This is why I stopped watching David Letterman even before Jon Stewart came along: He was forever either drooling on women or treating them like they were perfect idiots, in a way he never behaved with male guests. (I did, however, enjoy the appearances of his mom Dorothy, a church secretary who was occasionally able to summon Good Dave, live from her kitchen in Indiana.)
At age 62, he shouldn't need Dorothy to tell him that referring to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as having updated her "slutty flight attendant look'' is outrageous – and his "joke'' about Palin's daughter was even worse. During his Tuesday monologue, Letterman mentioned that last year's GOP vice presidential nominee was in New York, and had attended a Yankees game with her daughter. "During the seventh inning,'' he said, "her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez." Palin had taken her 14-year-old daughter Willow to the game.
On Wednesday night, a semi-apologetic Letterman told viewers that Willow's older sister, 18-year-old Bristol Palin, had been the intended target of the remark: "We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is -- her name is Bristol, that's right -- and so, then, now they're upset with me. These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don't think it's funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn't put it in a joke." Which means he thinks rape jokes about an 18-year-old are funny?
"Gov. Palin, if you're watching,'' Letterman continued, "I would like you to consider coming to New York City -- even Todd -- as my guests, or leave Todd at home. I'd love to have you on the show. It'd be exciting. All right, so there, I hope I've cleared part of this up. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."
While it's true, as I've argued before, that liberals don't seem to grasp that their dismissive treatment of Palin is unwise as well as unseemly, Letterman's long history as an equal opportunity offender in no way lets him off the hook.
Still, if Palin did go on the show to demand a full grovel of an apology for treating her (and flight attendants, for that matter) so disrespectfully, for that I would tune in, for the first time in years.
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