In Defense of Manly Tears

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Dear Reader (even you iron aficionados),

The first time I was on a panel with William F. Buckley, I was nervous because I was on a panel with William F. Buckley. We were talking about male politicians who cry. I believe Bill Clinton had recently gotten weepy about something or other. Buckley took me by surprise and asked something like, “Surely, Jonah, our animadversion should not be aimed wholesale against lachrymosity per se. Wouldn’t you agree?”

I had something of a panic attack because for the life of me I had no idea what lachrymosity meant. But I somehow came up with a reply that didn’t result in Buckley asking, “Who hired this guy?”

Lachrymosity—the tendency to weep or cry – is a tough one for men. We’re not supposed to do it much, if at all. When Don Geiss (Rip Torn) taps Jack Donaghy as his successor in 30 Rock, Jack cries with joy. Geiss tells him “You get one cry in life, you’ve chosen well.”

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