Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who are the real bastards here?

In Iran, crowds are taking to the streets to protest an allegedly stolen presidential election. The impact of this could redefine the Middle Eastern nation, as well as the global political dynamic, for generations to come.

Here in America, though, we have much more superfluous crap to worry about.

In case you missed it, David Letterman wrote a Top Ten list about Sarah Palin. As he's done about a dozen times already. It involved the Palin family's recent excursion to New York. In one of the items, Dave said that A-Rod knocked up Palin's daughter during the 7th inning stretch.

I saw this segment long before any fuss erupted over it (and before Worldwide Pants removed it from YouTube). I liked it, because I like anything that makes fun of the vapidity and surreality of Sarah Palin. When the A-Rod impregnation joke came along, I (like everyone who doesn't have a false-outrage fetish) thought it was about 18-year-old Bristol.

Wait, let me correct that. It wasn't so much about Bristol as it was about the irony of a politician pushing for abstinence education, when her own daughter was proof that it didn't work (and said as much), and then parading said daughter across the campaign trail in a perverse family dynamic.

But, as our muckraking pals on the right reminded us, it was not Bristol but 14-year-old Willow Palin who was in New York at the time. Not only did most people not know that at the time, but even fewer associated teen pregnancy with a teen who has never been pregnant. But that's what makes Dave's joke all the more sinister. Too sinister, as it turns out, for Dave himself, who has since apologized for it.

Even NOW piggybacked on the incident, saying Dave's remark about Sarah looking like a slutty flight attendant was offensive. As opposed to Sarah herself, who sets feminism back 50 years? Oh, the irony. I'm all for feminism, but harrumphing at a not-so-fresh joke is hardly the stuff of justified gender equity. Anyway, Palin did exploit her flirtatious nature on the campaign trail, which makes it fair game as far as I'm concerned. The multitude of comics who made fun of her throughout 2008 apparently agreed, and no one seemed to object much then.

Still, when David Letterman apologizes for something, ice cubes form in Hell. So I had to take notice. Maybe I'm wrong, and that jokes about pregnant teens are out of line (even if the jokes aren't really about pregnant teens). Maybe in this time of hope and change, Dave's shtick is past its prime. No matter what our ideologies, we should try to respect each other rather than get a cheap laugh from our differences.

Then there was the protest. And I snapped back into reality.

Any apprehension I felt about the knocked-up joke evaporated like Paul Shaffer's hair when I saw this video of protesters demanding Dave's firing:

Seriously, these are the people Dave pissed off? No offense to Dave's admirable skill at offending, but it doesn't seem like a challenge with this motley crew. They strike me as the kind of people even the teabaggers would have told to go home. I, for one, would be ashamed to curry any favor with them. If they liked anything I ever did, I'd quit writing forever and get into insurance.

There is a certain type of person who gets joy from complaining. A lot of these people, to quote that Clearasil case in the video, only watch Fox News. There's a lot more wrong with them than there is wrong with David Letterman. It's not that they're outraged, but that they're so reliably and selectively outraged. I've watched enough Letterman over the decades to know that the Palin pregnancy joke doesn't even rank in his Top Ten of greatest line-crossing moments. Meaner jokes about the Palins have been spoken by the Palins, for God's sake.

Which only goes to show that this isn't so much about crossing the line as it is exploiting the very real problems of misogyny and statutory rape to attempt to censor someone whose comic sensibilities are rungs above theirs. Can we put "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" back on the air for these people? They need a hobby.

The only reason I even care about this is because it is a perfect example of what the right wing has become: a Mr. Fusion of outrage, powered by whatever garbage happens to be handy. Even in the face of Dave's multiple apologies, they continue to press on. It's almost as if the Palins - and their supporters - have something to gain from this continued attention. Frankly, I hope it's a 2012 GOP nomination. And I hope Dave's there to give it all the comic treatment such a thing deserves.


herb said...

Liberals are more infatuated with Sarah Palin than anyone on the right.

Ian McGibboney said...

Can you blame us? She's like a car accident.

herb said...

She's no worse than the car accident VP you voted in.

Ian McGibboney said...

Sarah's gaffes are better, I'll give you that. It takes a special sort of non-intelligence to talk like she does.

NOLA Progressive said...

I think Palin evokes such a response from progressives because she has become such a lightning rod for the fundamental conservative cause. She has an almost cult-like following and adherence to her words amongst her supporters.

I think progressives as a whole (pardon me if I am putting words into the movement's mouth) would like to believe that the electorate is evolving into a more informed unit not taking in by charlatans and made-for-reality-tv characters. To see that someone with little to no knowledge about anything nationally or globally pertinent can gain a V.P. nod, not to mention be talked about for a possible presidential run, is incensing to us.

TJENKINS said...

"To see that someone with little to no knowledge about anything nationally or globally pertinent can gain a V.P. nod, not to mention be talked about for a possible presidential run, is incensing to us."

Wait, are you talking about Joe Biden here?

Ian McGibboney said...

Teej, herb already offered your zinger, all the way at the top of this thread. Biden lacks a tact filter at times, but he is intelligent and experienced. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is an incurious Jeezus freak who is proud of her provincialism. I would pick Biden as my VP 100 times out of 100 over her.

NOLA - I think most progressives share that view. Palin resonates with the conservative electorate because, to paraphrase Matt Taibbi, she reminds them of the mean, uneducated jerk the see in the mirror every morning.

TJENKINS said...

Ian, you're telling me who you'd prefer as if it wasn't already clear. Thanks for stating the obvious there Captain Douchebag.

The fact that you would prefer an idiotic racist as your VP reflects more on you than it does Sarah Palin. I thought you liberals hated rich old white men in positions of power? I guess Biden gets an exception to that rule.

Ian McGibboney said...

So I should want Palin just because she's a woman, huh? How is that any less sexist than not wanting her for the same reason?

TJENKINS said...

Hey man I'm merely pointing out that liberals seem to hate old rich white men in power unless they happen to be Democrats.

TJENKINS said...

I think Obama evokes such a response from conservatives because he has become such a lightning rod for the socialist liberal cause. He has an almost cult-like following and adherence to his words amongst his supporters.

Jim said...

I just watched the whole video. "Fire Letterman and protect your children. He will rape them with his mouth."
These people have some issues!