Todd: "Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it, and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too."
Sarah (through her facebook page): "Concerning Letterman's comments about my young daughter (and I doubt he'd ever dare make such comments about anyone else's daughter): 'Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands - that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contribute to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.'"
Also, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill spoke out: "Letterman jokes about Palin's daughter. Way over the line. If it were my daughters I'd be furious. He should seriously apologize."
And finally, after Dave's non-apology and invitation to appear on his show Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton issued this statement: "The Palins have no intention of providing a rating's boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman."
And I loved Victor Davis Hanson's smackdown of Letterman's apology on the Corner today.
A Boor and a Coward [Victor Davis Hanson]
Smug, hip David Letterman offered a smirky non-apology about his ongoing class and sexist slurs against the Palins, his apparent social inferiors.
"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is — her name is Bristol, that's right, and so, then, now they're upset with me . . ."
"These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don't think it's funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn't put it in a joke..."
Examine the logic. First, Letterman makes a gutter joke about Palin and her unnamed 14-year-old daughter attending a NY Yankees game. Then when a bit of outrage follows, he apparently claims he really meant to slur the other 18-year-old daughter who, back in Alaska, of course did not attend the game but was not named by Letterman. That would be okay, you see.
Second, then he evokes the now common straw man "they" who are apparently "upset" with him, hoping to play the victim card. Then he dribbles out something about his "last show" as if we are to weep that some mob is out to silence him. (But the reason he picked the Palins, and not the Obamas, Gores, Bidens, or Kerrys, was precisely because he knew it would not equate to his "last show").
Third, he strangely amplifies his joke by confessing it really was about "raping" and "having sex of any description," but just not with a "14-year-old girl," suggesting it would have been okay had he just been more explicit and named Bristol, the 18-year-old. In Letterman's world, because Bristol is 18, she is a year past most statuary rape clauses and thus the joke would have only been about "raping or having sex of any description with a [18-year-old] girl."
Nothing offered about his slurs against airline attendants and Governor Palin herself, when he sneered that she had a "slutty flight-attendant look," or his remark that Palin "was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter."
The self-serving, creepy apology was as bad as the initial slur. Letterman is emblematic of an aging, baby-boomer culture, that dresses up street vulgarity with a tie and coat. The only thing that saves him is his care to do this with the Palins from Alaska who don't figure into the usual no-go race/class/gender paradigm.