On page 194 of The Final Days, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein state the following:
“On occasion [Henry Kissinger] expressed enthusiasm at the size of the bomb craters that American B-52s left in North Vietnam, and he once bragged to Elliot Richardson that they would ‘reduce Le Duc Tho to tears.’ When Anthony Lake, his executive assistant, questioned the bombing policies, Kissinger ridiculed him. In a long discussion that grew heated, Kissinger said that Lake’s approach to the war was ‘not manly enough.’ Lake was so upset by the conversation that he went into a hallway in the West Wing and pounded the vending machines with his fists. [Alexander] Haig talked him out of quitting on that occasion and on one other, but Lake did soon resign.”
I myself can be rather sensitive, so I can identify with Lake’s reaction to Kissinger’s insult. At the same time, the way that I would like to envision myself responding to Kissinger’s insult is by saying, “Well, maybe my approach to the war is not ‘manly enough,’ but it’s more reasonable than your approach to the war, for the following reasons.”
But, come to think of it, I really don’t take a great deal of offense when my machismo is questioned. I guess it’s because I never could be a “man’s man,” since I was never good at sports, and so I didn’t bother to try. Plus, in this day and age, there are many who question whether the machismo way of doing things is necessarily the best.
But, when my intelligence is questioned, I take great offense.