Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where We Stand

Our anti-Republican culture has attributes that make it similar to anti-Americanism in Europe and anti-Semitism in the Middle East. Where does our anti-Republican culture stand in terms of its intensity when compared to these other cultures?

CBS and The Late Show with David Letterman give us some insight. With the June 8, 2009 taping of the show, the writers engaged in some Sarah Palin jokes, characterizing the Republican Governor as “slutty” and her daughter as having sex with a Yankees ballplayer at the game. (A pretty good summary of the events is provided by Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times.)

While the characterizations may be offensive, the larger question is “What gave the Letterman writers the go-ahead to create these jokes?”

The answer is NOT the management at CBS. Rather, it is our anti-Republican culture that approves of this behavior. While it would be inappropriate to make similar jokes about other groups or individuals, our culture deems it acceptable when Republicans are the target.

Would it be appropriate for Europeans to refer to American leaders as “slutty”? During a week of D-Day remembrances and a visit from an American President, it probably wouldn’t happen.

Would it be appropriate for people in the Middle East to make such comments about people of the Jewish faith? I’m afraid it is so commonplace that it wouldn’t even make news.

This places America’s anti-Republican cultural fervor somewhere between the anti-American sentiment of Europe and the anti-Semitism of the Middle East

The good thing about this incident is that in the United States, David Letterman’s comments made news. It would NOT be good if the remarks were so accepted that they made no news at all.

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