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Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

Mean Men

Posted Friday, June 12, 2009, at 2:32 PM

In 2004, there was a movie called Mean Girls, with Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Tina Fey. The movie showed how cruel teenage girls can be toward each other with their rules of high school conformity. The cruelty of the teen years for girls was not a new subject. In 1995, Mary Pipher explored the issue in her bestselling book Reviving Ophelia, explaining that at adolescence, "girls become 'female impersonators' who fit their whole selves into small, crowded spaces." As adults, we shake our heads when we hear about the new lengths kids will go to with "cyber-bullying" and just the general cruel comments and rumors girls spread about each other. So I find it even more disturbing that recently there have been a few instances in the media of grown men making fun of teenage girls.

On his show on June 8th, David Letterman made remarks about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's trip to New York: "One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez." The next night, he continued his attack on Palin's daughter, stating that the hardest part of Palin's trip was "keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter." Disgusting, Letterman. Truly disgusting.

In Mean Girls, the main character concluded that girls tear each other down in a misguided effort to build themselves up. Why then does a 62 year-old-man, secure in his career, feel a need to make degrading remarks about a teenage girl? Furthermore, it's been a widely held principle that the children of political candidates are off limits for lampooning. Their parents chose to be in the spotlight, not them.

Another teenage girl who has been the target of cruelty is 16 year-old singer Miley Cyrus. In April on his radio show The Foxxhole, Jamie Foxx made disparaging remarks about Cyrus's appearance, remarking "She's got to get a gum transplant!" Then he suggested that Cyrus "make a sex tape and grow up. Get like Britney Spears and do some heroin. Do like Lindsay Lohan and get some crack in your pipe ... That's what I want." Pathetic, Foxx. Really pathetic.

Even if you want to make the distinction that Miley Cyrus chose a career in entertainment and is therefore fair game for media scrutiny, again I have to ask: Why would a grown man, established in his own career, want to pick on a teenage girl? It's not like they're up for the same acting roles. Perhaps in Letterman's case, though, such comments do come from a place of insecurity. Not only were his comments distasteful, they were so far from funny, they prove he is past his prime and ready to retire.



Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

While I did not find Letterman's comments funny or tasteful, it should not be so different than any other celebrity he makes fun of. Palin put her daughter in the national media. If you want to be famous, you know you are going to catch resistance, regardless of your age.

Foxx's comments were made with heavy sarcasm. Everyone makes a big deal about them because they have not actually heard the audio. The gum comment was distasteful but the second part was sort of a compliment, pointing out that Miley is much different than the other pop stars of her generation.

-- Posted by mccookreader on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 3:47 PM

I figure, if you're going to be a celebrity or just in the spot light, you'd better be ready to take on the critics. It was just a joke...poor one, but a joke. It just goes to show you that she's no more ready to take on running a country let alone her own personal life.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 4:33 PM

mccookreader, Rurual Citizen, You would tolerate some person, no matter who, to effectively call your daughter a slut? I find that hard to believe, I truly do. But, I guess, if you don't think that comment is wrong about Governor Palin's daughter, I can but say: Shame on you.


-- Posted by Navyblue on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 6:51 PM

What is the big deal?

After all, Bill Maher laughed quite loudly and clearly about little girls that are raped by their own fathers and got applause for it:


-- Posted by Mariano on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 7:02 PM

Arley, well said.

McCookreader, regardless of age, eh? Does that mean President Obama's daughters are fair game too? No. Their dad went into politics. Not them.

I have never found humor in violence against women or degrading remarks about women, regardless of whether those remarks come from liberals or conservatives. I didn't like it when Rush Limbaugh referred to Chelsea Clinton as the White House dog either. Even if you are a fan of someone who has made an offensive comment, I believe you have a responsibility to call them on it. Mean is just mean.

-- Posted by saveryhinze on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 8:15 PM

This is a great point. It applies to all political views. Leave the kids the hell alone. And I agree. Letterman should hang it up; he's un-funny.

I wish I heard more from you and less from the extreme political bloggers on this site. But that having-a-life thing probably gets in the way. Good for you, I'm sure Kent's proud.

-- Posted by fmh on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 12:16 PM

Excellent points, Lori.

I would kindly like to add the following.

Mr. Letterman was so far over the line of good taste with those 'jokes' he would need binoculars and an updated GPS system to find his way back.

I quit watching his show last year. I found the comic edge that I had once enjoyed watching had taken on a mean-spiritedness I could not stomach. I had been a fan since his daytime show in the 80's.

If a parent made the choice to be in the public eye, it is one thing to challenge the adult or poke a bit of fun at the adult but the kids should be off limits. Period.

Quite frankly, a true gentleman, who was issuing a sincere apology, would fly to Alaska (since he has the finanical means to do so) and apologize in person, in front of the young lady's parents, and without an audience. That might be a better life lesson for his own son.


-- Posted by coolidge on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 1:51 PM

I'd like to know where all of you were when Rush Limbaugh was making his rude tasteless jokes about Chelsea Clinton when she was 12.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, Jun 14, 2009, at 3:03 PM

Ugh. I wondered why a blog not done by Sam Eldridge or Mike Hendricks would get more than a few replies. I know that Palin is the new "poster child" for conservatives, but that doesn't mean that whenever anybody defends or speaks well of Palin, that people have to be all huffy about it. It's like "Arg, mateys! Somebody darr be defendin' Palin! Fire all guns on them conservatives! Blast 'em with the scurvy dealins' of Limbaugh and O'Reilly! Point the finger back, even if they not be pointing it at us! We can let 'em be painted in a sympathetic light!"

Seriously, people. It's all fine if you're "politically charged," but that doesn't mean you should jump down everyone who defends politicially-biased people as, y'know, people. Whether you server God or Atheismo or whatever, I doubt any of them appreciate being shoved aside for the great elephant and donkey in the sky.

-- Posted by bjo on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 12:02 PM

My apologies. My pirate tirade was more towards the last two posters. Though I'm not sure how Rural Citizen gets the idea that Palin didn't "take on the critics." Or rather, those that would make a joke at her family's expense.

-- Posted by bjo on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 12:15 PM

I think I'll write my next blog about puppies. Can we all agree on puppies?

-- Posted by saveryhinze on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 3:28 PM

If I were to have a daughter, of course I would not appreciate her being called a slut.

But in our day in age if i were to become famous and the whole world knew of my daughter, I would not be shocked to hear a late night joke about her. People who take little comments like this are quite frankly over-sensitive.

Would I invite letterman to my next party? NO. Would I try to take his show off air? No. This is America after all. A nation used as a pillar for free speech.

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

-- Posted by mccookreader on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 12:02 PM

When it comes to Palin's daughter all i can say is ......

If the shoe fits...

Should he have called her a slut?? probably not.... but she is yet another statistic of teenage pregnancies in America..

-- Posted by S&DC on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 4:40 PM

Mike, let me tell you where I was at. I was listening to Rush's radio show and watching his TV show, and only once did Rush make a comment on Chelsea Clinton. ONCE. It was during a show where Chelsea's picture was to be shown, and instead the family's dog photo was posted. Rush apologized immediately and the media, rightfully so, beat him up over it.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Thu, Jun 25, 2009, at 8:55 PM

fredd my friend, you just lied.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Mon, Oct 19, 2009, at 10:10 PM

fredd, are you drunk?

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 7:06 PM

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Lori Savery-Hinze
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