Patterico's Pontifications

12/17/2009

Goldstein Fails to Address the Part of the Sarah Palin Example Dealing with Language

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:10 pm



Jeff Goldstein evidently overlooked the part of my Sarah Palin post that was about language, even though I put it in bold. Let me restate it simply.

What if Letterman knew young 14-year-old Willow was the girl at the game? Should that have caused him to change the phrasing of his joke?

Remember, Letterman said:

One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

Saying “her daughter,” it is clear, was ambiguous. Goldstein is sure he meant Bristol. His commenter Pablo, among many others, thinks he meant Willow. I’m not sure which he meant.

But what if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Pablo & Co. are right? That Letterman knew it was Willow? Should he have changed the phrasing??

Pretend that, before Letterman tells the joke, someone comes up to him and whispers:

You know, Dave, the daughter Palin had at the game was Willow. She’s 14 years old. Why don’t you change the phrase “her daughter” to “her daughter Bristol” — so that Willow doesn’t inadvertently get hurt?

Should Dave:

a) Refuse to change the language — after all, he knows what his intent is. If some listeners don’t get it, to hell with them. If many believe that a 14-year-old girl has been made the butt of a sex joke, that’s on them.

b) Add one word to the joke (“Bristol”) to make it clear it’s not about a 14-year-old — because, after all, a speaker should take account of how listeners, even those attempting to interpret his language according to his intent, might reasonably misinterpret his language.

Slightly modified version of the question: what if Dave, in his professional comedy opinion, thinks that adding the word “Bristol” isn’t quite as funny? Should he leave out the word and go with the slightly funnier joke, even though he knows that many listeners trying to divine his intent will conclude that he is making a sex joke about a 14-year-old?

81 Responses to “Goldstein Fails to Address the Part of the Sarah Palin Example Dealing with Language”

  1. I think if he had known he would have nixed the joke. Can that be c) or d)?

    happyfeet (2c63dd)

  2. The nasty old creep should not have told the joke at all. And Steinbrenner should have papered Yankee Stadium with “Letterman Is A Creep” posters.

    And no, I don’t think it would have been proper to refer to an eighteen year old mother, Bristol, that way, either.

    Goldstein’s brain is mush. Is that anti-Semitic, BTW? Are Jews known for eating mush?

    nk (df76d4)

  3. paste I think, nk

    happyfeet (2c63dd)

  4. Posts complaining about the topic will be deleted, until commenters get the message that if they don’t like the post, they should skip it — rather than take their time to post a boring comment about how the post is boring.

    Stay on topic or your comment goes poof. Along with all that work you put into it.

    chaos was first.

    Patterico (64318f)

  5. I think if he had known he would have nixed the joke. Can that be c) or d)?

    Absolutely.

    c) Does he tell the joke anyway, because his original intent was to mock Bristol? or

    d) Does he nix the joke, because you can’t artifically separate his intent from his knowledge?

    Good stuff. Discuss.

    Patterico (64318f)

  6. Oh come on. If that was complaining about the post you need to get a sense of humor or go visit one of those shady dispensaries before you finally shut them down (shame and a disgrace they were ever open and that’s coming from someone who thinks marijuana should be legal). Stop being so defensive if we can’t have good “firsts!” then what can we have? At least part of what motivated the comment was good old fashioned anticipation. If fun can’t be poked at you then what’s the point. If you were really offended by that comment maybe you are wrong and Goldstein is right.

    chaos (7c068a)

  7. maybe you really are wrong*, typo sorry. You completely misread my intent get over your itchy indignation trigger finger.

    chaos (7c068a)

  8. Within the situation as defined, I’d pick “D”. That said, however, he never should have delivered the joke regardless of which daughter he intended to mock. Both are children, innocent of their mother’s political stance; the purported reason for Dave’s hostility

    Angelo (5df281)

  9. I think chaos is well named. If only he called himself KAOS.

    Anyway, Patterico, I don’t delve into academic navel-gazing about intent. Letterman is simple to understand: he is a mean spirited nasty man filled with resentment-fueled snark. He thinks he is funny, and folks who like his show agree with him.

    No one really tells him, hey Dave, that is going too far. Which is why his protestations during his veering approaches to apology rang so false.

    Ironic humor seems fueled by resentment and faux-superiority. We have all seen it. Letterman has made a career of it.

    And as we now know, his own personal life suggests that he is not quite so superior as he might contend.

    It’s the Jon Stewart style “clown nose on/ clown nose off” strategy that grates.

    Letterman likes to make fun of other people. He does not like to be made fun of. Oh sure, he will put himself down, but that is entirely different. This is all fueled by his feelings of superiority.

    He has a lot of money. But it doesn’t appear to have made him happy or a better person.

    Years ago, I remember Letterman having a representative of McDonald’s in Japan on his show. The guy couldn’t speak English well at all. And Letterman kept asking him how much chalk he put in the milkshakes. The poor fellow kept insisting that he didn’t, and Letterman kept mugging for the camera, snickering, while the audience laughed.

    It was a cruel form of humor.

    And yet Letterman, and the folks in that audience laughing, thought that they were swell people. Yet they would be outraged if someone treated them precisely that way.

    Letterman is a partisan hack with a nasty sense of humor. He didn’t care about Palin’s daughters’ ages. He was going to get nasty about Palin in any way he could. I still say the best solution would be for Todd Palin to show up and suggest that they go have a beer together. Letterman would be shaking in his cowardly boots the entire time, because he knew full well he was being mean spirited and nasty about someone’s wife and daughter.

    Yet I can promise you he would be angry and do whatever he could to protect his own child. Because that is different.

    Except it isn’t.

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  10. If Letterman were smart, and he isn’t, he’d have tried the joke with Chelsea Clinton’s name, then with Obama’s daughter’s name. The dim bulb might have lit on the second option and he’d never have told the joke.

    PCD (216f9f)

  11. chaos – Your value added here is increasing exponentially by the thread. Carry on.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  12. Or E) He did not care which daughter it was (he/the writers knew “a” daughter was there and, apparently took no effort to clarify–otherwise there would have been no joke)–Therefore the “wrong daughter” explanation was a lie to cover his behind from the blow-back.

    I just went back to the video to “review” the “joke”–The content did not reference anything about the “daughter” than being knocked up and you could see live or on the high-lite reel. And there is no “content” that describes where they got the information that Palin+1 daughter attended the game (paper, video, etc.).

    The joke was written to cover either daughter (not knocked up “again” or a “second” daughter knocked up qualifiers). I don’t think Letterman cared.

    Letterman made the decision to go with “edgy” comedy. He insults all the time–It was a joke that went bad (or was still-born). Live with the consequences. The past cannot be changed.

    If every joke has to be explained and set into context–no joke would be funny.

    So, if he only cared about her being 14 after the fact–then the intent was he did not care at the time and no context/clarification would have changed his mind/delivery.

    He may care more now (aka blow back) and in the future would modify/clarify/axe this type of joke.

    BfC (5209ec)

  13. I think he assumed that it was Bristol at the game. Bristol was the promiscuous daughter. If he knew that Willow was the daughter at the game, there would have been nothing to joke about.

    It’s still wrong of him to make a joke at the expense of either daughter. And, it goes without saying, that he’s not really in a position to make light of sex outside of marriage.

    aunursa (862c19)

  14. Hmmm. This is getting more interesting.

    d) Does he nix the joke, because you can’t artifically separate his intent from his knowledge?

    I think ‘d’ is the only correct answer for a decent person. Given some time to think about it (which apparently he had), he comes to his senses and realizes his intention was to make fun of Palin, not her children. That’s how I think a decent person would address the situation.

    Since he (Letterman)is not, perhaps he could have done this…

    If Letterman were smart, and he isn’t, he’d have tried the joke with Chelsea Clinton’s name, then with Obama’s daughter’s name. The dim bulb might have lit on the second option and he’d never have told the joke

    Is there anyone who really thinks he would have told a joke like this about one of the Obama children?

    PrimeTime (c2c6c2)

  15. The rolling joke theme seems to be the whole Palin family are “white Christian trailer trash” down to the new baby… So–No, they would not have cared (at least pre-“JOKE”) anyway.

    BfC (5209ec)

  16. Letterman isn’t stupid. I think I’m done giving Letterman the benefit of the doubt; he’s simply callous, like your typical liberal snob.

    chaos (7c068a)

  17. Pablo just published a full set of my private e-mails between him and me.

    I’m not particularly ashamed of anything I said. Did I vent about Goldstein? Curse? Call him names?

    Sure, as I have already admitted. I did about the same on Little Miss Attila the other day. There’s little in Pablo’s post you won’t find in my already public comments.

    Except one thing: Pablo’s promise to keep it all confidential.

    Here’s what I find noteworthy about the e-mails that Pablo has now chosen to put on the Internet. Namely, this exchange:

    Me:

    “I’m assuming that you will treat these e-mails as private, by the way. I know Goldstein thinks it’s fine to go around repeating the contents of private e-mails, but presumably you haven’t signed on to that particular ethic of his.”

    Pablo, in response:

    “And yes, this is a private conversation and will be kept as such.”

    That tells you all about Pablo you need to know.

    And to think, I used to respect him.

    Patterico (64318f)

  18. Now come on we could have a good discussion about intent regarding my comment if you’d stop your little snit fit. To anyone not you or nk or pablo or Jayfree Gouldstine your little e-mail controversy sounds like you’re way too bitter over something stupid. All you’re doing is flaming pablo and all he’s doing is flaming you. Quite frankly revealing e-mails he promised to keep confidential when their content is basically just one side of a personal feud giving off steam isn’t such a big deal. You’re making it some huge deal because your blood is up on this whole thing. Now then are we going to have that substantive discussion on intent since you provided such a great opportunity, or are we going to be subjected to another round of Patterico Condemnation of Jayfree Gouldstine regulars? Hell even talking about Letterman’s joke is better than you and pablo spitting at each other like alley cats.

    chaos (7c068a)

  19. He’s banned, right?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  20. Who’s banned?

    Patterico (64318f)

  21. So we don’t even get the pleasure of a fair sniping exchange? When I see a Jayfree Gouldstine post I expect it to deliver!

    chaos (7c068a)

  22. Since Pablo posted your emails, I think he should also post the entirety of his correspondence with Jeff G so we can get the complete picture.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  23. Maybe chaos should change his name to Loki, I am thinking.

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  24. The only substantive differences between pablo’s and patterico’s correspondence and pablo’s and JG’s, Im sure, is the latter probably has more references to contusions than the other.
    and all im trying to do eric is get the district attorney to give me the damned time of day. Your attitude towards me is childish but that’s fine I make no judgments there. Ive heard you’re a hard case for admitting youre wrong but you were wrong to delete that comment and you should own up to it.

    chaos (7c068a)

  25. The your being referred to is patterico not eric blair i wrote that horribly damn.

    chaos (7c068a)

  26. “Saying “her daughter,” it is clear, was ambiguous. Goldstein is sure he meant Bristol. His commenter Pablo, among many others, thinks he meant Willow. I’m not sure which he meant.”

    The joke “works” or functions by having “palin’s knocked up daughter” referring to the idea that people have of palin’s pregnant teenage daughter, that they remember hearing about during the cmapaign and following along. You telling me it was actually Willow or Bristol at the game doesn’t change the joke. It doesn’t really matter for it, because the joke is working from ideas people have, not actually the person at the game.

    imdw (9af31a)

  27. Good luck on that, DRJ. When someone “outs” something private from another person, they are usually quite protective regarding their own privacy. Especially when their own behavior has not been something of which a reasonable person would be proud. Strange thing, that.

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  28. Patterico, I’m sorry you’re dealing with so much bullshit.

    I have a hard time even following this intentionalism debate. The entire project is just incompatible with how I see the world. So I’m not really worried about who wins on the merits of a debate where I think you’re both in error. Regardless, even if you’re totally wrong on this, it’s just a philosophy argument you’ve been having with Jeff all year long. I have never seem such hostility for something so inoffensive as criticizing someone’s views. PW should welcome this kind of thing. Everyone could have won if they had simply had a back and forth.

    Every time I get tired of the debate they launch another nuclear level attack with no self awareness. Antisemitism smears, graphic violence fantasies, breaking their word on privacy… it’s not just irrelevant, it’s evil. It’s really frustrating, and I’m lucky I can ignore this most of the time. If someone was sharing my private mail I was lose my cool completely.

    They keep saying you’re some kind of inhuman monster because you don’t drop a discussion they claim isn’t even all that significant. I don’t know why that hasn’t attracted more attention from major bloggers. “I am not taking sides on the merits of their argument, but these tactics are way out of line” would be nice to see.

    I wondered if your tactic was to outlast Jeff, known for his quitting. Maybe you don’t have a tactic at all. I am just pretty surprised that behavior that would be mentioned on every major righty blog if it came from a prominent liberal is being ignored in this case. I guess no one wants to attract this kind of bullshit. Are other bloggers in contact with you about this? Ignoring this because you want them to?

    Best of luck. I realize they don’t give a crap what a faithful patterico reader thinks of these methods, but they really should be ashamed.

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  29. “Your attitude towards me is childish but that’s fine I make no judgments there. Ive heard you’re a hard case for admitting youre wrong but you were wrong to delete that comment and you should own up to it.

    Comment by chaos”

    Patterico has left up so many harsh attacks on him on this blog that no one is going to take you seriously. He’s no censor. You have tried to turn every thread into a troll on this topic, while coming into the threads devoted to this topic to say we shouldn’t talk about it. As you said, it’s not hard to see what your intent is. why don’t you accept that someone’s being treated like shit, having their private mail released, having their friends threatened, being called anti Semitic by a race hustler, and seeing people attempt to threaten his job.

    Can you characterize just how evil Jeff G and a few of his friends have been? Do you care about that at all?

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  30. Who’s banned?

    Pablo. He’s been banned, right?

    If not, why the fuck not?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  31. chaos – If you actually make a substantive comment then perhaps people would discuss it. Faith!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  32. Jeff’s talking about semiotics, and though he speaks of his own failed theoretical design, Patterico, you’re laying out kitchen table nonsense.

    Letterman’s was a frickin’ joke. Who cares. Oft times jokes fail, but they’re meant as jokes, humor, gassers, rib ticklers, zingers, knee slappers, ta big ho ha, get that yet? You come across as not being too particularly bright when you fail to.

    You allowed that clowning Colorado deadbeat to drag you onto his home court and gape your maw, Patty. Failed-joke theory, that’s your best punch? Save yourself, cover your face and run.

    Jeff generally whips out his Lit theory bullshit before an audience of those who haven’t a fuckin’ clue what it is or about. Look and the bobbling heads of his dingbat swarm, they wouldn’t know Derrida if Jacques had ’em in a headlock, but there they are bobbling in unison because Jeff’s convinced ’em the man with the funny name is a hyper-Marxist Lit theorist. I’ve read Derrida. Jeff Goldstein is no Derrida.

    Put simply, know the cliche that goes you only get one chance to make a first impression? The gist of that is that others own a differing impression outside one’s impression of self. Well, according to Jeff, he alone owns others impression of his self. If they only knew Jeff the way Jeff knows Jeff! others are simply wrong, Goldstein’s not a failed hippie deadbeat, he’s a Goddamned stay-at-home hero, a magnificent fatherly keyboard warrior far, far beyond your judgment’s reproach!

    See how stupid and self-serving that all sounds? For it is.

    Drag Jeff’s miserable frame onto your home turf, Patterico. Speak Latin and circular Magna Carta theories at that little poo tossing man.

    Besiege him with volleys of legalese specific animus until they take him away in a cargo van with flashing lights. Do that.

    phi slamma jamma (fabe84)

  33. daley,

    Remember when we all thought Pablo was a good guy?

    Before we learned what a devious liar he really is?

    Patterico (64318f)

  34. I remember talking on the phone (or was it YIMming? My brain remembers what I read pictorially or audibly on a great many occasions.) with my daughter a couple years back. She said “our unit was given a classified briefing.” I said something along the lines of: Cool beans! Gotta make ya feel good to know you got classified info! But don’t tell me about it; I don’t wanna know. Or I do wanna know but I don’t have the need to know, ya know? And she said something like: I know and I wasn’t gonna tell ya anyway, ya know? And I said something like: Okie dokey, just bein’ sure, ya know?

    Anyway, that’s sorta how our convo went. Classified or private info will remain classified or private if the knowers are principled. Unscrupulous or miscreant folk should never be told nuttin, not even what time the sun comes up.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  35. Never in a million years would I have thought Pablo capable of this. I can’t understand why he thinks this would reflect poorly on anyone except himself. The act of publishing the emails is despicable, the content of them just proves what Patterico said before was true.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  36. The stuff I said to Pablo about Goldstein is pretty tame. It backs up everything I have ever said about the various controversies. I have been the same in private as I was in public.

    Pablo, on the other hand, has been a two-faced liar.

    Patterico (64318f)

  37. Wouldn’t you folks prefer I type my moralizing meandering novels over where Pablo is? Where is that?

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  38. Patterico – I miss Pablo as a commenter, but understand why he doesn’t some by anymore. I cross paths with him on another blog occasionally and it’s like old times shooting fish in a barrel.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  39. Dustin,

    You can tell Pablo, who promised to keep our e-mails private and then published them on the Internet, what you think of him here.

    I honestly didn’t think he’d do it either. I was tempted to publish them myself because I’m not ashamed of anything I said. But I wanted to see if he would really do it.

    I really didn’t think he would. I have to admit, I’m surprised.

    There goes his reputation.

    Patterico (64318f)

  40. I destroyed Pablo on PW several years back and he’s never recovered.

    The man suffered at the hands of his own fumes to such an extent that it’s best to leave him alone in a quiet room with a box of Crayolas.

    He’s a sick man. Probably something wrong with his liver.

    phi slamma jamma (fabe84)

  41. Pat,

    FWIW, I think Pablo publishing the private emails was despicable. There is nothing you said in them that you didn’t say here and at PW so I don’t think they are really newsworthy. A betrayal, yes, absolutely.

    The core PW commenters seem very worried about Jeff’s reaction to any of them expressing an opinion that veers too much from his. He always manages to comment on the comments they are making elsewhere as if they’ve violated a contract. And he also notices when they are not commenting elsewhere and he thinks they should be. Then comes a speech about his persecution and threats to go away. And then he does.

    I’m not making excuses and some of them seem like good people. But it’s kind of like having a parent with emotional problems and they’ll do anything to keep that person engaged.

    I think it’s to your credit that your regulars (and I know I’m not one of them) are not like this. One of the great things about your site is that good people really can disagree without
    the immediate accusations of troll, stupid, etc.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    Hope you have a better day tomorrow.

    PrimeTime (c2c6c2)

  42. Given the attention Jeff is generating for himself, I think it’s about time for him to announce a blog bleg, FOR THE CAUSE of course, not for money. I would never want to suggest that he’s all about money or anything because he whined so much about it. Then again, he whines about an awful lot of things. I just don’t know.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  43. “I destroyed Pablo on PW several years back and he’s never recovered.”

    PSJ – I don’t remember that. Can you provide a link?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  44. One thing I learned: when you watch your friends betray others, you quickly learn that you’d better not trust them either. Betrayal is usually not an isolated act.

    Patterico (64318f)

  45. “The core PW commenters seem very worried about Jeff’s reaction to any of them expressing an opinion that veers too much from his. He always manages to comment on the comments they are making elsewhere as if they’ve violated a contract.”

    PrimeTime – That’s a recurring feature. OUTLAWS may not have their own opinions or comment elsewhere without approval. UNITY and Loyalty uber alles. Screw the undividuality shit, otherwise Jeff will kick your ass.

    Because, fuck you.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  46. “Betrayal is usually not an isolated act.”

    What’s Tiger’s skank count up to now?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  47. Heh, Tiger’s a slut and I’m done watching the PGA. After Nicklaus’ slide into retirement, Tiger was the only draw for me. Not no mo.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  48. If Tiger scored fresh hole every time he notched a tour victory I couldn’t care less.

    He’s a God midst mortals on the golf course. Who he beds concerns me little.

    phi slamma jamma (fabe84)

  49. Jeff has now accused me of being Pattericos stooge…

    Darleen became alittle unglued – all I did was ask the question…

    and they finally answered – finally

    EricPWJohnson (9b7688)

  50. Jeff Goldstein, literally speaking, is cheap and weak. Lyotard’s and others observations of post-modernism and the breaking of the metanarrative has little to do with topical and/or conventional American political thought. That little nose-picker exploits the narrow-minded dimbulbs who don’t understand that, has ’em believing such.

    Jeff marks writers and theorists with their politics irrespective of the quality of their academic work. In fairness I’ve seen him backpeddle from doing that when I called him on it, but only after called out. That said, post-modernism has as much to do with Stoppard and Golding as it does with Foucault and Lessing.

    The backslider (pun intended) thinks Lit theory is a proverbial war of letters between Amis and Eagleton, in essence holding out that theory should be democratized based on populist favortism, which sure runs counter to his intentionlism. Pimping his claims of the fifth column within academia, and guess whose the victim, Jeff “Tap Out” Goldstein!

    Noam Chomsky is as much a brilliant academic as he is a crazed political fool. C’mon little overly political weaklings, come to the front and attempt to deny that. I’ll snap your ankles!

    phi slamma jamma (fabe84)

  51. Univ of Houston throwback fan: If an all-pro NFL star kills someone while driving drunk, that NFL star should never play another down. Quality of person outweighs everything else.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  52. The only reason JeffyG has to resort to snapping ankles is: he’s too little a man to reach any higher.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  53. “PSJ – I don’t remember that. Can you provide a link?”

    You assume I’d urinate down into the broken little man’s open wounds? Please, I destroyed him, what’s left of him should be given an allowance for healing.

    Ask P-blo for the link. He’s big on Wikis and links.

    phi slamma jamma (fabe84)

  54. phi slamma, it’s interesting that you bring Chomsky up. I’ve looked him up several times when trying to figure out what the heck Jeff is talking about.

    His politics certainly are crazed (although pretty consistent), but the academic in him is something I find fascinating. I know Jeff thinks lots of people just don’t get the higher thinking thing, but Chomsky’s writings on linguistics are quite a wonder and leave me seriously thinking instead of in that WTF mode.

    And let me again say that I think his politics are indeed crazed.

    I’m not sure sometimes whether Jeff really does think he’s all that or he just thinks most people are too stupid to grasp the flaws and inconsistencies in his arguments.

    Again, I think his politics are crazed. But if you’ve never read anything BUT his politics, you should give it a whirl.

    PastPrimeTime (c2c6c2)

  55. “I’m not sure sometimes whether Jeff really does think he’s all that or he just thinks most people are too stupid to grasp the flaws and inconsistencies in his arguments.”

    He really does think he’s all that, and that nobody else in the world quite measures up.

    He thinks most people are too stupid to see the flaws — but many at his site are. Or, more properly, blind themselves to those flaws — just like they blind themselves to every atrocity committed by their side (Exhibit A being the stark and dishonorable nature of Pablo’s betrayal of my trust).

    Patterico (64318f)

  56. And my post above probably used the term linguistic incorrectly. If so, sorry and it wasn’t intentional. I’m not trying to be misleading.

    Chomsky more often uses ‘language’ as the buzzword, not linguistic. But the language thing has to be nailed down before there can be linguistic theories. It seems to me anyway, and I’m certainly not an academic type and no authority.

    But, politics aside, I’ve read some things from him that just seriously make me think, instead of just trying to seriously make me want to find evidence he’s wrong. Which is always my first instinct when seeing his name.

    I wish I had something bookmarked because it takes me forever to find crap. Tough to search on his name.

    And again, I find his politics crazed. But his commitment to free speech gives new meaning to free speech.

    PastPrimeTime (c2c6c2)

  57. We are talking about the same Dave Letterman who was sued for saying “Martha Raye . . . condom user”, in parody of her “. . . denture wearer” commercial; right?

    No class then; less class now.

    He was very good in the 80’s — and has steadily declined since.

    Icy Texan (327e6d)

  58. Yup, Pat, I’m totally leaning toward Jeff thinking he’s all that.

    And you’re right about his side. They have invested a good deal of themselves at that site. Part of their identity seems to be Goldstein supporter and contributor to PW. At that point it’s not really about politics or issues. And it hasn’t been there for some time.

    They have no idea what they would do without him so protecting him is more important than any issue of the day.

    PastPrimeTime (c2c6c2)

  59. Icy Texan, I had to google that.

    Interesting indeed. She wasn’t even a well known public figure at the time.

    I’m sure his supporters would point to the fact that she was a senior and not a minor.

    Hey, at least he’s not ageist!

    PastPrimeTime (c2c6c2)

  60. I think he would have b: added Bristol’s name, if he’d thought about it — or, for that matter, known that it was Willow in the first place. Letterman, like many comics, likes to poke at people he thinks of as public figures, and it’s pretty clear from other jokes that he feels comfortable taking shots at the older daughter — I don’t think it’s okay, but he clearly does — but I think that this is the only example of him doing it with the younger girl, and my guess — and it’s just a guess — is that it was ignorant, not deliberate.

    Should? Drop the joke, on the grounds that politicians’ children aren’t fair game by virtue of being politicians’ children, regardless of their age. (When they become political figures in their own right — Chelsea Clinton in recent years, say, or Elizabeth Cheney — that’s another matter.)

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  61. It’s truly getting to the point that I’m waiting for Pat and Jeff to confess this was all staged to entertain the moonbats a la Hawkeye and BJ fighting as a gift to Frank Burns.

    harkin (f92f52)

  62. “phi slamma, it’s interesting that you bring Chomsky up. I’ve looked him up several times when trying to figure out what the heck Jeff is talking about.

    Again, I think his politics are crazed. But if you’ve never read anything BUT his politics, you should give it a whirl.”

    Comment by PastPrimeTime — 12/18/2009 @ 1:18 am

    Chomsky breaks down syntactic structures and grammar in language; originally his work was of the finite linguistic set. He, Minsky and others led the way forward to Lofti Zadeh’s Fuzzy Logic, or fuzzy set logic.

    These PhDs at MIT and Cal-Berkely tend to be on the more intelligent side of the human loaf, unlike the butt end over at PW.

    Where Jeff picks up the ball is at Ferdinand de Saussure’s signification process. I’m no volcano of linguistic theory but I had to take a few classes in it, and though language theory might seem distant at first approach, it’s fairly interesting with some rigorous minds playing a hand in it, meaning from Derrida to Foucault they’re all well thought-of academics who shouldn’t be scoffed away because, one could speculate, they might have voted for Obama, gasp. I would say it’s not about politics at all, but there’s some political activism in at the ends of post-modernist studies, granted. If you were a intimidated or hung up on butch lesbos I suppose Hélène Cixous might seem scary. But, Goldstein, Linda Hutcheon is married! Hahaha. I know Jeff reads this.

    I’ve read little of Chomsky’s politics. Like Tiger Woods, who the eff cares of Chomsky’s politics or who he sleeps with. That’s all a sideshow and of little relation to how he or Woods left their mark in the world, professionally speaking.

    I suggest reading even Goldstein’s Lit theory. He explains himself well. Personally I like the guy enough to merely snap one of his ankles so as to allow him the ability to hobble his way back to his bar stool, where he belongs.

    phi slamma jamma (49b53c)

  63. I believe that Letterman knew which daughter was at the game. Otherwise, as I said in the previous thread, he would have added, “again”. perhaps even after a dramatic pause to increase the effect.

    I think he considered that his actual vagueness would give him “cover” in the unlikley (his evaluation) event that he might need it. He knew the audience right there in front of him would eat it up, and was confident that he could mitigate any later consequences. Seems he was right.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  64. We’re still on this.

    Sorry, but you know the first time i heard the joke, i thought it meant exactly what letterman meant to say. i forgot palin had 2 daughters. and i like palin. i constantly told people that she had more administrative experience than McCain, obama and biden combined.

    i had to be reminded that she had another daughter, and i had to be told that the underage daughter was the one at the game. didn’t know and honestly didn’t care.

    So its very easy to understand how letterman could accidentally smack the wrong daughter.

    That being said, i am not totally cool with them making brisol the butt of his joke, either, but at least that has the virtue of not being statutory rape joke. of course letterman was equally right to apologize, to say, sheesh, i screwed up, but i don’t think letterman was being such an evil guy, there.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  65. There are times where critical anaysis is both difficult and important.

    There are other times, I believe, when complicated reasoning is simply obfuscation in getting one to miss the forrest for the trees.

    I think any focus on Letterman’s use of language in telling an inappropriate joke is nothing more than an attempt to justify bad behavior by an appeal to some “higher” or “deeper” level of insight.

    I am reminded how often in the New Testament Gospels that people tried to construct a complicated scenario to trap Jesus in an unpopular statement. Typically He pointed out the absurdity or problem of the scenario and then made a statement that made people think again of the forrest, not which sub-specie of Oak was on the right.

    Again, the Gordian knot was thought by some to be a remarkable piece of human ingenuity. Alexander demonstrated it was simply a fancy knot tied with rope that could be dispensed with in a moment.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  66. If we’re asking whether Dave should have rephrased his joke, can I assume you have taken a position on this? If we’re at the point where we’re critiquing Dave’s execution of his joke, then we’ve already decided we know what his intent is. There is no more interpretation to be had.

    Which isn’t to say the question’s invalid. It’s just that the only reason you brought Letterman up in the first place was to dispute Jeff’s brand of language theory. All that’s happened so far is that you’ve both interpreted Dave’s joke through intentionalism, albeit with different conclusions. You still haven’t pointed out this flaw in Jeff’s methodology, and in fact haven’t even really delineated it from your own.

    blah (225eb6)

  67. Judging from comment activity Jayfree doesn’t need to drum up activity for his site. At least, I’d be quite happy if I had a blog that seemed to consistently get over 100 comments a post… But maybe my impression of how active pw is is wrong for whatever reason.

    chaos (7c068a)

  68. chaos – Great idea to start your own site. The only problem I see is that you don’t seem to have any independent or interesting thoughts.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  69. “All that’s happened so far is that you’ve both interpreted Dave’s joke through intentionalism, albeit with different conclusions. You still haven’t pointed out this flaw in Jeff’s methodology, and in fact haven’t even really delineated it from your own.”

    blah – Letterman in his apology admitted he would never make sex jokes about a 14 year old girl and was wrong if people interpreted it that way. JeffG admits that interpreting the joke to be about Willow is a legitimate interpretation, just not his interpretation and that sex jokes about 14 year olds are slimy and scummy. The final step Jeff refuses to make is acknowledging that if Letterman knew that it was Willow at the game with her mother that he should have altered his joke, which would be admitting that Patterico’s argument of considering your audience should be part of a speaker’s tadk is correct. Jeff won’t go there although he keeps claiming he has addressed it through his posts, which is complete bullshit. He’s in a corner but won’t admit it and his commenters refuse to see it.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  70. Coming from someone who’s idea of an original idea is finding something Patterico left in the toilet as opposed to getting it straight from the source, I don’t think your advice or your observations are really something I’m interested in.

    chaos (7d02ae)

  71. And yeah Patterico’s really big on substantive comments like calling people liars, frauds, bitches, money-grubbers, etc. Your heads are all up Frey’s ass, not my problem if you think your echo chamber in his colon is actually reality.

    chaos (7d02ae)

  72. Look we are beating about the Bush here, Letterman who is a gap toothed adulterous hick from Indiana, thought to deride the Governor’s important efforts
    with regards to special needs children and the pipeline, if he knew anything about it, by putting
    her and her family in the category of Brittany, Lindsay what have you. Now that is gap in the application of Goldstein’s theory, or simply a bad call. But bringing it up like bad borsht smells of desperation

    bishop (474138)

  73. I don’t think Letterman or his staff knew which daughter was at the game nor did they care. All them hillbillies look alike, anyway, right?

    But if the joke had been made about Obama’s daughters, Dave would be looking for a new job.

    KateC (7f3e3d)

  74. chaos – As I said, you are adding some amazing value to this blog. Please alert the media should you plan to make a substantive comment.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  75. But if you wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle can argue intentionalism?

    nk (df76d4)

  76. chaos – As I said, you are adding some amazing value to this blog. Please alert the media should you plan to make a substantive comment.

    daleyrocks – the irony of you repeatedly insulting me about substantive comments is hilarious. The next time you make a substantive comment will be the first – and the time frame on that goes back far beyond Jayfree Gouldstine and RS McCain.

    But if you wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle can argue intentionalism?

    Leonardo was the coolest.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  77. Phi Slamma Jamma is thor, a trollish person from waaaaaay back…

    He’s a world class poseur, race card player, and accuser of RAAAAAACISM! for the slightest crotocosm of the won

    Ask Karl about thor from PW, he’ll explain the nature of his character…

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you all…

    Bob Reed (99fc1b)

  78. I don’t have time or energy to check, but Stash, if that’s thor, I want him banned.

    Patterico (64318f)

  79. It was thor, thank you Bob.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  80. Thanks Bob. thor is history.

    Patterico (64318f)


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