it seems the only problem David Letterman finds with his derogatory reference to the Governor of Alaska and his joke about an athlete raping her fourteen-year-old daughter was not that he may have said something inappropriate, but that it caused some people to get upset with him.
In his brilliant dissection of Letterman’s non-apology, Victor Davis Hanson looks into that pronoun Letterman used to describe the offended parties:
. . . he evokes the now common straw man “they” who are apparently “upset” with him, hoping to play the victim card. Then he dribbles out something about his “last show” as if we are to weep that some mob is out to silence him. (But the reason he picked the Palins, and not the Obamas, Gores, Bidens, or Kerrys, was precisely because he knew it would not equate to his “last show”).
I just watched the entire segment where the talk show host addresses, but does not apologize for his crude humor. I’m not going to post the video here; if you really want to watch, Fausta has it up on her blog (along with a good post).
But, while saying that “Of course we make mistakes, left and right,” Letterman never acknowledged any particular mistake he made. Instead he acts as if he’s the wrong party. (Endora-Award winning blogress Tammy Bruce might call him a “malignant narcissist.”) Steve Chapman, no Palin fan he, says the talk show host needs to apologize:
Instead of acting as though he’s the victim of someone else’s misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.
He also should to keep in mind that if you’re going to ridicule someone’s sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.
But, Letterman, as Jim Treacher who also has the video up, points out, didn’t offer an apology, he gave us “an angry, insincere, self-pitying (“Get yourself a talk show, folks”), self-justifying whine.” He never acknowledged any wrongdoing. The closest he came was to acknowledge “regret”:
Do I regret having told them [the jokes]? Well, I think probably I do.
But you know what? There are thousands of jokes I regret telling on this program.
So, it’s just like those other jokes which fell flat? He only regrets saying it because he was a bad joke (like those thousands he told before)? Or was it upset because it caused a media firestorm? He doesn’t regret that his joke crossed a line and that he hadn’t know that Palin had taken her 14-year-old and not her 18-year-old daughter to the game.
I guess when it comes to the children of Republican politicians, there are no lines to cross. Anything is fair game. Even if (as Letterman claims) he were joking about the 18-year-old Bristol, what has that very young woman done to earn just scorn? Did she choose to be born to a prominent politician? Has Letterman subjected the children of Democratic politicians to such scrutiny?
Don Imus didn’t get away with his crude remarks and he apologized. Shouldn’t we hold David Letterman to the same standard?