David Letterman and the Culture of Liberal Entitlement

David Letterman feels entitled.

He’s entitled to use spew crude, sexually degrading invective to portray a teenage girl as a sexual object.

Maybe you saw it on one of the highlight reels, one awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game. During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

The hardest part of her visit [to New York] was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter

He’s entitled to use a class and gender based slur to demean the most popular sitting governor in the United States.

[Sarah Palin] bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her “slutty flight attendant” look

And he’s entitled to smugly repeat his rank insults while delivering a non-apology to Sarah Palin in painstakingly choreographed deadpan, milking each sexist remark one more time to the delight of a fawning audience.

What gives Dave Letterman license to repeatedly troll the gutter without ever dirtying his Worldwide Pants?


Didn’t you realize?  He can’t be sexist, he’s a liberal.  He’s no misogynist – he votes Democrat.  Like all liberals, Dave will tell you he loves women.  He respects them.  Isn’t he pro-choice?  Isn’t he sufficiently appalled by breast cancer? Doesn’t he joke all the time about those brutish southerners who beat their wives with Confederate flags? Haven’t you heard?  He’s a card carrying liberal. Liberal, I tell you.  Liberal!

Among his liberal buddies, Letterman can get away with pretending that he intended to insult Sarah Palin’s 18-year-old daughter Bristol, not her younger child Willow.  But Willow was at the ballgame, Bristol was thousands of miles away, and Letterman is the skeevy guy in dress shoes and a tan trench coat who bares it all to a 14-year-old girl on the subway, then swears to the cops, “But I thought she was 18,” as he’s being hauled off to jail.

“Look at my record,” Dave told his audience as he clarified his remarks about Willow.  What he means is he’s on record as being liberal.  He knows the secret handshake and everything!  And as we all know, liberal men are inherently sensitive to sexism in our society.

You see, liberal identity is a bubble that protects those inside from accusations of sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry. It’s considered a nearly unassailable defense against the indefensible.  It’s a free pass, a blind eye, and a Get Out of Jail Free card all rolled into one.

Racially and sexually charged jabs are still acceptable in liberal circles because it’s mutually acknowledged that they know better.  It’s not like they’re conservatives – you know, the real sexists – so they can say and do as they please without inviting the same consequences a conservative would incur.

And if the target is a conservative woman, well, even better because there’s no chance those pesky feminists will get their panties in a collective bunch.  Melissa Clouthier explains why:

Women on the Right, are not considered women. Period. They are considered gender traitors. There simply can be no honest disagreement. This is thought policing and fascistic thinking at it’s worst.

David Letterman is also no stranger to bigoted, elitist one-liners about the Palin family’s middle class roots, and by extension, all people of average means.  In addition to the “slutty flight attendant” slur, Michelle Malkin dug up the following examples of Letterman’s oh so enlightened commentary about Sarah Palin:

“You know, she reminds me, she looks like the flight attendant who won’t give you a second can of Pepsi. No, you’ve had enough. We’re landing. Looks like the waitress at the coffee shop who draws a little smiley face on your check. Have a nice day.”

“She looks like the dip sample lady at Safeway. She looks like the nurse who weighs you and then makes you sit alone in your underwear for 20 minutes. She looks like the Olive Garden hostess who says, ‘I’m sorry, your table isn’t ready yet.” She looks like infomercial lady who says she made $64,000 a month flipping condos.”

“[S]he looks like the lady at the bakery who yells out ‘44! 45!’ She looks like a real estate agent whose picture you see on the bus stop bench. That’s who she looks like. She looks like the lady who has a chain of cupcake stores…”

But don’t forget, liberalism absolves Dave from responsibility for the classism he perpetuates when he derides Sarah Palin by comparing her to working class people.  Everyone knows liberals are sensitive and open-minded, and that entitles him to say what he wants without ever expecting to be raked over the coals.

As many writers have observed, the feminist silence on Letterman’s sexually inappropriate remarks about Sarah and Willow Palin is predictably deafening.  The unwritten rule is that feminism stands for liberal women – authentic women – not conservative women who are, by virtue of their conservatism, anti-woman.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) and Ms. Magazine both declined to send representatives to be interviewed for an On The Record segment about Letterman’s sexually derogatory treatment of the governor and her daughter.  Instead, NOW opted to release a statement as critical of conservatives as it was of Dave Letterman.

NOW hopes that all the conservatives who are fired up about sexism in the media lately will join us in calling out sexism when it is directed at women who aren’t professed conservatives.”

NOW also managed to miss the real thrust of Letterman’s remarks about Sarah Palin:

Letterman also joked about what he called Palin’s “slutty flight attendant look” — yet another example of how the media love to focus on a woman politician’s appearance, especially as it relates to her sexual appeal to men.

Yes, the media focus on Sarah Palin’s appearance often delves into sexist territory.  But what about the use of the word “slutty,” NOW?  Slutty doesn’t speak to “her sexual appeal to men.” It reinforces the belief that by being attractive and fertile, Sarah Palin invites attacks on her virtue as a woman.  It says, you can’t be a beautiful woman, a good wife, a loving mother, and a career politician.  Pick one.

The response that NOW should have given was instead delivered by a fledgling feminist organization called The New Agenda.

“Letterman’s apology talk last night was cheap,” said The New Agenda co-founder and President Amy Siskind. “True contrition would not invite the Palin’s on his show after publicly humiliating them and their 14-year old daughter. If Letterman’s apology is authentic, he should show it by devoting part of his show to address the national crisis of the sexualization of our teenage daughters.”

The New Agenda was also happy to publish my recent piece on Playboy’s conservative rape fantasy article.

Feminists, that is how it’s done.

Amy Siskind, founder of The New Agenda, took her message to The Huffington Post yesterday in a piece called, “Sexism Against Conservative Women Is Still Sexism.”  Think it would be hard to argue with that simple concept?  You’d be wrong.  Here’s a tiny selection of what the HuffPo commenters had to say about Sarah Palin and sexism:

propitiousmoment: ” She wants to use her sexuality to advance her agenda … might I say, the classic definition of a bimbo.”

andyboy: “To defend a woman from a sexist attack simply because she is a woman is actually the essence of sexism.”

voltaireinexile: “She played the pretty-sexy-mama card all along, undermining what many women have fought so hard against –the objectification of women”

arnray: “Palin and the rest use their sexuality to numb the senses of the dullards and then cry foul when someone throws it back at them.”

Gainsbourg69: “When a woman wants to be considered more than just a sex object she should take steps necessary to avoid being labeled a sex object. Simple.”

Wilson201: “Palin marginalizes her own opinions by dressing the way she does just as Prejeans opinion is by posing barely clothed. If they wish to be taken seriously, then they should dress and behave properly.

Amy’s piece also attracted a host of comments insisting there’s nothing sexist about calling Palin a “slutty flight attendant” if the shoe fits.  Right.  Palin was practically begging for Dave’s insults just like Michelle Malkin invited the Playboy rape fantasy.  Is it any wonder where conservative writers like Kathleen Parker, trying to curry favor with the media elite, pick up ideas like this:

I also think it’s out of line for a woman to sexualize her candidacy, which Palin did. Just ask Rich Lowry, who wrote that he had to sit up a little straighter when she winked during the vp debate. So, maybe when you play the flirt and invite males to see starbursts bouncing off the walls (Lowry again), then maybe you invite the sexual punchline.

It’s clear that sexually demeaning the women with whom we disagree is more mainstream than ever.  It’s a cancer that’s metastasized throughout media, politics, and entertainment, rubber stamped by the liberal sentiment that calling oneself a feminist makes it so.  And conservative women aren’t the only targets.  Just ask Hillary Clinton, who discovered liberal-approved sexism firsthand during her campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Sexism, racism, and all the other -isms aren’t any more acceptable if you happen to dislike or disagree with the target.  This shouldn’t need to be said.  And it doesn’t matter if you’re a comedian or a liberal.  Sexism always matters.  And no political affiliation gives you license to hurl sexually inappropriate insults at women and girls without fear of consequences.


22 Responses to “David Letterman and the Culture of Liberal Entitlement”

  1. Twitter “Follow Friday” Linkapalooza! | Ironic Surrealism v3.0 on June 12th, 2009 5:28 pm

    […] Jenn Q. Public (Rob’s other half  –what a dynamic duo they make.) asks “What gives Dave Letterman license to repeatedly troll the gutter without ever dirtying his Worldwide…” No worries she answers her own question with a slam dunk I might […]

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  5. dave christensen on June 12th, 2009 11:01 pm

    Another blog said it’s time to fight back. Do It! Write letters, post signs in your yard, call your representatives (local, state, national). Tell them you are fed up with the likes of Obama, Letterman, Behar, Frank, Pelosi and their hate speech.

  6. Tom on June 13th, 2009 4:47 pm

    you guys are all looney………

  7. Gena on June 13th, 2009 11:51 pm

    There are two reasons and two reasons only why the liberal celebrities and media consistently pick on the right wing extremests such as Sarah Palin. (1) She is a Republican, pro-life and proud of it; and (2) because that’s what liberals do. By gosh if she were to show her arms like Michelle Obama they would call Sarah a whore. How come they don’t go after Obama’s little darlings? HEY LIBS HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CHANGE SO FAR?

  8. DodiaFae on June 14th, 2009 11:49 am

    So… women who want to be taken seriously should avoid being attractive? OK. What about Hillary Clinton? I’m not saying she’s unattractive, but enough of the media likes to say so, and many make fun of her appearance. So a woman in politics is basically screwed either way. She’s either an attractive butt of “bimbo” jokes, or unattractive, called “masculine”, and the butt of jokes. Where’s the happy medium? Why don’t people make fun of the looks of the men in politics? Should Obama be considered a “mimbo” because he’s considered attractive by many and bore his chest in photos? And don’t get me started on Cheney…

    Rob might be able to tell you that I’ve never, ever been a fan of Sarah Palin, but her looks aren’t any sort of reason to dislike her politics (or like them, for that matter!)

    And making her young teen daughter the butt of such sexist jokes is appalling. I was always pissed when anyone made jokes about Chelsea Clinton’s appearance (who, btw, has grown up to be a beautiful young lady), and now they’re getting away with making sexist remarks about Willow.

  9. DodiaFae on June 14th, 2009 11:57 am

    Someone has gone after Obama’s girls… a pro-pedophile activist named Lindsay Ashford posted pictures of them on his “Girl Chat” site, where he and others talked about how “sexy” they are. Obama’s lawyers had the pictures removed once, but when they were reportedly put back up, they apparently couldn’t be bothered with it again. They didn’t make further attempts to disassociate themselves from Ashford, either.

    How sad is it that Obama was too busy to protect his daughters from this sort of exploitation? That still bothers me to no end.

  10. Jenn Q. Public on June 14th, 2009 7:11 pm

    DodiaFae wrote:

    I’ve never, ever been a fan of Sarah Palin, but her looks aren’t any sort of reason to dislike her politics (or like them, for that matter!

    Very true. And Letterman is worse than that, because he’s not disliking her politics because of her looks; rather, he hates her politics so he’s using her looks, class, and gender as a bludgeon to try to beat her into submission or silence. And he’s dragging her kids into it which, as you wrote, was wrong when Chelsea was the target and it’s just as wrong today.

    Many men and women who hate Sarah Palin and what she stands for are more than happy to look the other way or let Letterman use the “I’m a comedian” defense. As James Lileks wrote in a column today, to many on the left, “Palin is a non-woman thing in heels.” That sort of response is why sexism in the media has been escalating over the last year or so. And that’s bad for all women.

  11. Philosophical Divide & Moral Relativism: Sarah Palin vs. Katie Couric & David Letterman « Frugal Café Blog Zone on June 15th, 2009 11:24 am

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  12. ron on June 15th, 2009 3:09 pm

    david letterman is a member of the liberal elite. they don’t answer to anyone. just as in marxism/communism – there is the ruling elite who are entitled to caviar and vodka, and the working class that fights to get enough to eat. there are the al gore’s that fly around in private jets, needlessly, all over the world – and there are the rest of us who must curb our carbon emissions. there are the michael moores who are morbidly obese and health time bombs – and there are the rest of us who are being forced to pay for their ignorance through social medicine. there are the barrack obama’s who work behind armed guards with 24/7 armed protection for them and their familiy’s, and there are the rest of us who risk losing our second amendment rights to protect ourselves. in socialisms there are two classes – the ruling elite, and the workers. david letterman is a an angry rich liberal hypocrit. he considers himself part of the ruling elite. you can’t touch him. now get back to work.

  13. Jenn Q. Public on June 15th, 2009 3:20 pm


    No. Letterman imagines himself as part of the ruling elite, but he is just as vulnerable as anyone else. Case in point, Embassy Suites has already pulled all advertising from CBS, not just Letterman’s show, in response to public outcry. He’s not as untouchable as he’d like to believe.

  14. Dave Letterman and the Culture of Liberal Entitlement - Smart Girl Nation on June 16th, 2009 12:25 am

    […] article originally appeared on JennQPublic.com. Tags: Adult Content, Alex Rodriguez, Bloomingdale, classism, David Letterman, davidletterman, […]

  15. boldandbald on June 16th, 2009 8:36 am

    repost from Autographed Letter Signed:

    Jenn, another spot on post. It amazes me that so many of the comments that you quoted talk about how Palin played up her sexuality so she invited the criticism. I never saw her play up her sexuality. I saw her on stage with her family, holding her son, always looking very appropriate. The ‘wink’ during the VP debate had nothing to do with sexuality. What, exactly does the left think she should have done? Put on a burka? Or are attractive women just not allowed to run for office? If their sexually depraved minds can’t look at an attractive woman without imagining that she must want them otherwise she wouldn’t look so good, that is their problem, not hers.

    As for Letterman’s diatribe about how Sarah Palin looks like a flight attendant, waitress, nurse, etc., while I know he meant it as a put down, the fact is he is right. She does look like those women. And those women are America. And so is Sarah Palin. And that is the real reason that so many on the left hate her, because they hate America.

  16. Jenn Q. Public on June 16th, 2009 1:24 pm


    Thanks for reposting your comment here. You liked that quote about the wink, huh? Isn’t it just appalling that there are actually people who pretend that a simple wink of the eye is some sort of come hither gesture?

    I agree that Sarah Palin has an American everywoman quality to her. Since we know how Letterman feels about Sarah Palin, his insults to flight attendants, waitresses, etc. were also insults to women in all those professions.

  17. The Left’s Definition of Victims & Role Models: Sonja Schmidt, on Elizabeth Edwards, Mark Levin, and Sarah Palin (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone on June 17th, 2009 11:36 am

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  20. Channeling Mark Morford: A list of reasons I’m not a “real woman” « Sister Toldjah on June 28th, 2010 6:55 pm

    […] on the Left have had it affirmed for them time and again that misogyny is perfectly acceptable – even desirable – as long as women on the Right are the targets. Even public rape fantasies about conservative […]

  21. Filmmaker John Ziegler Defends Sarah Palin, Denounces Media’s Attacks on Her Children… Heated Interview on ‘The View’ about Media Bias « Frugal Café Blog Zone on January 20th, 2011 6:49 pm

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  22. Joseph Kent on February 17th, 2012 1:17 am

    Letterman has a serious psychological malady. He has frequently made lamenting jokes about how pathetic his hair is; and how homely he is.

    Self-deprecating humor is fine; but I have never understood why a man who depends on ratings to convince sponsors of his worth would go so far to the left when he could appeal to both sides of the aisle with balanced humor; make more money, and have a much wider audience. Sometimes, even in otherwise gifted brains, dementia starts early.
    Just watch for his pathetic, endless parade of unintentional nervous twitches.
    He’s pretty close to fried.

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