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David Letterman, Rev. Wright, and Thoughts on a Creepy Culture

Doctor Faustus

(Remember that Obama's connection with Wright was premeditated: in the Chicago racialist atmosphere, his career was going to be stalled at the state level, since he lacked, as a half-white, half-African Harvard graduate, fides as an authentic African-American from the Chicago neighborhood. Wright gave Obama just that authenticity-the more Wright laced his sermons with racism and hatred, the better Obama might resonate with the community as a Trinity devotee.)

But there is nemesis in the world. And once one makes a pact with Mephistopheles, well, read Marlowe and Goethe. Wright is Obama's Fury, one of his Keres as it were.

Is there anything that explains all these strange developments? Yes, a postmodern view that the tawdry means justify the utopian ends, that a Letterman is cool and progressive, that a Wright means well in the end, that a Dowd is on the right side of the political attack on the Bush administration-and therefore sexism, racism, and plagiarism are, well, simply alternate narratives rather than violations of absolute norms and protocols.

Letterman Goes After Palin

For a few NRO postings on Palin, see below.

Part I: A Boor and a Coward [Victor Davis Hanson]

Smug, hip David Letterman offered a smirky non-apology about his ongoing class and sexist slurs against the Palins, his apparent social inferiors.

"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..."

Examine the logic. First, Letterman makes a gutter joke about Palin and her unnamed 14-year-old daughter attending a NY Yankees game. Then when a bit of outrage follows, he apparently claims he really meant to slur the other 18-year-old daughter who, back in Alaska, of course did not attend the game but was not named by Letterman. That would be okay, you see.

Second, then 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").

Third, he strangely amplifies his joke by confessing it really was about "raping" and "having sex of any description," but just not with a "14-year-old girl," suggesting it would have been okay had he just been more explicit and named Bristol, the 18-year-old. In Letterman's world, because Bristol is 18, she is a year past most statuary rape clauses and thus the joke would have only been about "raping or having sex of any description with a [18-year-old] girl."

Nothing offered about his slurs against airline attendants and Governor Palin herself, when he sneered that she had a "slutty flight-attendant look," or his remark that Palin "was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter." Indeed, he seemed to boast that he was proud of his 'slutty' joke, as if hard-working flight attendants really do look slutty (they don't to me), or that Palin looks slutty (she doesn't to me).

The self-serving, creepy apology was as bad as the initial slur. Letterman is emblematic of an aging, baby-boomer culture, that dresses up street vulgarity with a tie and coat. The only thing that saves him is his care to do this with the Palins from Alaska who don't figure into the usual no-go race/class/gender paradigm.

Part II. Still a Boor and Coward.

Then I was attacked by one Jason Zengerle for the above and responded with the following:

A Letterman apologist  named Jason Zengerle at the TNR blog claims logic is not my strong suit since I defended Sarah Palin's family and thought Letterman's apology was, well, like most of what he does these days, infantile and cowardly:

"I know logic isn't VDH's strong suit, but is it really so hard to believe that the joke Letterman was making about a Palin daughter getting "knocked up" was about the Palin daughter who, you know, got knocked up?"

Is that supposed to be funny in a Lettermanesque way?

Zengerle apparently cannot follow basic logic, so here it goes:

The girl at the game with Gov. Palin was not 18-year old Bristol, but 14-year-old Willow. So logically we are to assume that when Letterman refers to Palin and her daughter at a recent baseball game, he means the actual Governor and the actual daughter who actually attended it.

The intent of Letterman's tripartite sexual reference was  to suggest that the  Palins were synonymous with female promiscuity (cf. Letterman's further references to the Gov.'s "slutty" look, and remarks about former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's interest in a Palin daughter (e.g., the "toughest part" of Palin's visit "was keeping former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter.")

Cf. that logic: (a) Palin is in NY with her 14-year-old daughter. (b) former NY governor Spitzer was caught visiting a young prostitute. Ergo...(c)  Sarah Palin will naturally have to "keep" a randy Sptizer away from a likewise randy 14-year-old with dug-out propensities.

Zengerle then finishes with "P.S. VDH says Letterman would never make jokes about the offspring of the Obamas, Kerrys, Bidens, or Gores. Not true." (He then references a Letterman pun to a speeding ticket by the Gore son. Some moral equivalence that-a pun on speeding versus a pun on the statutory rape of a 14-year-old.)

First, Zengerle cannot read. I did not write that Letterman does not generically attack others; rather that in this particular context he would not have used such grotesque references to the children of iconic liberals: "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".

Letterman would never make a joke about an underage daughter of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry or Al Gore having sex with Alex Rodriquez or Eliot Spitzer. Sorry, he would not. Any idiot knows that.

Letterman offered no apology, but more of his usual postmodern, I'm goofy, feel sorry for me, 'got the wrong daughter,' I'm Dave after all junk. The fact remains that in three separate references he slurred the female governor of Alaska and her 14-year-old daughter on a recent visit to his New York. And when he tried to contextualize it, all he did was make it worse by suggesting that he meant instead Gov. Palin's 18-year-old daughter, who recently delivered an out-of-wedlock child.

So follow the additional sick logic there: having one illegitimate son naturally implies inherent promiscuity of the sort that would send you down to the dugout to have sex with a baseball player or draw in a frequent patron of prostitutes.

Letterman has devolved into a mean-spirited, demented sort. Good luck to his apologists like Zengerle who try to explain what he said was not quite what he said. All they accomplish is to end up as foolish and creepy as Letterman himself.