Leave Dave alone
By and large, comedians make a living making fun of other people. And, for the most part, we laugh at others’ expense. It’s the simple cycle of cheap comedy.
During late-night talk show host David Letterman’s monologue June 8, he said that the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate attended a Yankees game during a trip to New York City. The former Hoosier referred to Sarah Palin as having the style of a ‘slutty flight attendant.’
Then, he said, ‘During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.’
Palin’s oldest daughter, Bristol, 18, gave birth to a child out of wedlock earlier this year, so one would have to assume that’s the direction Letterman was headed with his comment. Only trouble with the joke was that it wasn’t Bristol who attended the Yankees game. It was her younger sister, 14-year-old Willow.
The backlash was almost immediate. Some said it was an unfair attack on the Alaska governor and her family; others called for the boycott of Letterman advertisers; and some even called for the talk show host’s job. In a response, Palin said Letterman was contributing to a culture ‘that says it’s OK to talk about statutory rape’ and offered up a jab that ‘it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.’
During an apology a week later, Letterman noted to his audience, ‘If you have to explain the joke, it’s not a very good joke.’
Look, Letterman’s comments were stupid, and Palin’s were probably more stupid. But if cheap, bathroom comedy is what Americans want and demand, they can’t complain when a shot is delivered below the belt, even if it was unintentional, as Letterman claims.
It wasn’t that long ago that every comedian on the planet cracked jokes about Michael Jackson getting his groove on with young boys. Jackson was never found guilty of any crime, yet the innuendoes continue to this day.
If it is such an outrage to joke about consensual sex, where’s the public outcry coming to the defense of the King of Pop?
Letterman never suggested rape of a child, but that’s how they were perceived because of the facts of the situation. Letterman said in his apology, ‘It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood; it’s my fault that it was misunderstood.’ Still, some people hate the guy for his comments.
If Americans hold a grudge against everyone who has at one time or another slipped up, they’ll soon find that they hate everyone.