by Mitchell Warren
Right about now, the world is wondering how acerbic TV talk show host David Letterman will respond to Sarah Palin’s Godzilla-Mom-Attacks campaign. Sarah has insinuated that he should publicly apologize not to her but to young women and feminist groups all over the nation. Meanwhile, dozens of right wing publications are calling for Letterman’s firing and even semi-important people (at least in the sense that they are looking for their 15 minutes of fame) like Brian Kolb, the Minority Leader for the New York State Assembly, are organizing anti-Dave campaigns. In case you missed the 30 second nightmare, Letterman’s joke went something like this:
“One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”
It was a self-professed tasteless and cheap joke written to amuse the cynical and freezing cold Ed Sullivan Theater audience. It was comparable to any hundred other cheap and tasteless jokes that would be ratted off by Leno, Conan or heaven forbid even Carson Daly. What’s fairly obvious to me is that:
(A) This celebrity flame war is being crafted by two master manipulators of the media; Letterman for higher ratings and Palin to help promote her future presidential campaign.
(B) This is a sorry excuse for a war that was staged just so liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans could fan the flames of hatred and continue to impress us with their never-ending rhetoric. (Just check out who’s fighting for whom and how clearly party lines are delineated)
(C) Firing or even punishing David Letterman for continuing to do what he does is a dangerous precedent that recalls Nixon-ian censorship. (Read this interesting piece by George Schlatter for more on this thought) Letterman’s shtick is his edgy everyman anti-authoritarian wit that actually permeates all late night talk shows in the modern era. If you dare to censor the king of late night cynicism, then you take one huge step backward into PC Mommy Police territory.
I now propose a more challenging question: Should Sarah Palin and her daughters be sterilized? Sarah Palin caused some controversy in 2008, when on April 18th she gave birth to Trig Palin, a child that Palin initially tried to hide from the public but then decided like any untapped Alaskan resource, could be used in her Vice Presidential campaign. Palin commented, “Not knowing in my own heart if I was going to be ready to embrace a child with special needs, I couldn’t talk about it.”
Eventually Palin reached the conclusion that it could be talked about (and exploited), and from that moment on, Palin has never once resisted keeping her family out of the limelight. In fact, she made the extended Palin family a focal part of her future campaign as president, a campaign which according to some Republican suck-ups, she still “hasn’t decided yet.”
Palin had the nerve to preach family values while her own daughter Bristol Palin was getting knocked up by Levi Johnston. This embarrassing event was followed by Bristol’s public statement that she was now preaching abstinence. The loser in all of this? Levi Johnston, of course, who now has a baby to take care of but with no sex privileges.
The real shocker is not that Letterman is so cruel, or that the nation is so fickle. What’s truly amazing is that Letterman is getting railed for calling a spade a spade—to say that Bristol was knocked up is not a mean spirited joke, but a candidly honest evaluation that elicits laughs because, as Homer Simpsons says, “It’s funny because it’s true.”
Now the Palin camp, so anxious to rally the Christian mommy troops to their corner, argues for a technicality. Willow was at the baseball game, not Bristol. This tells me one of two things; first that Letterman doesn’t care about technicalities and had no idea who was actually at the game. Second, that Letterman realizes a very serious issue:
The Palin family cannot be stopped from breeding. We are living in an age where PETA and animal activists are raising a ruckus over excessive animal population. They tell us to spay and neuter our cats. Yet, somehow Roman Catholic mommies who believe in God are allowed to deliver child after child much to the nation’s chagrin. Well, I won’t bother speaking my radical beliefs on how mankind has yet to prove superiority to the animals. (After all, I enjoy PBS footage of nature much more than I do Eddie Murphy films) Instead, I will suggest that while the Palins have the right to contribute to the overpopulation of humankind, do we not have the right to make fun of their hypocrisy?
Every once in a while there comes a special politician with the amazing ability to insert her foot completely in her mouth, and I believe this is the type stupidity that deserves to be laughed at. The human side of me, yes even the maternal side of me, honestly believes that If Palin was so protective of her daughters then she shouldn’t have paraded them around in front of the whole country and demanded they share her celebrity. The whole argument is bullshit since John McCain and Rush Limbaugh didn’t seem to have any problem making fun of the Clinton children, who like the Obama children, haven’t really done much worthy of negative news media coverage.
No, I don’t really want to organize a rally to help promote the sterilizations of the baby-spewing Palin family. However, I absolutely defend Letterman’s right to make jokes about stupid people who think they are above criticism. If you start censoring Letterman’s sense of humor, it would send a very strong conservative message to the nation, suggesting that it’s not okay to laugh at hypocrisy and that just because someone has children they are somehow above answering to the people for their sins. That sounds very um, how shall we say, Royal Family?
If we have the right to criticize our politicians, we have the right to laugh. It’s not always an amusing thought, to laugh at this misfortune of others, but it is only human, quintessentially American, and the very essence of freedom.
AND NOW A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM SUBVERSIFY.COM
Please people, spay and neuter yourself.