Thursday, June 11, 2009

Honey, I Love You, But...

Letterman sort of apologizes about Palin wisecrack - Yahoo! News

If you hadn't noticed, we're pretty big fans of Sarah Palin around here. Hot, conservative... What's not to like.

We're also pretty big fans of David Letterman. At least, we were once upon a time. We don't watch him much anymore. No particular reason other than that the show (and Dave) seems a little tired sometimes.

Anyway, the current brou-ha-ha (sp?) between Dave and Sarah... Long story short... Dave made a couple of jokes about Sarah and one of her daughters. The one about Sarah involved the words "slutty" and "flight attendant." The one about her daughter talked about getting "knocked up" by Alex Rodriguez.

Not sure why I did that recap since you were probably already well aware of the whole thing. Anyhoo... Dave's joke didn't specifically mention the daughter in question's name. Obviously the context refers to 18 year old Bristol, the one who was pregnant. The problem, of course, is that it was 14 year old Willow who actually accompanied mom on the trip.

Last night Dave kind-of-sort-of apologized. It would be more accurate to say he explained. He admitted that sometimes his jokes aren't that funny, sometimes they are in poor taste... The whole thing was self-deprecatory. He said, however, that clearly the joke was referring to Bristol who, given her age, is fair game and not to Willow who, given her age, is clearly not.

Why do I keep with the recaps? Geez... Again, anyhoo... I watched it and I take Dave at his word. To be honest, I think any reasonable person hearing the joke would understand that it was a reference to Bristol. We can disagree about whether it was very funny (I don't think it was and, for that matter, Dave doesn't seem to think so either). We can argue about whether Dave is partisan (he is). We can argue about whether even an 18 year old should be fair game. What I don't think we can realistically suggest, however, that Dave is some sort of pervert.

Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what Sarah Palin and her entourage are trying to do. Quoting from her spokeswoman (in response to Dave's invitation, probably joking, for Palin to appear on his program):

"The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman."

Or, for that matter, from Todd Palin:

"Any 'jokes' about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too."

Or from the governor herself:

"Concerning Letterman's comments about my young daughter (and I doubt he'd ever dare make such comments about anyone else's daughter): 'Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl are not only disgusting, but they remind us Hollywood has a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands - that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.'"

By playing up Dave's age and Willow's she is making the point that Dave is a dirty, perverted old man. Now, I have a daughter and I wouldn't like anyone making a sexual joke about her whether she is 14 or 41. Like the Palins, I'm going to be very sensitive to that. However, if you are a public figure I think you have to recognize and accept that your adult children are going to be fair game to some extent. It isn't nice, it probably isn't fair, but it's real.

To sum up what has turned into a dramatically longer post than it probably should be... I think Sarah, Todd and her people are deliberately misinterpreting what Letterman said. He has explained himself and she needs to move on.

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