Friday, June 12, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #29: Ridiculous Public Feuds: Palin vs. Letterman

Don't people know how and when to end trivial non-issues anymore? I guess those who have disagreements in private tend to deal better than those who have "feuds" in public - since public people are more apt to milk any event for what it's worth (even if it is worthless). Case in point: Alaska Governor/former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin versus longtime comedian and TV personality David Letterman.

Here's the context: Sometime this week, Palin, her husband Todd, and one of their children went to a Yankee game during their New York visit. That night, Letterman made a joke about an unnamed Palin daughter getting knocked up by Alex Rodriguez during a Yankee game. It turned out that the only Palin daughter at that game was one of the underaged ones* and not legal Bristol, the one who is a public figure (as a slightly ironic spokesperson for abstinence). If I remember the media law I took five years ago, American defamation laws (slander, libel, and the like) protect private people more than public people (politicians and famous people). Anyhow, Palin issued a statement condemning Letterman's joke. Then Letterman tried to clarify the issue as hilariously as possible:

Letterman said that the joke was meant for public figure and known pregnant person Bristol Palin, and apologized for the confusion. For many people, this excuse makes sense, and the joke is funny (and far humor goes) when the punchline consists Bristol and A-Rod, and not a more obscure Palin sibling. It really is nonsensical when applied to the younger Palin daughter. For others, Letterman meant it to be a cruel joke against the younger Palin daughter, with no possibility for a Bristol confusion. Yes, I have tried to make this entry a non-political rant, but how you feel about this non-issue likely depends on your political point of view.

Needless to say, Gov. Palin is in the latter category and continues the feud against Letterman:

In any case, Gov. Palin implied that Letterman is some kind of pedophile who advocates child rape.

My assessment:

1. Palin, in her role as a parent, has a right to be to offended that one of her children was the butt of a joke or jokes.

2. Letterman's A-Rod joke only makes sense when applied to Bristol, not her younger sister, so the confusion excuse is reasonable. And yes, the joke is tasteless regardless.

3. Because the joke was meant for public figure Bristol Palin, and because Gov. Palin essentially called public figure Letterman a child-rapin' pedophile - I say the feud is tit-for-tat over!

If this feud isn't over (and it seems nothing is ever over for Gov. Palin), then this sad state of affairs of "civilized" "humanity" makes me a sad panda.

*Yes, the daughter is named Willow, but I made her anonymous for the above content to try to show the difference between private and public people.

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