For all of the ways in which contemporary society claims to have broken free of stereotypes, there’s still one sure-fire way for men to raise eyebrows: cry in public. John Boehner, the new Speaker of the House, is learning that the hard way. On 60 Minutes, the GOP leader tearfully confessed that he can’t bear to go to schools and see bright-eyed children running about, because the thought of those youngsters not finding the American Dream is too much to handle.
On Monday night, Late Show host David Letterman had a field day with Boehner’s emotions:
“I started sobbing and I thought, why am I crying in a double cheese…It was the Valium, so it leads me to believe…I’m not suggesting he’s using drugs,” Letterman said. “I’m suggesting, what I’m suggesting, is there has been, there has been trauma in this man’s life that he has struggled with, and that’s why he’s always sobbing.”
Seeming to justify the concept of men crying, Williams referenced the sadness he felt when Tim Russert died and the World Trade Center
“I’m not suggesting that he’s anything less than masculine, I’m suggesting he needs some sort of counseling,” Letterman said. “This guy can’t get in an elevator, he starts to sob.”
Letterman is one of the nastiest left-wingers around—remember his “jokes” about Sarah Palin looking like a “slutty flight attendant,” laughing about “crazy-looking foreigners entering the U.N.,” and “finally” meeting “one of those Jewish people Mel Gibson’s always talking about”; or about her daughter Willow having sex with Alex Rodriguez? So it’s to be expected that he’d use the waterworks to suggest that Boehner might suffer everything from a substance abuse problem to psychological trauma. It’s good to know that this is the level of class and responsibility CBS’s execs and audiences alike are comfortable with.
There is, however, room for criticism of a less juvenile and vicious sort. While the uncertain future our wasteful domestic agenda is subjecting our children to is certainly a grim prospect, is the mere sight of children at work and play—or even talking about that sight—really as torturous as, say, footage of the 9/11 attacks, or images of what abortion does?
More importantly, John Boehner is the man House Republicans have chosen to lead them in confronting these challenges. Leaders must be able to display fortitude in the face of severe circumstances and crises, to inspire confidence that they’ll overcome them. Classrooms full of cute tykes are among the least disturbing things that will confront the Speaker, yet if even that seems overwhelming to Boehner, onlookers may be forgiven for questioning how well he’d do under real pressure.
The nature and requirements of statesmanship are valuable and necessary subjects for discussion; it’s unfortunate (though not unexpected) that whenever they arises in the media venues that reach the most American households, cretins like David Letterman instead drag them to the lowest common denominator.