I'm sure everyone who reads this site has heard about the apparent "controversy" surrounding David Letterman and Sarah Palin over the last week and I'm probably the last person in the blogosphere to mention it because I figured that it was merely just another example of faux right-wing outrage that would blow over fairly quickly but it seems that these people have no other arrows in their persecution complex quiver to string so here goes.
Full disclosure right from the outset: I absolutely loved Letterman when I was in junior high and high school. I taped (yes, we used VHS tape to record media back then) his show every night and watched it when I got home from track practice every day. This was back when he was at NBC with Larry "Bud" Melman and Chris Elliot, when he wore Adidas tennis shoes with his suit and when he would routinely wander across the hallway to fuck with Al Roker and the other anchors while they were filming the Live at Five news broadcast.
For those outside the know, here's a recap of the infamous joke:
Letterman, in his monologue Monday night, noted that the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate attended a Yankees game during a trip to New York City, where she was honored by a special needs group. Letterman referred to Palin, Alaska's governor, as having the style of a "slutty flight attendant."Now the apparent controversy was that, apparently unbeknownst to Letterman, the daughter accompanying Palin and her husband to the game that day was not her 18-year-old daughter Bristol (who was knocked up out of wedlock and then attended the Republican National Convention with her son and baby daddy, Levi Johnston, in tow) but rather her 14-year-old daughter Willow.
The "Late Show" host also took a shot Palin's daughter, while poking fun at the Yankees' third baseman.
"One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game," Letterman said, "during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."
So let's now review the joke in question: 1) Any joke made about a Palin offspring being impregnated was obviously about her 18-year-old (legally an adult, I might add) daughter Bristol. This girl is the most popular pregnant, out of wedlock girl in America in several years (and I'm counting Britney Spears' younger sister in this equation). 2) I fail to detect any inference of rape within Letterman's joke. In fact if one peruses the Urban Dictionary, there are 10 definitions of the term "knocked up". And while they are all mostly alike there is absolutely no reference to rape in any of them at all.
Now some people may say, "Well, he made the joke and the 14-year-old daughter was the one in attendance at the game that day so it still constitutes statutory rape." But Letterman offers this rebuttal:
Apologising in front of his TV audience, David said it was a "coarse joke", adding: "I never thought it was (about) anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure, in fact, that she is of legal age, 18."So, we know that he wasn't speaking about the younger Palin daughter and that the prospect of rape was never even brought into question. But I'll now let Dave defend himself and what he said on his show:
One thing I have to disagree with: Sarah Palin's look is not that of a "slutty flight attendant". If anything she's sporting a naughty librarian look, and incidentally one that I much prefer to the slutty flight attendant but I love books much more than I love flying, so there you go. Also, I dig the (once Lisa Loeb, now) Tina Fey glasses.
Now the reason I even bring this whole issue up this late in the game is because of the aforementioned right-wing outrage across the blogosphere, personified by posts like this one from my conservative counterpart Donald Douglas, "David Letterman: Washed-Up Left-Wing Pervert" or this from blogger Bob who I assume found me through Don's site, "David Letterman is a disgusting pig!" Cookie cutter comments like, "Well, if Sean Hannity had said the same thing about Barack Obama's daughters the left would have gone apeshit!" are completely disingenuous.
Yeah, people would have gone apeshit! Because Obama's daughters are 10 and 7 years old! If anyone on any side of the political spectrum had made a joke about either of them being impregnated it would have been horribly and unambiguously apparent that they were making a reference to prepubescent sex. But don't tell that to the just over a dozen protesters outside Letterman's studio the other day:
A protest rally against David Letterman over a failed joke about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughter attracted more members of the media than protesters Tuesday afternoon.But those fifteen people must have at least made some pretty convincing arguments against Letterman to warrant this level of media coverage for this bullshit controversy, right? Oh yes, they certainly did:
A crowd of 15 protesters upset with the late night comic held signs and occasionally shouted as they stood across the street from Letterman's studio.
But they were often hidden from view by the more than 35 members of the media there to cover the protest, and out-shouted by a few very vocal counter-protesters.
Classy. Also, three things: 1) A Rod plays basketball? 2) Letterman's kid is a girl? 3) Admitting that Letterman's kid is indeed not a girl, is he any more of a bastard than Palin's grandchild? I doubt that Sarah Palin would ever refer to her grandson in that manner. But hey, the fact that a child is innocent of any wrongdoing is no reason not to attack him, right? Although I suspect the term "grasping at straws" is a metaphor that people this intelligent would fail to understand. OK, so what's the next outrage du jour, Republicans?