envy over the fact that he knows—and I know and every attorney knows—that a "juris doctor" is not a doctorate and that a lawyer can never call themselves "Dr." (especially because the SJD exists) https://t.co/y4KZgwFQrw
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) December 14, 2020
Some who’ve studied Shapiro’s antics far too closely even pointed out one of his typical argumentative strategies.
Ben Shapiro's entire brand is inventing situations that have never happened and then getting mad about them. pic.twitter.com/ZNA5KkYwNR
— Joe Kassabian (@jkass99) December 14, 2020
Some pointed to his sly sexism.
Notice that on top of everything else, Ben Shapiro assumes that Dr. Smith is a he. pic.twitter.com/gxKGORqpgk
— JRehling (@JRehling) December 15, 2020
Others were simply disgusted at the idea of going to a dinner with Shapiro in attendance.
No one would go to dinner with Ben Shapiro, don’t be fooled. pic.twitter.com/TYBIsEbHHl
— Mystery Solvent (@MysterySolvent) December 14, 2020
As a victim of an actual stroke, I would def rather be dining with Dr. Music than Ben Shapiro. pic.twitter.com/z7iXqamcmI
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) December 15, 2020
I would fake a stroke just to get out of dinner with Ben Shapiro. https://t.co/TDpPRxCxOR
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) December 14, 2020
Who was the musicologist who went to a dinner with Ben Shapiro? How upset were you when he introduced himself as "Ben Shapiro"? pic.twitter.com/CvDP693osZ
— Patrick Allies (@PatrickAllies) December 14, 2020
I hope to one day fail to save Ben Shapiro's life because I'm a doctor of musicology pic.twitter.com/2tOgA42CYB
— No. 1 SHAWARMA LOVER™ (@GarbageSquirrel) December 14, 2020
Others mocked his voice, which always sounds like he’s on the 1.5x speed you see on places like Audible.
Why haven’t Alvin & The Chipmunks sued Ben Shapiro for trademark infringement?
— Hoodlum 🇺🇸 (@NotHoodlum) December 14, 2020
Some dug up one of his ugliest tweets, to remind people what they’re dealing with.
Every time Ben Shapiro trends on this bad place, I check to see if he's deleted this…he still hasn't. https://t.co/ZjCK91TRnh
— Hank Green (@hankgreen) December 15, 2020
Some wondered how Shapiro has achieved such a lofty position in conservative circles when he lacks the charm of even a Rush Limbaugh.
I can picture who listens to Rush Limbaugh. I have a hard time picturing who listens to Ben Shapiro.
— Schooley (@Rschooley) December 14, 2020
And some imagined a utopia where we never learned what Ben Shapiro thought about anything.