In case you missed it, a quick synopsis: During a recent opening monologue -- these are usually full of humor not known for its taste, nor its beauty -- Letterman cracked wise about Sarah Palin's daughter's attendance at a Yankee's baseball game, allowing as she was knocked up by A-Rod.
Unfortunately for him, he didn't know that the daughter who'd attended the game with her mother was not Bristol, the eighteen-year-old unwed mother of Sarah's grandchild, but Willow, who is but fourteen.
Oops. What a difference four years makes.
In some cultures, as soon as an adolescent clears puberty, s/he is considered an adult, as least for purposes of sexual activity, with the big-enough-old-enough philosophy holding sway.
Not in this culture. Though there are plenty of fourteen-year-old girls who look considerably older -- "jailbait" is the term -- they are still children under the law -- even in Mississippi -- and protected as such. Sex with children is not funny in these parts.
Which is as it should be. Big enough is not old enough. A fifteen-year-old boy who is paying court to a girl his age, yeah, that's not something about which people are going to go ballistic. A fifty-year-old hitting on a teenager? Slides right past dirty-old-man and into immoral, illegal, and pedophilia. We aren't those countries where the nine-year-olds can be forced to marry men old enough to be their grandfathers.
Letterman apologized for this gaff, kinda, but it didn't sound sincere, and so he tried it again.
Comedians consider almost everything fair game, and that's not likely to change. Dave isn't compulsory, however, and the remote is right there ...
In politics, the children should not be dragged into the spotlight, in a decent world, they should be off-limits. And some politicians have sense enough to try and keep their kids out of the public's greedy gaze. The Clintons tried. Even George Bush tried, give him credit for that.
Sarah Palin, however, has been waving her kids at the media like a sideshow barker's come-on and using them to keep herself in the public eye. I feel sorry for the children.
I don't feel sorry for Governor Palin, however. She knew that stove was hot when she touched it, and I have no sympathy for her crying over blistered fingers. Sarah knew her daughter was pregnant when she accepted McCain's offer, and she knew full well that the press would be on that situation like white on rice. Did it anyway, and that's another demerit in her book, far as I am concerned. If she was so concerned with protecting her children, she could have declined to run. She didn't, and that by itself would have been enough for me to vote for a green two-by-four before I cast a ballot in her direction. Although there were soooo many more reasons higher up the list ...
It's a parent's job to protect the kids, and I always liked Harry Truman's reaction to a bad review in The Washington Post of his daughter Margaret's singing:
“I have never met you,” Truman wrote to the critic, “but if I do you’ll need a new nose and plenty of beefsteak and perhaps a supporter below.”
Give-'em-hell-Harry. Gotta love it.
Palin, alas, is still running, her eyes on a distant prize. As I mentioned elsewhere, if she was running any harder, she'd take every track and field event in the next Olympics.
It's a shame she's using her children to do it.
It's hard to take the moral high ground when you are down in a pit ...