Friday, June 12, 2009

Do I have to?

Letterman I'm reluctant to write about this Letterman/Palin brouhaha, because I see it as a no-win situation. Those who found the remarks offensive will still find them offensive; those who thought they were funny will still find them funny. I'm not going to change anyone's mind either way, and that is not my intention. However, you all know that I'm a Letterman fan (we're fellow Ball State alum), and I'm a Palin...not-fan, shall we I can't really pass up the opportunity to write about this little "feud." I've made no secret of my dislike for Palin, so this will undoubtedly be biased. Fair warning has been issued.

I won't do any background, because unless you live under a rock, you know about the jokes he made, and the Palins' response to them. I didn’t think that the jokes were particularly funny. When I heard them, I sort of groaned and gave a horrified chuckle, a sort of, "Oh, Dave, you so baaaaad" kind of thing, a "Did he really say that?" response. The joke was pretty tasteless, but it was designed to shock. Many times, that is the goal, especially with late night shows and comedians.

Palin wink The Palins responded with a statement that said it was tasteless to talk about their 14-year-old daughter that way (getting knocked up). Dave responded with an admission that the jokes were in poor taste, but that many of his jokes are. He became a little more serious when he said that the joke was obviously intended to mean the 18-year-old daughter, and that he would never make jokes about harming or abusing a 14-year-old. That probably should have been the end of it, but the Palins weren't done. Todd issued a statement condemning Letterman for joking about "raping" his daughter, and a Palin spokesperson issued a statement that the Palins would not be appearing on Dave's show, and that it would probably be best to "keep Willow [the 14-year-old] away from him." This morning, Gov. Palin appeared on the Today Show and when asked about that statement--did they really mean to imply that Letterman is a child molester?--she said, "Take it however you want to take it." She went on to say that family should be off-limits, that his comments were degrading to young girls, and equated his attitude with being part of the reason young girls today have low self-esteem.

Here's my take on it. Strictly my opinion. I don't expect everyone else to agree, and as I've already warned you, I'm biased anyway.

  • Dave is a talk show host and a comedian. It was a joke. It was in poor taste, which he admitted, but it was still a joke.
  • It was obviously meant in reference to the 18-year-old, Bristol. You know...the one who got knocked up? Ma and Pa Palin, out here in "mainstream America," we still use that phrase to describe what happens when teenagers, like your eldest daughter, get pregnant out of wedlock. It may be crude, but it's commonly used.
  • Twisting the joke into Dave talking about "raping their daughter" is pretty ridiculous. Implying that Dave is a child molester goes too far, as Dave's joke probably did. However, branding someone as a child molester is a very serious charge. By the way, if they're so concerned about the crime of rape, perhaps Gov. Palin should address the problems in her own state, which has the highest rate of rape in the country, and help the victims rather than charging them for the rape kits used in the investigation of the crime. A wee suggestion.
  • Why isn't anyone defending A Rod for doing the hypothetical rapin'? Just askin'.
  • Mama Grizzly can talk all she wants about family being off-limits, but she was the one who paraded the whole fam damily onstage during the primaries and election, including the then-fiancĂ© of the knocked up Bristol. Levi looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there, holding hands with his preggers GF, in front of the entire country, but you and the campaign wanted him there.
  • I don't think Dave's stupid joke or any attitude behind it is the reason for low self-esteem among young girls. I would place the blame more on a less-than-ideal family life in which girls are not raised to be strong in their sense of self-worth or self-confidence, or on the media which promotes their own almost-unattainable ideal of beauty, or on teen singers who are overly sexualized for their age and make young girls want to look just like them. But that's just me. I don't think you can pin that one on Dave.

You've probably all guessed that I have strong feelings about women's rights. I suppose Limbaugh might call me a Feminazi. I'm far from militant and/or shrill about it, though. I was raised to believe that I could do anything I wanted to do, unimpeded by my gender. I never questioned whether or not I would be allowed to do something because I'm female. I just assumed that I would do it, and that's how I've lived my life. My point is that even feeling as strongly as I do about such things, I didn't find Letterman's jokes to be misogynistic or indicative of a broader attitude of anti-feminism. It's just reading too much into a stupid joke.

This whole mess should have stopped after Dave admitted that the jokes were in poor taste. The Palins chose to escalate it and keep the story afloat. It's good publicity for them, although I think it may have backfired a bit when they implied that Dave was talking about raping their daughter, and then that he shouldn't be around 14-year-old girls. Frankly, it's also good publicity for Dave. In that regard, maybe it's a win for each of them, and an irritant for the rest of us. As always, I remain unimpressed by the Palins in any way, shape, or form, and if I may be so blunt, I would use the phrase "media whores." SSIS!


  1. I would have to agree with the statement that the Palins are the ones keeping this crap afloat for media attention. I am no fan of the Palins.

    But, I also have to think that the jokes were not well thought out to begin with. What I heard was Letterman making comments about Palin and her daughter on a visit to New York. As I understand it the daughter visiting New York was the 14 year old child, not Bristol the 18 year old adult. Letterman should have had his facts straight before he let those jokes fly. I think he didn't make sure he knew who he was joking about and that the Palin's upset could have some justification to it.

    Mama Palin may have paraded the whole family, but to the best of my knowledge, the 14 year old hasn't gone doing stuff to deserve getting dragged into this mess herself.

    My general summation is if it was a mistaken identity kind of screw up Letterman should simply admit he didn't know which girl made the trip and apologize profusely (to the child herself, not Mama). If he meant to make such comments about a 14 year old kid with an appearantly clean nose then he isn't the TV host I thought he was, an I have been a fan of his for years.

  2. There is no telling how a twisted mind works, and therefore, trying to understand how Palinville is reacting is a lost cause. If they would have let it drop after the appology, they may have come across as real people. Instead, they decided to milk it for every ounce they can.

    So, maybe we should just send Sarah into a snowbank (SSIS :o) Had to ask, so had to put it here.

  3. I'm no Palin fan & I haven't seen a Letterman show in many years, & then only a few times at the homes of others. He does seem like a funny guy & I'd probably rather chill with him than sky-shoot animals with Palin(definitely), but I think what it often comes down to is not what was actually said, but what you think of the man(woman) saying it. I have a few friends who like Letterman, watch his show with regularity, & they also happen to hate Howard Stern(I think Stern is funny as hell). My friends haven't made the connection, but I have, because they love to talk against ANYTHING Stern says, but now they are saying Palin's family is railroading Letterman. If someone was "railroading" Stern, they'd not be sending me forwarded emails decrying it, I can assure you, but they have done that with this Letterman thing.

    Letterman is a TV animal, and the publicity isn't harming him. Several people in my office this afternoon said they don't usually watch him but they are going to now to "see what happens." More viewers, hmm, he's not exactly being hurt in this & neither is Palin; they both know that. Free publicity all around.~Mary

    ps Do I think Palin should have let it drop? Yes, but I also think all kinds of pols routinely milk anything they can, she isn't any different.

  4. I have been a viewer of Letterman for some years. His comedy can often be akin to that of Don Rickles, and he sometimes likes to step on a few political digits.

    Dave may need to rein himself in at times. Palin needs to get over herself. Her interview on NBC's Today Show did not help her one iota.

    The publicity over this feud may not the kind either of them really wanted. I hope it plays out quickly, as it is getting very old, very quickly.

  5. First, as a long time Letterman fan, I think he should have known better. It was tasteless no matter who he was referring to (and no one defends A-Rod because NY can't stand him-he's overrated as a player and not a very good person off the field)

    The Palins disgust me. The whole reason this incident has escalated to the level it is at now is because of that asinine addition to the statement responding to Letterman's explanation: "it would be wise to keep Willow away from Letterman." Your teenage daughter is an unwilling participant in this! Try stepping the hell away from the situation and remembering what it's like to be that age. Instead, they pour gas on the fire.

    Indeed, they are publicity whores, and they have no shame. Think she's not running for president in 2012? "Palin 2012: addressing self-esteem issues in Real America!"

    Club me now, please.

  6. I LOVE Letterman. I was shocked to hear the other day that this is the first time in such n such years that he's had the highest ratings in that time slot as I've always found Leno to be... safe. I like Dave because he takes risks and isn't the nice guy all the time. If you come on his show and act like a fucktard, he's going to tell you that you're a fucktard and make jokes at your expense, maybe for years. (remember the Farrah episode?)
    They have to pay for their own rape kits? Seriously? That is beyond fucked up. Hey, you were violated in one of the worst ways a human can be and that sucks but fork over the cash if you want us to prove that shit in court. Of all the places to have the highest rape rate, I wouldn't have thought to be Alaska.
    And I agree that the problem with young girls self esteem and self worth, starts in the home. If dad doesn't value them first and foremost, then the girl is always going to base her value on what men think of her. And then they're going to do anything in their power to feel valued by men, even if that means sleeping with as many as they come across. I have real issues with men who act as if women are below them. I will speak up, even if the crap isn't directed at me. I just will not stand for it. And I'm sure those men think I'm a bitch the second I open my mouth but I'd rather be a bitch who stands up for what I believe in that a weak woman who bites her tongue.

  7. Amen Beth!
    My sentiments exactly.
    I thought the jokes offensive, and if Sarah Wink-wink had issued a statement asking for an apology, and nothing more, then that would be that.
    But she apparently finds it okay to call Letterman a child molester while saying he has no right to talk about her kids.
    Sarah? Honey? You're the only one talking now and I am sooooooo tired of listening.
    Buld a bridge and get the "eff" over it.

  8. Go Beth!

    I'm no Palin fan either and Letterman does what he does best...he tells jokes....he is a Comedian and that's what they do.....however, this last joke was in poor taste and his staff did not do their homework regarding which Palin girl it was that was in NY.

    Hugs, Rose

  9. Three cheers for Letterman! Palin's uproar is akin to her taking John Stewart's political commentary as serious news. Note that my comment doesn't change the fact that Stewart might be one of the most honest political commentators on television ;)

  10. I hate to admit I'm one of the folks who'd been living under a rock. I'd only faintly heard of the whole Letterman vs Palin battle. Thanks for clarifying. I wish Sarah and her family would leave the rest of the civilized world alone. Can you say "white trash?" I'm so beyond sick of their blatant stupidity. Since they can see Russia from their house, perhaps they should consider moving there. Then they'd have another huge country to drive crazy.;-)

  11. I repeat, I can not stand that woman and she will let nothing drop.

  12. Hi Beth,
    That's pretty much how I feel, too: Sarah Palin is speaking out of both sides of her mouth: You can't on the one hand parade your family around in the media and then suddenly ACT outraged and say they're off-limits. On the other hand, Dave's jokes were, indeed, tasteless. I'm glad he apologized for them. Now if we could only get Sarah Palin to apologize for turning her own daughter into a publicity stunt ...


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?