Syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham has this poll on her site.
It's a harmless enough question, albeit an outdated one. Didn't we get past the point long ago when men's tears were considered a sign of weakness?
The issue: Did Brett Favre embarrass himself by crying in public?
If Ingraham wants to put up such a goofy poll question, that's her prerogative. That's not the problem.
It was her discussion of Brett Favre's tears at his press conference announcing his retirement that was stunningly insensitive. Even the bumper music mocked Favre.
Some quotes from the beginning of Ingraham's March 7 show:
"All these years and I didn't know there was a woman quarterback in the NFL."
"That's a great message for young boys. Get up there and act like a girl."
"At some point I thought the authorities were gonna come take him away."
"It was a non-stop blubber fest."
"Brett Favre wanted to remind all of you that this was a sacrificial moment."
"There's just something unseemly about it."
"I've heard enough crying from men over ridiculous things."
What a compassionate woman!
Ingraham's sidekick Tom also weighed in:
"It was just this self-indulgent 'Me fest.'"
"I think he's embarrassing his teammates. They have to be recoiling... They must be so thankful he's not coming back."
What a sweetheart!
Ingraham doesn't have a problem with women crying in public, but she definitely has a problem with Favre, this man of steel, showing his emotions. Her remarks were cruel and seemed extremely sexist to me.
It was OK with her when Ellen DeGeneres cried on her show over Iggy the puppy.
But a man crying in public? No.
Ingraham mocked Favre for breaking down and crying. She called his press conference a "sob fest." I've never heard anyone say "blubbering" so many times in such a short span.
Byron York, her regular Friday guest, also was merciless. So were most of the callers.
Most female callers said that Favre's behavior was way over the top.
Caller after caller said, "No blubbering" for men.
Ingraham compared Favre's breakdown to Judge Larry Seidlin's tears during the custody hearing for Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, a ridiculous comparison.
She belittled Favre's masculinity.
It was positively sickening the way she talked about Favre's "blubbering."
Ingraham and York can't handle the "man hug," the "man purse," and men's tears.
About Favre's tears, York said, "It was pretty pathetic, wasn't it?"
Barb, a caller from Milwaukee, did her best to defend Favre. Ingraham wouldn't give an inch.
York said, "Favre was a masculine figure. This could be what he's remembered for."
I highly doubt that Favre will be remembered for his press conference.
About an hour into her show, Ingraham acknowledged that she had opened up a "can of worms." She was loving it. Earlier she said, "I'm having fun with this."
She gets her jollies at the expense of others, when they're at their most vulnerable?
That's not a pretty side of Ingraham.
One idiotic male caller said Favre was in his 40s. Yeah, he's obviously a real football fan. Ingraham wasn't bright enough to correct him.
One caller complained about Favre saying it wasn't about the money. They didn't buy that.
One male caller said his first reaction was to laugh. Then he said he got angry, that Favre was so privileged he had no right to fall apart.
A female caller said that when she first heard the unidentified crying clip, she thought it was Bill Clinton and she was waiting to hear what latest offense he was sobbing about.
Ingraham said that she didn't want to hear from any "Cheeseheads" because they couldn't be objective.
She read an e-mail about Favre being a "girlie man" and being pouty when a play didn't go his way.
Ingraham yapped on and on about Favre not bowing out with the grace that Ronald Reagan did. She said Favre was no Lou Gehrig and no John Wayne.
She kept asking what would Reagan do?
She even played Reagan's goodbye address as an example of the right way to leave.
The Constitution prevented Reagan from staying on as president. He had no choice. Reagan's goodbye required no self-evaluation, no measuring of abilities past and present to determine whether to go on. Favre was choosing to walk away, a much more difficult thing.
All of that's beside the point. Brett Favre is his own person. He's not Reagan or Gehrig or Wayne.
The comparisons aren't valid.
By the end of the show, Ingraham was backing off slightly. That probably had something to do with being bombarded with e-mails defending Favre.
You don't have to be a Packer fan or a Brett Favre fan to relate to what he was experiencing as he announced his retirement.
We can all understand what it's like to say goodbye, to come to terms with the fact that good things do come to an end. We aren't immortal. Time moves on. We can't turn back the clock.
I think what bothered me most about her cruelty was that Favre wasn't posturing. It wasn't an act. His emotion was sincere.
I've heard Ingraham cry on the air. Apparently, that's acceptable. No mocking allowed during her very real, human moments.
Bad move, Laura. Very bad move.
Ingraham will be talking about Brett Favre's tears tonight on The O'Reilly Factor.
Ingraham had very little to say about Favre on O'Reilly.
O'Reilly: What is your beef with Brett Favre?
Ingraham: I merely brought up this issue where big, strong men... break down blubbering for 20 minutes.
I mean, the sobs just never stopped... kind of funny.
It's not about Brett Favre. He's a wonderful person.
If it's not about Brett Favre, then why did she go on and on about how Favre acted at his retirement press conference? Why did she play clip after clip of Favre breaking down? Why did she put up a poll on her website about Favre?
It was, indeed, about Favre.
Ingraham is trying to put a very nice spin on what she did on her show, as if people are getting bent out of shape over nothing. She's pretending she wasn't being cruel when she was.
She claims that she was speaking about the larger "cultural phenomenon" of men publicly crying.
Whatever. That doesn't change the fact that she brutally attacked Favre as she examined this "cultural phenomenon."