In his column today Rich Lowry memorably recounts his internal struggle over Al Franken’s challenge to a fistfight: “Al Franken’s lying lies.” Lowry writes: “I was amused and tempted by his offer, and talked seriously to people about taking it up on grounds that it was an open invitation to bruise an obnoxious twerp. This represented a rare and lucky opportunity — Howard Dean, for instance, will probably never ask me to punch him.
“And it would have been a decidedly low-risk encounter. Franken stipulated during his challenge that he was nearly 50 years old and suffered from chronic back pain — a kind of plea for mercy before we even got started. If you would have to pick the male ‘type’ represented by Franken, you would put him in the ‘Richard Simmons category.’ The short, bespectacled, curly-haired actor’s film career consists of playing a lisping character named Stuart Smalley. John Wayne he is not.
“But after a day of thought, I chose to turn him down. Doing physical violence to someone for no good reason except his insipidness wouldn’t just be wrong; if it were established as a general principle, it would have led to someone pummeling Al Franken most days of the week. Besides, true masculinity depends on controlling your impulses and walking away from unnecessary fights, no matter how tempting.”
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