Come On Dave…Really?

Come On Dave…Really?


Not exactly Letterman’s finest moment…

Yeah, I know it’s just a joke, but it turns out it was a fairly tasteless one when you consider the daughter Palin brought to the game was 14 year old Willow.

I doubt if he’ll apologize, but he should.

  • kranky kritter

    So in other words, you’re changing the name of the blog to Panties All Atwist?

    Seriously, it’s a throwaway 2-liner from the old, dark, and slightly bitter late night guy who was judged years ago to be insufficiently bland to replace Johnny Carson. Who cares?

  • the Word

    It was a joke in poor taste. She offers so many opportunities that he didn’t need to go there.

  • J. Harden

    Come on Kranky, don’t be silly, you know exactly why Justin occassionally posts this stuff.

    If on rare occassions he comes to the defense of a Republican or conservative on banal, meaningless slights — he can claim (at least to himself) some tiny-sliver of political “centrism” or “moderation” or “fair and balance-ness” or whatever it is, thereby trying to preserve the conceit of Donklephant as something other than a partisan hack-in-a-box; a conceit that has turned hysterically laughable for the last several months.

    I’m game, though. Thank you. This is egregious behavior and totally unexpected coming from the calm, analytical, dispassionate nature of…David Letterman.

  • kranky kritter

    My personal sense of comedy is that the less willing a comic is to venture to cross a line due to a sense of propriety, the less often he or she manages to be really funny. Can’t stress how strongly that’s MY mileage.

    In other words, IMO a truly funny comic would be horrified to find his or herself worrying about whether they needed to “go there.” Either you dare to go there, or you become a bland machine of half-hearted chuckles. Nothing explains this as well as watching The Aristocrats. Which almost certainly horrifies many folks, BTW. Mileage on comedy really, really, really varies.

    JH, Justin makes no bones about being a partisan. I think that Alan balances things out decently philosophically speaking. But Donklephant could use a more regularly conservative (and comparably prolific!) voice to provide a better donkle to phant ratio. It comes out about 9 or 10 to 1 donkle to phant these days.

    But I do basically agree with you that a post such as this is for Justin a sort of tokenism in the name of camouflage. Probably subconscious, though.

  • Justin Gardner


    Why? I really have to spell it out?

    Because he was involving her kids. In my mind, that’s seriously crossing the line. It’s even more wrong when you consider the age of the daughter he was talking about and the subject matter of the joke and the fact it was on network television. Also, I GUARANTEE you that Carson NEVER would have done anything close to this.


    I’m curious as to why you continue to lob the exact same charges at me month in and month out when I have made it VERY clear that I am a Democrat and post as one here. Moreover, Donklephant has always been a forum for all sides to share their thoughts and ideas. Occasionally we find some common ground, and usually we’re able to at least talk to each other civilly. It has been that way since day one and no amount of spin from you or anybody else will change that fact.

    Listen, I’ve asked you on numerous occasions (both publicly and privately) to cut out the personal attacks. But time and time again you’ve burned me. That stops today. Because just as much as you’re tired of how disingenuous you think I am, I’m just as tired of you questioning my authenticity. And this has gone beyond agreeing to disagree since you’ve made it your aim, whether consciously or not, to undermine the spirit of what we’re trying to do here.

    Long story short, please make that last comment your final one on this site.

  • kranky kritter

    Of course Carson wouldn’t have. That’s a big part of why he was never very funny. Carson was a legendary soporific. Maybe you are too young to remember.If you think a modern Letterman, O’Brien, Kimmel, or Leno monologue is balnd and humorless, you’ve not experienced the king.

    I call this what it is, manufactured outrage.We have here a joke in bad taste, about ARod and Sara Palin. They’re the real principals. The joke is not Letterman’s first line-crossing joke with a scintilla of bad taste, nor his last. Not even close, and not worth remarking on.

    The daughter is just a vehicle for a punchline, and again, so what? Does anyone think it’s true, instead of merely a silly joke? Please explain to me the nature of the harm that you imagine coming to Palin’s daughter from this late-night throwaway. Her name wasn’t even mentioned, mind you.

    Basically, I support the 1st amendment right of comics to tell jokes in possible bad taste. And I think that Sara Palin’s younger daughter, whatever her name is, will be fine. The only people really harmed are those who harmed themselves by getting their noses out of joint about something momumentally trivial.

    You know what’s really tiresome? People getting preemptively offended on behalf of 3rd parties. Can’t we at least wait to find out whether Palin’s daughter even heard the joke, never mind was upset by it?

    Most folks really can’t these days, or so it seems. The skills of the panties atwist crowd are being honed to an ever sharper point. I’d like to continue this rant a bit longer, but I have to go to sensitivity training.

  • bubbles

    I’ll admit…. I lol’d.

  • Jacob

    good job Justin!

  • Simon

    Is there some in joke I don’t get in people persistently calling the woman Sara Palin? That isn’t her name, any more than our 42d President was Gil Clinton. Whether by changing or omitting a letter, both call someone by the wrong name.

    And then there’s this:

    kranky kritter Says:

    Basically, I support the 1st amendment right of comics to tell jokes in possible bad taste.

    What does the First Amendment have to do with it? Has anyone suggested that the FCC get involved? That Letterman be punished by or sued through the government? Letterman has no First Amedment rights to say anything at all – and nor do we. That completely misconcieves Constitutional rights. You have a First Amendment right against government interdiction of your saying something.

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot michael reynolds

    1) I’d guess Dave will apologize tonight.

    2) I doubt he or whoever wrote the joke knew how old the girl was.

    3) It’s tasteless. Uncool.

    4) But that’s the difficulty with humor: the trick is to find “the line” and step just over it. Stay on this side of the line: not funny. Too far over the line: not funny. Much humor is tasteless. It has to be.

    5) There is no deeper significance.

  • the Word

    Those kind of silly word games are not to be taken seriously, it was probably just an oversight. Kind of like the “Democrat” one the Right uses all of the time. I just roll my eyes when I hear people acting like children. I’d certainly not choose screwing up her name to go after her :-)

  • Agnostick

    #1 – “Panties All Atwist?” Really, kranky? And yet… who has made three rather lengthy posts to the same thread? Posts that ultimately say two things: “Jack” and “sh*t.”

    #2 – I could be wrong on this, but I predict that when Letterman made the joke, he didn’t know that it was Willow at that game, and not Bristol. I think there’s a good chance that Letterman will tastefully apologize, and move on.

  • Justin Gardner

    Sara as a joke? I’ve never seen anybody else do that on purpose, and kranky doesn’t seem like the type of person who’s going to do something like that on purpose. Could be wrong.

    However, the “Democrat Party” thing is very real on the right wing. And that’s from party leaders. Can’t think of anything on the left that has been pushed by Dem leaders as a blatant smack in the face, but I’m probably missing something.

    Simon, good point. People think the 1st Amendment allows them to say anything they want. Still, I don’t think Letterman will get in trouble for this beyond the backlash from the right wing he’s getting now.

  • John Burke

    With all the nastiness and bitterness in our divided, partisan politics, by and large, pols, pundits and reporters (even bloggers!) know that the underage children of pols are off limits. It is left to “comics” in desperate search of audiences to go beyond the limit.

    What next? Malia Obama jokes?

  • the Word

    Actually, Limbaugh, the guy thought by most as the leader of your party went after Chelsea Clinton when she was abut the same age. Unless he is seen as a comedian that might have been worse.

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot michael reynolds

    Dave has now explained and apologized: he was referring to Bristol, who is of age and not a 14 year-old.

  • Simon

    Forgot to mention:

    You know what’s really tiresome? People getting preemptively offended on behalf of 3rd parties. Can’t we at least wait to find out whether Palin’s daughter even heard the joke, never mind was upset by it?

    That assumes that the comment was only offensive and in bad taste if its butt thought so. That relativism-on-stilts just isn’t credible.

    Justin Gardner Says:

    Sara as a joke? I’ve never seen anybody else do that on purpose….

    It’s just funny that the misspelling is used often in comments here, and not only by KK. What’s that about?

    the Word Says:

    Actually, Limbaugh, the guy thought by most as the leader of your party

    He may be so considered by many on the left, but not by any serious Republicans I’ve ever met or read.

  • Simon

    # michael reynolds Says:

    Dave has now explained and apologized: he was referring to Bristol, who is of age and not a 14 year-old.

    Except Bristol wasn’t the one at the game, as Justin noted, so his excuse doesn’t work. The joke is predicated at presence at the game, so the butt of the joke is the child who was there–which was Willow, not Bristol.

    I have a teenaged child, so I’m familiar with the kind of game Dave’s playing here. Allow me to translate:

    “David, why did you do that?”
    “I don’t know” [insta-translation: “I thought it would be fin and I didn’t think I’d get caught.”]

  • Tully

    In Letterman’s defense, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t wriite all his own material. Yes, he should apologize, and then blame his teleprompter.

  • Justin Gardner


    It has been used by kk and gerryf and that’s about it. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    Also, glad to hear Dave apologized. But I think it’s pretty obvious that they were trying to make a joke aimed at Bristol since she was the butt of many jokes during the campaign. That doesn’t make that joke right either, but it’s certainly more appropriate since Bristol is of age.

    Last note, you have to consider the source. Letterman isn’t known for this type of stuff, which is why this post wasn’t entitled, “Letterman Does It Again!” So give the guy a break…until it happens again. Then you can call it a pattern and lay into him all you want.

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot michael reynolds


    It works if he thought it was Bristol. We don’t all memorize the Palin family. I for one had no idea she had another girl.

  • theWord

    Limbaugh lead the pack

    Curious who you would consider serious Republicans. Last one I knew left the party in 1980.

  • Simon

    theWord Says:

    Limbaugh lead the pack

    In the poll reported at the link you gave, “13 percent identified conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh” as “a ‘main person’ who speaks for the GOP” (emphasis added). So the poll doesn’t speak to who respondents think is the leader of the GOP (your claim above), and it puts a ceiling on the number of people who identify him as a leader: 13% of respondents. But since we know that the survey doesn’t only include Republicans, we can infer that the number of Republicans who so rated him is lower. So your link in fact supports my obserrvation, not yours.

    As to the ide that the “last” “serious Republican[]” “left the party in 1980,” that only goes to establish how little you know about the GOP, which is of course fed back into how the rest of us evaluate your claims about what the party believes. So far, “not very seriously” is winning.

  • the Word

    Usually the person who speaks for a group is the leader, That the number was only 13% is because they are clueless as to anyone actually leading the carcass. As to only people of your ilk, Republicans tied him and Newt which is still quite pathetic. Drug Addict Hypocrite and Marital hypocrite are the best you got.The witchcraft believer wasn’t even in the top tier.

    But I did see through the Empty Skirt so I am still up on you.

    Who do you think was/is a serious Republican. Key values would be intelligence, balanced arguments and not a hypocrite. I’ll be waiting. John Anderson was better than anyone you’ve had since he left. PERIOD by a mile

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot michael reynolds

    I hate to go all kumbaya here, but I’m actually feeling a weirdly unifying and clarifying moment as a result of today’s events.

    Let’s take a beat here and realize that whatever our political differences, cultural differences, however much we irritate each other, we are united in our opposition to and contempt for the sort of hate-filled creature who would enter a museum full of children and begin shooting.

    We don’t have to agree, we don’t have to like each other, but there are monsters in the world and we are not them. We’re Americans together, madly in love with our country, furious with haters, dedicated to the belief that all are created equal.

    Okay, that’s it. Resume combat.

  • kranky kritter

    My bad. SaraH is an empty skirt. Feel better, Simon?

    I still think this is manufactured outrage. It was just a simple joke in bad taste. And as I suspected and others pointed out was quite possible, Letterman probably didn’t even know which daughter was at the game.

    Since I don’t have an infinite tank of outrage, I’m saving mine for stuff that matters. This aint it. Was it a nice joke? Nope, it sure wasn’t. Comedy usually isn’t nice.

  • Jeremy from NJ

    Why could Sara (vs Sarah) be used as an intentional affront?

    Does it mean something in a language or culture I’m unaware of?

    My first impression is that KK sucks at spelling names – I can’t spell Michael without spell check, but I’m not doing it on purpose.

    Also, does anyone besides me see this as another manifestation of Simon’s unhealthy “relationship” with Sarah Palin?

  • Jeremy from NJ

    KK: Are you familiar with Doug Stanhope? Very funny! Seems like he might fit with your mileage on comedy.

    Simon: You won’t like him at all. Don’t follow this link:

  • Tully

    With you, Michael. And a truly weird evil thing he apparently was. The words “severe chronic mental illness”come to mind.

  • the Word

    Still ok to own a gun though.