Bookworm has an interesting piece on Real Men and the Babyish Guys of Hollywood Movies. I agree with her but think that the attitude is far more pervasive and iterative than she realizes. In the comments section I point her to Kim du Toit's essay on the Pussification of the Western Male.
Segueing into other news, I just had an issue with a co-worker. While I think that Sanford should have been smarter, I also contend, that, as a Southern-raised gentleman, his actions also broke Southern social norms. Also, the governor of a state just can't disappear for five days. He's not just a guy. His behavior says he wanted to be caught. The same with Edwards and others that have had what turned out to be affairs that went public.
My example, which apparently put my co-worker's back completely up, was that of the Southern idea of a 'close friend of the family'. This euphemism is dedicated primarily to same-sex partners or hetero lovers. This social convention gives a person the chance to still be a part of society, with their partner, within social limits. This is a difficult concept to explain it is something you either grok or don't.
It is completely open--everyone knows (not cheating) but is not in-your-face which allows people to ignore the behavior if they wish. My co-worker completely lost his marbles at the thought that this could be considered to be a good thing, because it cannot, in his mind, be considered to be a healthy thing. I'm guessing further conversations with this person will not be forthcoming.
Do I excuse Sanford's behavior? No I don't. He cheated on his wife, he possibly used public funds to finance his cheating, he snuck around (and sneaking to another country is especially difficult) and socially he gave his family no way to maintain their illusion, and save face, which is tantamount down South. The logical part of me thinks that there were a lot of other ways to do this without completely destroying himself, his family, and everything he's worked for politically.
The romantic in me, though, hopes that he found someone worth throwing it all away for.
5 weeks ago