So far this year, several well-known men have co-opted military service — heretofore respected NBC journalist Bryan Williams, followed by bombast Bill O’Reilly and his Argentine debacle and sadly, even head of Veterans Affairs himself, Robert McDonald, who fibbed about once being in the Special Forces.

Padding their manhood résumés may not seem like much until you consider it more closely. It’s bad enough when civilians lie about combat, even worse when a former serviceman lies about his experience.

It’s not hard to understand how this can happen. Men have historically acquired their self-worth in the eyes of other men by answering the age-old question, “Who’s tough?” They do this in bars and on battlefields, where veterans easily come up the unassailable winners.

It’s important to remember there are two things that stand between our society and tyranny, a free press and a large standing army. Our forefathers knew we’d need the former to keep an eye on the latter, but it seems we now need an army to keep male braggadocio in check.

However, lip service is not the same as military service, and for those tasked with the public’s trust, self-aggrandizement is shameful, not only because of the Daniel Pearls and James Foleys of journalism who actually do die on the job in wars abroad, but because you can’t bum other men’s bravery like a cigarette.

Fortunately, wherever military men and women stand fast, their act transcends whatever politicians and journalists say or do. And while figuratively speaking, one may fight on many fronts — of which journalism is one — with few exceptions, there’s a big difference between us and them.

Most of us know it.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@cmaildrop.com or at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

“You’ve become much more … muchier”

That’s what the Mad Hatter himself would say about the Acadiana Symphony Women’s League sold-out Mad Hatter’s Luncheon at La Marquise. It was an even madder scramble to park in support of the Conservatory of Music and its endeavors, and endeavoring to maneuver among the headgear were sponsor Raffaele’s Kay Outzs in an astounding pink number, Jeanie Domingue, ASO Director Jenny Krueger, Ann Knight, Mary Ann Mirian, Fête fan Genell West, Judy Cole and Susan Theall. Sinatra singer Spencer Racca stole the runway, Laura Meyers looked like a million and Dillard’s Chanel manager Deborah Girouard furnished the party favors — nothing beats a little Sinatra unless it’s a little Chanel. What we loved: Meyers’ magnificent hat and Fina Knezek, mother of new school board member Erick Knezek, who said, “Write something good about my son.”

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

We had no idea this was such a good-looking group. The Lafayette Education Foundation threw a cocktail social for its Rhinestone ReProm court et al at the Elysian Fields home of Iggy and Tia Castille. Wind chill in the 20s didn’t keep this bunch from warming up, and executive director Becky DeJean made everyone welcome the moment they hit the door, including Mary Morrison, prom king Gifford Briggs and queen Kelsey Corrigan. “It’s our signature fundraiser,” said 15-years-on-the-board President Clay Henry. “If you want to relive your prom, we rely on the support of the community.” The non-political, unaffiliated LEF is a spin-off of the Chamber of Commerce and sends the money it raises directly to classrooms to aid those in the trenches. ReProm 2015 will happen at the Hilton in April — you have plenty of time to pick out that prom dress.

Winter Ramble

The Alexandre Mouton House will always be the first stop during any tour of Lafayette landmarks. The “Winter Ramble” was presented by the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation in cooperation with Preservation Alliance of Lafayette, and guests at the Alexandre Mouton House were greeted by Michael Echols, president of Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, and Roxanna Usner, city planner with Preservation Alliance Lafayette. Dr. Michael Martin gave a talk, and museum members served mimosas, sweets and coffee plus a guided tour. Mouton House also premiered Allison and Peter Dehart’s Makemade documentary on Les Vingt Quatre, the legendary ladies credited with saving Lafayette’s own Downton Abbey.