Comments: JK Defends David Letterman from Swift Boaters

I have to completely agree. Let Letterman's unfunniness stand and fail on it's own. When conservatives over-react to un-funny jokes in poor taste (Wanda Sykes leaps immediately to mind) we sound like shrieking liberals freaking out over the latest imagined infringement of political correctness. It's worth a "feh" or an eye roll or a shoulder shrug. Nothing more.

If we can keep our reactions measured like that, pretty soon, even the liberals will be uncomfortable laughing at this kind of stuff. After all, we're supposed to be the grownups.

Posted by Lisa M at June 10, 2009 9:20 PM

I only 1/2 way agree.

A grown man knocking up a 14yo girl, is by definition rape.

The blogosphere is overfilled with people overreaching every day. To let this one lie wouldn't make sense. Governor Palin's family has been abused over and over by the media. If this is the line in the sand, I say go for it.

(though in general I try to stay out of anything that's getting too much overreaching coverage)

Posted by Terri at June 10, 2009 10:24 PM

Terri, As Todd Palin pointed out this morning, Letterman's joke was "out of bounds of mainstream America" no matter which Palin daughter it was--picking on a public figure's children is classless and, in this case, not even funny. When we over react to it, it fuels the fire--now Letterman is getting attention, people are tuning in to his show that ordinarily wouldn't just to see how he'll respond. Now he's "edgy and hip" again, even though it takes absolutely no courage to make fun of conservatives.

Letterman deserves nothing so much as being relegated to obscurity. That is the worst punishment for people like him, because any attention is good attention.

Posted by Lisa M at June 11, 2009 7:29 AM

Those who know me know that I'm chief among the defenders of free speech. There was no slander here.

However, I think Letterman's an ass. Knocking up a teenage girl who never did anyone any harm? I could easily count on one hand the number of times I've seen his show -- and all accidental. I never found him funny, and now I find him despicable. It should beneath a gentleman's dignity to mock someone's daughter like that; well, Letterman proves he's no gentleman.

I have to disagree on Swift-boating, jk. It refers to accusations that are true, so I love liberals complaining it's being done to them. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth made allegations that they couldn't definitively prove, but Kerry had the MSM to defend him. Liberals have the luxury of ignoring the truth while the MSM whitewashes and glosses over for them. Remember that even in a presumably impartial criminal court, it couldn't be proven (meaning "beyond a reasonable doubt," not merely a "preponderance of evidence" that's required in civil court) that OJ was guilty.

It's absurd to call for censorship or banning Letterman, which is using the force of government, but I haven't seen that. What I have seen is people calling on others to stop watching his show. Like Letterman has the freedom of speech to be a cad, everyone else has the freedom of speech to expose him.

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at June 11, 2009 11:13 AM

One-point-five agreements is a new record for me. I'll take it! (And welcome to ThreeSources Lisa M -- I encourage everybody to visit her blog.)

I hear you, Terri, but I am tired of being the party of Senator Dole's 1996 "Where's the outrage?" If you have to ask, you ain't gonna get it. And, like Lisa M says, the face of liberty becomes the face of the scolds: Dole, Bill Bennett, & Co.

I identify much more with Stephen Stanton's South Park Republicans.

Posted by jk at June 11, 2009 11:14 AM

Terri: you have a point on statutory but -- at the risk of deconstructing this joke more than it deserves -- the joke does not name the daughter. I don't know that it is a 14-year old as much as a generic Palin girl, playing to stereotype. With the generic Palin daughter cast as aggressor, either mental or physical coercion are in the imagination of the offended Conservatives.

Funny? No. Tasteless and irresponsible? Yes. A Joke about rape? No.

Perry: I think the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were 80-90% right. And, like you, I laugh at the left's version of the verb.

But I find it a perfect example for my use. The Kerry campaign was able to attack the 10% that was not true and -- aided by a compliant media -- imply that there was nothing to any of the accusations.

Had they kept only provable and serious issues, they would have devastated the Kerry campaign. I thought the same of the Starr Report. Especially those who face a hostile media cannot afford to leave a loose end. If the Starr Report and O'Neill's book were edited to contain only half their allegations, then, well, we'd have had nine year's of President Al Gore, so I should be pretty careful what I wish for.

Back to Letterman. Call him an ass; call him a coward; call him unfunny and I am on board. But some mis-characterize his joke and attack a statement that he did not make.

Posted by jk at June 11, 2009 11:38 AM

I'd in fact like to hear about this 10% not true. Perhaps I didn't hear them all, or if I did hear that 10%, the other 90% was so slam-dunk that the 10% didn't surprise me.

Letterman made a stupid attempt at a joke, which turned out to be about statutory rape. The Palin daughter at the ballgame was her 14-year-old, not Bristol. Even if he referred to her non-adult daughter, at minimum it was tasteless and stupid, and any man with a shred of decency would offer a genuine apology.

Letterman, though, offered a non-apology designed only to boost his show's ratings. Were I the father of a girl so insulted, I'd appear on Letterman's show only to make him apologize through newly broken teeth.

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at June 11, 2009 4:19 PM

That's why I'm only halfway agreeing with you. Letterman surely didn't MEAN to make a joke about rape.
Or slutty Latino ball players for that matter.

But you're asking the conservative blogosphere to back off.

Shame is what's needed here and Letterman is getting a good dose. People may well be tuning in to see what it's all about but they surely aren't finding him edgy and hip.

Some bloggers go ballistic about a lot of things and this is just one more. I don't believe that having your standard ranters adding this to their rants is going to bring a black eye onto conservatives in general.

That just circles you back to "Attention, all conservatives. Behave as civil adults and you'll get ahead".
No - they stay above the fray and soon are tarred and feathered as racist, uncaring, old white guys.

Feminists are not going to hold Letterman accountable for bad taste, so let those who care do so without worrying about how the conservative movement might be seen by liberals.

Posted by Terri at June 11, 2009 4:40 PM

I'm asking the conservative blogosphere (which has a pretty poor record of listening to me) to keep their complaints responsible. You can say it was tasteless, out-of-bounds and not funny. You can even go on the show and, responsibly, break some teeth.

My objections are:
-- that they are objecting to a joke he did not make;
-- that we are hurtling into socialism and allowing 31-year old Yale dropout Hillary Clinton campaign managers to "rewrite the rules of Capitalism" and some bloggers itch for a culture war.

Posted by jk at June 11, 2009 7:13 PM

Terri, they ARE finding it edgy and hip. Letterman is cool again. People who haven't given him a passing thought in years are now all buzzing about him. Read some of the liberal blogs--they're saying Palin brought this on herself, she put her family in the spotlight and therefore had it coming. A self described liberal feminist woman called in to Hannity today saying this very thing, and writing it off as the price of being in the public eye.

Palin is a joke to these people--an incompetent naif who can see Alaska from her house. That's how they will always think of her, just like Dan Quayle will forever be known as the man who couldn't spell potato. That liberals are not held to these same exacting standards is well known and frustrating, but if you think we have even a fraction of the power necessary to "shame" them into decent behavior, then you have not been paying attention.

Liberals are the hypersensitive jackasses who find offense at every little thing. Not conservatives. Sticks and stones; ultimately Letterman's joke says more about Letterman than it does about the Palin family. Let that be what people remember, not the wounded sensibilities of conservatives.

jk--I've been a lurker for a long time. Three Sources is one of my favorite daily reads. Thanks for the linky love.

Posted by Lisa M at June 11, 2009 7:14 PM

Sorry - 1 more comment.

JK, the joke was made and it can only be assumed it was about the 14yo - hence, rape. Technically. He owns it. If people want to call him on it - I say go for it. Someone ought to say something and they are. Good for them.

Most people don't understand the rush towards socialism. They want their "free" health care.

Liberals always find themselves hip and edgy. This isn't new.

Posted by Terri at June 11, 2009 9:55 PM

At least Letterman didn't call Sasha and Malia little nappy headed ho's.

Posted by Jeff H at June 12, 2009 5:33 PM
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