I'd like to think it's the very triviality of it that drives people to insane heights of agitation over unimportant things, whether it's a photograph of yourself you don't like, or it's a White House spokesperson claiming Trump is the biggest he-man Ev-ah.
I happened to be listening to this when he said it. I thought it was silly, Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant immediately came to mind, but as an emotionally well-adjusted person who in no way feels particularly threatened by what Hogan Gidley (who?) thinks of the masculinity of our president, I didn't give it another thought.
But Don Lemon did. Don Lemon is not an emotionally well-adjusted person. He cares very very much what Hogan Gidley thinks of Trump's masculinity.
Keep in mind, Gidley said nothing about Lemon's masculinity. Lemon's name didn't come up. He said this about someone else.
It really wasn't about you, Don Lemon. Not everything is.
Imagine, if it's possible, how fragile an ego you must have to go on a two-minute tirade about what someone else said about someone else.
This is teenage-girl heights of insecurity.
You can tell he stewed about it all day. He could not let this statement stand, a statement that most people would have already forgotten by now but for the fact that Trump has taken up permanent residence in these people's minds where rational thought once resided.
Sit back and marvel as you witness a full-grown man engage in a bizarre, angry, childish rant over it. Listen as his voice rises, his impotence coming into focus as he yells, "Shut up! Shut up!" like a four-year-old.
It wasn't just Don Lemon, though, CNN felt the need to do a separate story on it, an "analysis" disputing the assertion titled, "A brief list of more 'masculine' presidents than Donald Trump."
(Obligatory scare quotes around "masculine" in the original.)
Just a reminder, none of this matters.
And yet they assigned Chris Cillizza, an Editor-at-Large, a medium to heavyweight at CNN land, to tackle the story.
Not only that, but he had staff to help him, Kyle Feldscher a breaking news editor on the political beat.
Let's stop and think about that for a minute.
They put a team on this.
After doing a quick review of Gidley's statement, Cillizza makes it clear that what most people think of as masculine is in fact, not.
Coincidentally, they are all traits that do not immediately come to mind when thinking of Cillizza.
He starts with,
Now, it's worth noting here that Trump has a badly misshapen sense of what being "masculine" actually is. He thinks being a man means being "tough."
Your point being?
His idea of strength and toughness is deeply distorted, twisted and gnarled over many decades of grievance and bravado.
Masculinity is, for Trump, tied up in power and being a tough guy. Or at least acting like a tough guy.
I'm starting to think Cillizza has a real hang up about the word "tough." Maybe he should talk to someone about it.
But even by Trump's own standards of masculinity, when you compare Trump to the men who have held the office of the presidency, I'm not sure he could possibly measure up to some of them. With an assist from CNN's Kyle Feldscher, here's a brief look at some of the more "masculine" men who have served as president.
After having denounced traditional notions of masculinity, he goes on to present evidence that other presidents were more masculine, but not really, because that's that's not what being masculine is.
The whole thing is ridiculous, of course. It was silly for Gidley to say, and demonstrably false (Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech even though he had just been shot in the chest), but the reactions of the deeply insecure, emasculated, status-conscience media elite is just too precious and telling to ignore.
They will dismiss you, they will tell you to go back to your Holiday Inn, play with your guns, and make fun of your toughness, but the reality?
The reality is that somewhere deep inside, they envy you. They want to be you.
And that, that dives them insane.