Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm sorry, so sorry

NEW YORK (AP) - David Letterman said his joke about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter was a lousy joke, no matter how you cut it, and he's sorry.

But the late-night host insisted that what's got people really riled is the misconception over which Palin daughter the joke was about.

On Monday's edition of "Late Show," Letterman explained that the risque joke thought by some to have targeted Palin's underage daughter, Willow, was actually referring to 18-year-old daughter Bristol. The name of the daughter wasn't mentioned in the joke, which was part of Letterman's monologue on last Monday's show.

It was "a coarse joke,""a bad joke," Letterman told viewers. "But I never thought it was (about) anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure, in fact, that she is of legal age, 18."

"The joke, really, in and of itself, can't be defended," he declared.

Even so, the ongoing outcry, led by Palin and her husband, Todd, has centered on Letterman intending to make a joke about the Palins' 14-year-old daughter having sex with a Yankees baseball player.

Todd Palin issued a statement last week that said "any 'jokes' about raping my 14-year-old are despicable."

And Sarah Palin charged Letterman with "sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity."

On Monday's show, Letterman said, "I'm wondering, 'Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?' I've never made jokes like this, as long as we've been on the air, 30 long years."

There are those who said that Letterman would rather quit than apologize to Sarah Palin. But I suppose that the negative publicity was making the network nervous enough that they lowered the boom.

Of course I'm sure that everyone really believes him when he says that he didn't mean that the daughter who was actually at the baseball game was the one who got "knocked up" - at the baseball game - but was actually talking about the daughter who was on the other side of the country at the time. That is the logical conclusion to draw from the context of Letterman's remarks - isn't it?

The conventional wisdom has always been that it is all over for a politician if the late night comics start heaping ridicule upon them. But this time it was the comic who came away damaged and the politician who was elevated. I think this not only says something about the way that ordinary Americans feel about Sarah Palin (they love her) but also about the fact that we are simply tired of the way the entertainment industry is degrading our culture.

We are also tired of the reflexive leftism of the media, news and entertainment and the way they use their access to our living rooms to push their agenda. An agenda which most of us regard as hostile to our best interests.

If I am right we can expect to see more "push back" coming in the months ahead.