Ok, so David Letterman may have crossed a line with his recent jokes regarding Sarah Palin and her daughter, with some people even calling for his termination from CBS.
I thought the jokes specifically about Governor Palin were pretty funny- and not the slightest bit out of line- though perhaps slightly off-color.
I did, however, cringe at his quip about Palin’s daughter.
The Governor had taken her 14 year old daughter to a Yankees game while recently visiting New York. Letterman joked on his show that during the Seventh Inning Stretch, Willow, the daughter, got “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez.
Disgusting, for sure.
I’m not here to condone Letterman’s comments. Personally, I feel that for the most part, children of politicians should be off limits for all of us- late night comedians included. I do make an exception for people such as Megan McCain (John McCain’s daughter) and Bristol Palin (Sarah Palin’s oldest daughter) because A) they are not minors and B) they have chosen a life in the public eye- Megan as a popular blogger, Bristol as a public advocate for abstinence.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the double standard here.
Can you imagine, for example, had Conan O’Brien quipped, during Michelle Obama’s recent trip to London with her daughters, that Sasha (or Malia- pick a kid), had been knocked up by Hugh Grant?
Or worse, Boy George?
I realize that politically incorrect, often distasteful humor, is par for the course in late night comedic television… but sometimes, as we all know, lines do get crossed, and feelings get hurt.
Unfortunately, and it pains me to say this- as I am a Letterman fan- his so-called apology on the matter was grossly inadequate. Letterman claims that his joke regarding Palin’s daughter was actually geared towards Bristol Palin, but I’m not buying it. Everyone knows Bristol was not the one who accompanied her mother to the Yankees game, and surely, considering all of Letterman’s staff, if not the big man himself, someone would have picked up on this fact.
This, at best, was a terrible gaffe on the part of his research department. At worst, he knew exactly what he was saying and who he was saying it about.
Regardless, it was a completely inappropriate thing to say.
What enrages me, however, even more than Letterman’s false and disengenuous apology, is certain Republican politicians’ reactions to his comments.
John McCain, for example, when asked his opinion by news source Reuters, stated, “I don’t understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman… They deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts.”
Funny, considering McCain’s own comments about then-President Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, on the Letterman show back in 1998:
Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.
It makes one wonder… are John McCain and friends truly against the idea of people attacking the children of politicians… or does it only become a no-no when said politician is a fellow conservative?
Letterman was wrong for saying the things he said about Willow Palin, and that family deserves a genuine apology.
… But as we all know, peoplewho live in glass houses should not throw stones.
Willow Palin deserves our outrage on her behalf. Unfortunately, when it comes from such sources as John McCain, the anger appears phony, crafted, politically motivated and most of all, horribly hypocritical.
Pedophilia, rape and teenage sex are not humorous topics- regardless of who is making the joke, or who the joke is about.
It is, after all, a national epidemic, as Sarah Palin and family know first hand.
Perhaps, instead of duking it out over which public figures’ children are and aren’t off limits, our time would be better spent advocating on behalf of the children who find themselves the butt of these most reprehensible jokes.