Mr. Letterman, Misogyny Is NEVER, EVER, Funny

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David Letterman

No matter where you stand in the American political color schema, red, blue, or purple, the children of politicians must be off-limits.

The minor children of politicians are private citizens who are in the public view due to the career choice of their parents. Politicians are public figures and therefore ripe targets for satirists, comedians, and the writers of Saturday Night Live.

Each election cycle, some commentator says something stupid and hurtful about someone’s child, usually a girl child.

Amy Carter was ridiculed for being awkward and bookish. Ken Hamblin, a popular Denver radio host, referred to Chelsea Clinton as the homeliest first daughter, ever. It should be noted, that he was genuinely amazed to find himself in the middle of an angry firestorm of condemnation, and nearly lost his gig. He apologized.  God only knows what would have happened if he would have inferred that the President Clinton’s daughter was a slut.

It took sixteen more years for the public discourse to descend to the level that an aging talk-show host felt a completely inappropriate, perverted joke about the 14-year old daughter of Sara Palin, was humorous.

Letterman’s blatantly, sexist jokes targeted Alaska governor Sarah Palin and one of her daughters, who were visiting New York City. Leering into the camera, Letterman recounted, “One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.” Noting that Palin’s 14-year old daughter, Willow, accompanied her to the baseball game. Parsing that sentence out, he is accusing Rodriguez of statutory rape. In all the furor of the mean-spirited comment, I was personally surprised that Rodriguez’s lawyer didn’t visit papers over Letterman’s balding head.

Palin responded by calling the jokes “sexually perverted comments.” On the show following the incident, Letterman stated “these are not jokes made about her 14-year old daughter” and that he “would never, never joke about raping a 14-year old.” He said that jokes were about Palin’s 18-year-old daughter, Bristol Palin, while acknowledging the joke was “ugly,” “cheap,” and “in poor taste.”

As I listened to him stammer on, I just blinked my eyes.

So any woman who has a child out of wedlock is a slut and an easy target for degradation.  Fascinating worldview, considering this aging roué has a live-in girlfriend and a son born out of wedlock. Based on his viciously judgmental comments about 18-year old Bristol, does Letterman consider the mother of his son, his mistress, a whore? In a previous time in American culture, all of Letterman’s millions would not protect his “illegitimate” son from the label of bastard. Today’s culture recognizes that that appellation should be reserved for the father of the innocent child.

The following week, Letterman further addressed the situation, stating that the joke was “beyond flawed” and accepting full responsibility. He apologized to Palin’s daughters Bristol and Willow by name, as well as to “the governor and her family, and everybody else who was outraged by the joke.” Letterman said he would try to do better in the future. Following the broadcast, Palin issued a statement saying that she accepted Letterman’s apology.

Letterman reached so far into the muck, he will never be able to wash the scent of mean-spirited misogyny from his public persona.

Sexism against one woman, degrades ALL WOMEN

I was deeply disappointed and disturbed about Arianna Huffington’s comment that Palin was displaying “manufactured outrage” over Letterman’s disgusting sex jokes.  Women protect their young, period. American politics is a quid pro quo environment, a more-or-less equal exchange of pain and humiliation — “tit for tat”; or in this case, “you scratch my eyes out, and I’ll scratch yours”. Women must not help men sexually objectify or trivialized other women — not if any one of us hopes to be taken seriously.

If Letterman had used the exact same joke, but featured Michelle Obama and Malia, instead of Palin and Willow. Obama’s outrage would be no more manufactured than Palin’s. CBS would be carrying the has-been, unfunny man out of the Ed Sullivan Theater on his shield, to be interned, after a very short, private service,  in the general vicinity of New Jersey’s  Meadowlands. Women protect their young, period.

In the mean time, we do what we can to educate both men and women the value of protecting girls and young women. In Texas there is an expression, “You can’t fix stupid.” However, I believe with a united effort, one can make stupid uncomfortable enough to retire from public view. Please contact CBS and ALL of Letterman’s sponsors. It’s time to put Letterman in time out for bad behavior.

Letterman must experience a tangible downside to his behavior; otherwise it emboldens and perhaps encourages the next generation of “Wise-Guys” to attack another girl or woman.

The following list was developed by the Political Satire site HillBuzz. Visit and support them. They prove you can be snarky and smart, instead of snarkynd mean.

List of David Letterman’s Advertisers

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On June 8th, 2009 David Letterman “joked” about 33-year old Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees statutory-raping 14 year-old Willow Palin during the game at the new Yankees Stadium.  Willow Palin was the only Palin daughter at the game with her mother, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  Letterman “joked” that Palin’s “daughter got knocked up by Alex Rodriguez” during the game.  Sex between a 33 year-old and a 14 year-old is statutory rape.  Letterman then followed this vulgarity up on June 9th, 2009 by comparing 14 year-old Willow Palin to one of disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s prostitutes, while calling Governor Palin herself “a slutty flight attendant”.

Every day, add the advertisers you see on David Letterman or his website to this thread so a constantly updated running list is maintained.

Tell the following four companies you will no longer be patronizing them so long as they continue to advertise on Letterman:

Mars Candy (click for address and C-suite names)

The Olive Garden (click for address and full list of C-suite execs at Darden Restaurant group, owners of Olive Garden)

Kellogg’s (click for address and full list of C-suite execs)

Johnson + Johnson



Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.