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Ace on Letterman’s Hypocrisy (Update)

John on October 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Ace makes a good point about the deeper hypocrisy of David Letterman:

Check out this clip of Letterman with Dr. Phil, in which Letterman will not stop ragging on Sarah Palin (supposedly) for failing to talk to her daughter about birth control. (I say supposedly because Letterman is really just going after Sarah Palin for anything at all, and doesn’t much care if his weapon of choice here is a 17 year old girl.)

Watch him immediately dismiss Dr. Phil’s mention of the fact that Barack Obama’s mother was 18 when she became (unexpectedly, I’d imagine) pregnant with him. “Well I’ve got no problem with 18!” Letterman “jokes.”

But there’s a deeper hypocrisy here.

Anyone who thinks the marriage-avoiding, commitment-phobic, young-staffer-banging intended to get his long-time live-in girlfriend pregnant out of wedlock, please raise you hands.

The point of course is that Letterman was happy to harp on Palin’s failure to educate her children about condoms even as it’s pretty clear Dave himself made the same mistake as Palin’s minor daughter. So, in the spirit of Buckley…Resolved: Dave is a grade A hypocrite.

As for my earlier post, which Ace mentions in passing, I agree that the fact Letterman made jokes about political sex scandals and then got caught in one of his own is pretty plain-vanilla as far as hypocrisy goes. My point wasn’t his hypocrisy for doing it, per se. In fact I never used that word. I used irony. What I was trying (and maybe failing) to point out was something else. Here’s part of what I wrote:

I find it a little hard to feel sorry for the guy who was only too happy to shame and embarrass other people’s families with one-liners all these years.

It just seemed to me that Letterman was framing it in such a way that he was the victim. Now it’s true he was the victim of an extortion plot. But he used that as cover to admit the¬† part in which he wasn’t a victim, he was a cad.

It seemed to me, and still does, that Letterman had some nerve coming on TV and asking the audience for sympathy.

Oh, poor me. This has all been so scary. I hope I get to keep my job. I just want to protect the people involved. Etc.

You can’t skewer people for doing this same sort of thing year after year and then, when you get caught, beg the audience to give you a victim pass or even a think-of-my-kids pass. That, in my view, goes beyond vanilla hypocrisy into something more like Rocky Road or maybe even Prailines and Cream.

But Ace is completely right about the most important point. Letterman hasn’t been funny for at least a decade. Maybe now is a good time for CBS to replace him with someone fresh.

Update: Poor Dave gets an extended ovation. Poor guy. Wait, what did he do to deserve this exactly?

More: I’m with Lisa.

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