At the risk of treading on Harvey Mansfield’s turf, the story about 51-year-old comedian Dan Nainan punching out the Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin is a pretty depressing indictment of manliness on all fronts.
You can read the particulars if you want but the short version is this: Rogin was at the DC Improv sitting in the back while Nainan was performing. Rogin tweeted a bunch of insults about Nainan. After his set, Nainan immediately checked his Twitter feed.
Nainan then went and found Rogin, decked him, and walked away. Rogin sat there. Thinking better of it, Nainan went back and took another swing or two (reports suggest he took two more swings, one of which connected) and was then removed from the premises.
Rogin, did not retaliate, but immediately tweeted about the incident. He then pressed charges when the po-po arrived. The next morning, Rogin told the Washington Post, “My face hurts.”
Really? This is how men conduct themselves in 21st century America?
* On the one hand, if you sit around insulting a guy standing 30 or so feet from you, do you not expect a reaction? Rogin’s taunts probably don’t rise to “fighting words” but it says something really weird when people are so wedded to virtual space and divorced from meat space that they think spouting off insults about people near them is polite, acceptable behavior that will be universally accepted with bon homie.
* On the other hand, what sort of guy finishes a piece of work and immediately rushes to see what people are saying about him on Twitter?
* And what sort of guy gets so cheesed off by Twitter that he gets his Irish up?
* But on the third hand, what sort of guy gets punched by a 51-year-old, sits there, and then instead of defending himself, tweets about it? I can understand Rogin not going Chuck Liddell on Nainan. Maybe he was in shock. Maybe it didn’t register. Not everyone’s first instinct on getting cocked is to cowboy up. But tweeting about it?
* Finally, let’s stipulate, for the litigious among us, that violence is never the answer and that, when another man punches you in the face, it’s more honorable and civilized to call Judge Wopner, rather than punch him back. (I don’t think this is necessarily true, but let’s stipulate to it anyway.)
In that case, wouldn’t it be better form just to take the punch and suck it up rather than complaining to the media about how much your face hurts? Who admits that?
I don’t know either of these fellows and I’m happy to assume that they’re both solid guys who just got caught on a bad day. It happens.
But I do worry that in certain circles of American life people have lost sight of the fact that the real world is real.