Throwback Thursday: Ronald Reagan’s Hot Mic “Joke” Outlawing Russia (1984)

You’re just in time for another installment of Throwback Thursday — a popular meme re-imagined.

Today’s Throwback Thursday: Ronald Reagan’s Hot Mic “Joke” Outlawing Russia (1984)

With the Cold War still in force, on August 11, 1984, President Ronald Reagan and crew were in the middle of a sound check for his regular weekly radio address. Never one to miss an opportunity to amuse an audience with a simultaneously beguiling yet menacing quip during said sound check, Regan smoothly announced into the live microphone:

My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

The  clip was leaked and it caused quite a stir everywhere. Oops! Here it is for your listening pleasure:

To make matters even worse, the “joke” was a play on words of the opening line of that day’s speech:

My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you that today I signed legislation that will allow student religious groups to begin enjoying a right they’ve too long been denied — the freedom to meet in public high schools during nonschool hours, just as other student groups are allowed to do. (Source)

Ronald Reagan delivering one of his weekly radio addresses.

The “Hot Mic” — Insightful Glimpses From Off-the-Cuff Remarks

These days we talk more about hot messes instead of hot mics — or “microphone gaffes” as they are more formally known. Letting out unguarded comments while wearing a “live” microphone may be the bane of the existence for many a politician or public figure. Just ask Secretary of State John Kerry,  President Obama or The Prince of Wales to name a few recent victims of hot mic syndrome.

Imagine how widespread a meme President Reagan would have had on his hands had social networks existed back then.Increasingly, we “average folk” are subject to a similar scrutiny online. Almost 75% of all people in the United States who have Internet access use some form of social networking. That’s according to the ongoing Pew Internet Project.  Imagine all of the unfortunate selflies, candid photos and who knows what else have ended up on social networks since.

Previous Installments of #TBT Re-Imagined

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