Monday, June 15, 2009

David Letterman's new apology obscures his intentional cruelty to a noncombatant: Bristol Palin

A proper apology would acknowledge he wrongly pulled an 18 year old noncombatant into the spotlight; would acknowledge he wrongly subjected her to ridicule and scorn. David Letterman cannot admit, to himself or to the nation, he was intentionally cruel to Bristol Palin, and was wrong to subject her to ridicule and scorn. I suspect he is too much a narcissist to admit imperfection.

Transcript of David Letterman's new apology to the Palins:
"All right, here - I've been thinking about this situation with Governor Palin and her family now for about a week - it was a week ago tonight, and maybe you know about it, maybe you don't know about it. But there was a joke that I told, and I thought I was telling it about the older daughter being at Yankee Stadium. And it was kind of a coarse joke. There's no getting around it, but I never thought it was anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure in fact that she is of legal age, 18. Yeah. But the joke really, in and of itself, can't be defended. The next day, people are outraged. They're angry at me because they said, 'How could you make a lousy joke like that about the 14-year-old girl who was at the ball game?' And I had, honestly, no idea that the 14-year-old girl, I had no idea that anybody was at the ball game except the Governor and I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Giuliani...And I really should have made the joke about Rudy..." (audience applauds) "But I didn't, and now people are getting angry and they're saying, 'Well, how can you say something like that about a 14-year-old girl, and does that make you feel good to make those horrible jokes about a kid who's completely innocent, minding her own business,' and, turns out, she was at the ball game. I had no idea she was there. So she's now at the ball game and people think that I made the joke about her. And, but still, I'm wondering, 'Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?' I've never made jokes like this as long as we've been on the air, 30 long years, and you can't really be doing jokes like that. And I understand, of course, why people are upset. I would be upset myself.

"And then I was watching the Jim Lehrer 'Newshour' - this commentator, the columnist Mark Shields, was talking about how I had made this indefensible joke about the 14-year-old girl, and I thought, 'Oh, boy, now I'm beginning to understand what the problem is here. It's the perception rather than the intent.' It doesn't make any difference what my intent was, it's the perception. And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it's not a very good joke. And I'm certainly - " (audience applause) "- thank you. Well, my responsibility - I take full blame for that. I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke. It's not your fault that it was misunderstood, it's my fault. That it was misunderstood." (audience applauds) "Thank you. So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I'm sorry about it and I'll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much." (audience applause)
Letterman is apologizing for not being clear that the joke was about 18 year old Bristol Palin. Letterman is apologizing for being ambiguous about the age of the subject of the joke. Letterman is apologizing for a failure to properly edit a joke his staff wrote for him.

I don't understand why a joke about pulling Alex Rodriguez off of an 18 year old girl is acceptable. Bristol Palin is a noncombatant. She's not in politics. She's never made political speeches. She claps and cheers: yea Mom!, and that's it. It's not right to go after a civilian; a noncombatant. It wouldn't be right if she were 48 years old.

It's not justified b/c she had a child. She's a civilian. It's not justified.

It's not justified b/c she attempts to do the right thing by speaking out about the difficulties of being an unwed mother; it's not justified because she attempts to do the right thing via representing teen abstinence. Is this what comedy is? If you are 18, and you try to positively influence teenaged girls, then we will rip into you?

It was only justified, in Letterman's and his audience' minds, by Sarah Palin being a rube. Thus it was not justified at all.

Al Gore's early twenties aged son had a succession of speeding tickets and a DWI. Did Letterman joke: We had to have Courtney Love pull Al Gore's son out of the bar? He did not. B/c he is a Democrat, therefore Al Gore cannot be a rube, therefore nothing justifies bringing Gore's noncombatant son into the spotlight.

Joe Biden's mid twenties daughter was arrested for cocaine possession only a couple of months ago. Did Letterman joke: We had to have Darryl Strawberry pull Biden's daughter out of the crack house! He did not. B/C he is a Democrat, therefore Biden cannot be a rube like that hillbilly Sarah Palin, therefore nothing justifies bringing Biden's noncombatant daughter into the spotlight.

Have I missed a Vice President? Dick Cheney. It's not a precise comparison, but: John Edwards outed Dick Cheney's daughter during a national debate during the 2004 Presidential Campaign. It was a preplanned strategic maneuver by Edwards. To the left, Edwards action was okay b/c Cheney is a conservative and therefore a hypocrite. Why was Cheney a hypocrite? Did/does Cheney have anything against gay people? He does not. But, according to left thinking, conservatives do, and therefore Cheney is a hypocrite for being conservative, and therefore it's perfectly fine to out Cheney's daughter during a national debate. BTW: Cheney's daughter was already out, but she had not made a nationwide announcement about it, and had not ever sought publicity about being gay or about anything else. She was leading a quiet life outside the spotlight.

David Letterman's apology for ambiguity misses the point. A proper apology would acknowledge he wrongly pulled an 18 year old noncombatant into the spotlight; he wrongly subjected her to ridicule and scorn. David Letterman cannot admit, to himself or to the nation, that he was intentionally cruel to Bristol Palin. I suspect he is too much a narcissist to admit imperfection.

There's something else, and it's speculative:
Letterman and the left are looking for ways to punish both Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin for their decisions to have their babies. It's about abortion, and it's about virtue. Sarah and Bristol shame the left. According to left thinking, both Sarah and Bristol had every reason to have abortions. Bristol would not now be subjected to such ridicule if she had quietly had an abortion. Many, many left women know they would not have the guts to bring their children to term under such circumstances. These many women are shamed by their self knowledge. Sarah and Bristol Palin spotlight the insecurities these women feel about their own virtue. In return, these women detest Sarah Palin and Brisol Palin. It's a virtue thing. Left woman MUST NOT question their own virtue! The one thing they are most sure of in life is their own virtue; and let's just not think about that abortion thing years ago; and anyone who reminds me of it must die.

I'm not, now, condemning abortion. Aw, I'll condemn it: I think it is murder. However, no one died and made me God. He will sort it out in His time, and I respect His opinion, whatever it may be.

What I'm talking about, here, is the left's narcissistic psychological insistence that no one in the world believe they are unvirtuous in any way; and their psychological need to self-believe in the absoluteness of their own virtue, i.e. their need to never self question their own virtue. Each left person is like a fragile house of delicate glass. The questioning of virtue in any area - even self questioning - might bring the edifice down in a thousand shards.

This is why the left cannot discuss politics as if searching for truth. The left must debate politics as a defense of the fragile and delicate glass house of virtue which represents their own self esteem and self conception. If they are on the wrong side of any single political issue, it might mean they are unvirtuous, it might mean the entire fragile glass house crashes down. Too frightening to contemplate or address.

This is not true of every person on the left. Yet it is true of Letterman, and it is true of most persons on the left. This is why Letterman can only admit to a failure to adequately edit an ambiguous joke, and can never admit to being cruel to an 18 year old noncombatant: Letterman must protect the glass house of his unquestionable and desperate virtue.

This is why the left react to Sarah and Bristol Palin like rattlesnakes react to intrusion: Sarah and Bristol Palin, via choosing motherhood, cause the left to be tempted to question their own unquestionable virtue. Self questioning of virtue MUST NOT HAPPEN. So the left coils, rattles it's tail, and strikes, strikes, strikes.

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