OK, Republicans, enough. Drop the Palin-Letterman “feud” already. There’s nothing to feud about.
In case you missed it, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin stirred up some controversy (in a likely attempt to stay in the public eye) last week by calling out Letterman over a joke he made on his CBS late night show. The joke revolved around Palin’s daughter, whom Letterman did not name, getting “knocked up” by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez while attending a Yankees game.
The joke, Letterman said, was targeted at Palin’s 18-year-old daughter Briston, who is an unwed mother. Problem is, Palin’s other daughter, 14-year-old Willow, was the one who attended the game.
Letterman apologized, kind of, the day after making the joke, saying he’d “never make hjokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I don’t think it’s funny. I would never think it’s funny.”
OK, that should be that, right? I mean, late-night hosts make jokes all the time; that’s what they do, and it’s their constitutional right to do so. She promptly showed up on NBC’s “Today” show to proclaim, “It’s no wonder girls have such low self-esteem in America when a comedian can make a remark like this.” She demanded that Letterman “apologize to young women” everywhere, saying it was “a degrading comment.”
She refused Letterman’s invitation to appear on his show and clear the air, though, instead releasing a tatement through ehr sopkeswoman, meghan Stapleton: “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.”
First of all, signing off on that final comment is in equally bad taste. Even if Letterman was guilty of bad taste (I don’t know either way), though, it’s humor. Get over it, lady. Go back to Juneau and deal with whatever issue’s bugging the polar bears this week.
Her party has also hopped on the publicity bandwagon. New York Assembly Minority leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua wrote a letter to CBs demanding that the network to fire Letterman over the comments. “Firing Mr. letterman would send a clear message that CBS will not tolerate any of its employees – even an established media figure like Mr. Letterman – making demeaning and degrading comments about women,” he wrote.
The National Organization for Women also jumped in, placing Letterman in its “media hall of shame.” “I think what David Letterman said is terrible, is inappropriate and nobody should be making jokes about the sexual activities of teenagers, whether they are the daughters of politicians or not,” said Kim Gandy, NOW president.
Talk about hypocrisy. Where was Kolb’s outrage when NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” made fun of Gov. David Paterson – a Democrat – for being blind? Where was N.O.W. when Bill Clinton’s escapades were being made public a decade ago, or when the latest Eminem album was released? Aren’t those types of action and speech way worse?
I accuse these people of trying to grab attention. I could be wrong. I’m sure, on some level, they believe their actions are just. But even so, it was a joke. If I got so disturbed every time someone made fun of my speed on the basepaths at the company softball game, I’d be a permanent crying mess balled up in the corner saturated in self-pity. You have to see humor for what it is sometimes, and accept that especially if you’re in the public eye, you’re open to having shots taken at you from time to time.
But then again, standing up for one’s family sure looks good come presidential nomination time.