Friday, June 12, 2009

David Letterman Has Lost It

Jay Leno passed the torch of The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien. Letterman is finally, decisively beating out The Tonight Show. He just signed an extension of his contract with CBS.

So how does he celebrate?

With incredibly outrageous attacks on Governor Sarah Palin and her daughter Tuesday night.

Late night comedians specialize in humor, including political humor. Good taste is not their forte.

Yet, Letterman’s “jokes” were as despicable as Don Imus’ comments about the “Nappy-haired” female basketball players at Rutgers. Had Letterman stated that Alex Rodriquez had knocked up Hillary Clinton’s daughter, he would have been off the air as quickly as Imus.

He commented on the Governor’s trip to New York, stating that “The hardest part of her trip was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter.”

He didn’t stop with the former governor of New York. He also “joked”: “There was one awkward moment during the 7th inning stretch; her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriquez.”

Letterman claims he was thinking of Palin’s now 18 year old daughter, Bristol, who gave birth last year as a single mom. However, Bristol was back in Alaska. The Governor was accompanied by her 14 year old daughter, Willow. Hence, Letterman’s tasteless remark could reasonably be construed as advocating statutory rape of a 14 year old.

Whether Bristol or Willow is not the issue; these are not bad taste jokes. They are sick and perverted. They should not be said “in humor” about anyone’s daughter. That David Letterman would even think such a thought, much less say it, shows he has lost his touch

They are also highly offensive to Alex Rodriquez and Eliot Spitzer, who many New Yorkers would like to see back as Governor. Whatever may be said about the sexual proclivities of Alex and Eliot, robbing the cradle, much less statutory rape, has not been one of their vices.

Then came a statement about the Governor herself.

The number 2 answer to Dave’s Top Ten List of Sarah Palin’s Trip to New York is sick political humor. It was “She bought makeup at Bloomingdale’s to update her slutty flight attendant look.” Overlooked in the controversy is the gratuitous sexist libel of flight attendants.

Isn’t this the same Governor Palin who received criticism during the campaign for $150,000 in clothes and makeup from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus?

Sarah Palin though is fair game. As the VP candidate, and thus a highly visible public figure, she must take whatever verbal abuse is hurled at her short of outright lies.

The line has traditionally been drawn on the candidate’s family, especially their children. For example, the problems of Al Gore’s son appropriately appeared in a few column inches on an inside page.

Letterman’s comments raise the issue of a double standard in the media between criticizing conservatives versus liberals. Democrats viciously attack conservative women and minorities, such as Governor Palin, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Miguel Estrada, but then assert that any criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor would be racist and sexist. Democratic Congressman’s Patrick Kennedy’s drunk driving into the Capitol received little press compared to Republican Congressman Vito Fosella’s DWI.

Making fun of a teenager’s pregnancy is disgusting. Over 1/3 of the births in America are to single moms. Indeed, in 2005 36.8% (over 1,500,000) of all births were to single moms. OctoMon just gave us 8. The teen birth rate for non-Hispanic blacks was 60.9/1,000 women, for non-Hispanic whites 26/1,000, and for Hispanics 81.5/1,000.

Compassion, not sexism, is called for in these situations.

My parents were married, but split before my birth. I thereby grew up the son of a single mom. My sympathy goes to the mother and child in every such situation.

Several years ago a single mom was my research assistant for two years. She was one of the best research assistants I ever had. She had the child as a young teenager, but went to high school, college and law school on a straight line. She is now a highly successful lawyer. God bless her!

Letterman had a legitimate grievance with Senator McCain during the election since McCain stiffed Letterman’s show. That I understand, but take it out on the Senator – not on his running mate’s daughter.

Letterman quasi/ sorta non-apologized apologized Thursday night saying that his remarks were jokes, that he often does tasteless jokes, was guilty of poor taste, and invited the Governor on his show. The Palins’ refused his offer.

He also, of course, repeated the jokes to the audience.

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