Friday, October 2, 2009

The Letterman Should Get an F for Humoring the Staff

Funny men have been making fun of others for thousands of years. In classical Greece Aristophanes, the playwright skewered Socrates and other philosophers in several of his plays. Nothing wrong with that, except that no one dared skewer Aristophanes who was a mean fellow.

But shouldn't ‘turn about’ be fair play with comics and entertainers? Leading a double life seems the acceptable norm for notorious comics, to wit: Roman Polansky, Jerry Seinfeld, Peewee Herman, Woody Allen, and other notorious funny men. They exploit their public persona --the false image of a sanctimonious and pious individual-- not only to get laughs, but often to torture their targets.

To malign Sarah Palin's daughter was not only cruel but low and mean and despicable.

It seems that the public tolerates their abusive behavior as long as they get decent entertainment. But we are beginning to realize that their personal acts are neither entertaining nor decent.

Sexual harassment

David Letterman comes across as a fellow who never does wrong; hence the license to abuse the vulnerable. Now it turns out that the "letterman" is a fellow who does do wrong: he's a predator. A sexual predator indeed. How can a staffer keep her job, and ward off the advances of the boss? Not funny at all. No way.

In other places of work, this is called coercion and 'sexual harassment.'

And where is the moral outrage? The advertisers aren't pulling out and the network hasn't condemned such abusive behavior.

Women’s rights

Not a single women's rights organization has expressed indignation at Letterman's behavior. What are they waiting for? Are we to believe that the females employees' sexual participation was part of the job description? Yeah, right! David Letterman’s sordid affairs has set back women’s rights back the pre-Anita Hill era.

So what makes David Letterman different from our former fallen New York Governor Eliot Spitzer or even our former president Bill Clinton? Well, you might say one is a comic and the others are hypocrites. But does the moral law apply to one and not the others?

While Eliot Spitzer was run out of office, and Bill Clinton was impeached, David Letterman might negotiate an even larger contract. And a larger staff to satisfy him? Go figure.

Meanwhile, that poor soul, Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, the alleged extortionist has been arraigned. And David Letterman has been given a pass--but shouldn't Halderman be protected under the "Whistle-blower" law?

The AP said that Letterman had created a "brilliant, unsettling hour of TV." Linda Stasi of the New York Post, said Letterman's "explanation-as-monologue was nothing short of brilliant." Of course the AP is a faceless bureaucracy, but Linda Stasi isn't. She's a woman who defends sex predators. "Brilliant" indeed--not shady is the language of choice to describe this comic janus.

Let's see how this plays out. For once I'd like to see justice upright and not upside down, where the sex offender is the victim and the whistle-blower is the villain.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers


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