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Letterman's most awkward moments

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I'm not so sure about that. If one makes jokes about Gov. Spitzer, Gov. Sanford, Sen. Craig, etc., etc., aren't those jokes grounded in a sense of morality that disapproves of their behavior?

This comment reminds of the the Seinfeld episode of the guy who became Jewish so he could tell all the good jokes without feeling bad about it.

Granted, all this time I have laughed at those Letterman jokes because I thought we were on the same page. But I guess we aren't. Now that I know this about Letterman, all those jokes are no longer that funny. This is like one of those pictures where you first see an old woman, but then after looking long enough can see a rabbit. I thought they were grounded in some kind of shared American civil religious sense of marital ethics. But they aren't at all. They are grounded in a satirical self-awareness on Letterman's part that only Woody Allen can actually pull off constructively. (Or, at least, used to.)

But, then, this is my fault for being naive, not Letterman's.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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While I agree with you, Michael, that it'll be harder to take those jokes from Letterman now, I do think it's possible to view misbehavior as misbehavior, and to view it that way because of a sense "grounded in some kind of Americal civil religious sense of marital ethics," and to still give in to weakness -- even habitually -- and commit that very same misbehavior. I don't think that Letterman's sins necessarily mean that his jokes about such misbehavior don't come from a shared sense of morality. It may be that he's just not very good and heeding and applying the wisdom that, at some level, he knows is right.

In some areas of my own life, I too do the very things I do not want to do.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Would this mean that these jokes actually become self-depricating (which is often his shtick)?

I often joke with my wife and other friends in a self-depricating manner about personal shortcomings (let's face it, I mean sins) that I continually struggle with. While I want to be Puritanical about what holiness actually means, I don't want to be Puritanical such that I can only talk about sin in utter solemnity. Sometimes I talk about my weaknesses with the kind of levity that is constructive, that offers a momentary relief from the burden of what it actually means to be so unrelentingly human. When those listening laugh, it is to say: Yes, that is me too. I am also broken. But we are going to make it.

Again, it is actually my fault for being naive in the way I had previously understood Letterman's comedy in this respect.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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You're right that self-deprecating humor is healthy. I do a fair bit of that too... even though I have a hard time forgiving myself for my failings. And that's a flaw in my character. I take my own failings far too seriously. Anne encourages me that if God is quick to forgive and show grace, I should show myself the same compassion. I find that difficult. Allowing myself to laugh about my mistakes is definitely helpful.

Letterman made a quip about "Lutheran guilt." Sometimes crises like this can be times of awakening and revival. One can hope.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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At no point has Letterman professed any sort of morality about sex and family.

I'm not so sure about that. If one makes jokes about Gov. Spitzer, Gov. Sanford, Sen. Craig, etc., etc., aren't those jokes grounded in a sense of morality that disapproves of their behavior?

No, I disagree. I think the difference here lies in that these people actively promote themselves as adhering to certain standards (though, being British, I don't know that they specifically do, I just expect that they do) and hypocrisy of that kind deserves mockery. As a comedian and host of a late night show, does Letterman's position really demand an equal high standard of personal morality? [i would also reiterate Persona's addendum here: "I can't vouch for anyone's claims to morality except my own, I guess, and I'm not always that great at it."]

If I'm being honest, though, I think that kind of humour is more to do with lowest common denominator: what gets the easy laughs, can be drawn out over a long time, and gives Letterman the image of being an everyman (look, I laugh at the bigwigs too). I personally always found his stand up part of the show to be the weakest, largely because it over relied on what I consider to be a judgemental style of comedy - 'we all know it's naughty so let's laugh at it'. It's accepts and repeats normative standards of behaviour.


"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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The Associated Press speculates that this scandal (if that's the word) might give Dave a decisive, even permanent, ratings boost. For whatever that's worth. Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Since the thread topic is general, I'll interrupt the current situation with an awkward Dave moment I'd never seen before, courtesy of Jeffrey Wells:


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Sometimes Dave's wackiness has the effect of making his guests seem more normal, but once in a while it just isn't enough.

Trying to remember Oliver Reed in Cast Away ... um ... oh yeah, he played Wilson, I think.

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Letterman and Me

There’s a subset of sexual harassment called sexual favoritism that, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, can lead to a “hostile work environment,” often “creating an atmosphere that is demeaning to women.”

And that pretty much sums up my experience at Late Night with David Letterman. . . .

Without naming names or digging up decades-old dirt, let’s address the pertinent questions. Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.

Here’s what I did: I walked away from my dream job. The show picked up my option after 13 weeks; then, about two months later, while looking for a nicer apartment, I realized I didn’t want to commit to a yearlong lease. I’d seen enough to know that I was not going to thrive professionally in that workplace. And although there were various reasons for that, sexual politics did play a major part.

On my last day at Late Night, Dave summoned me to his office and pressed me on why I was quitting the show. I considered telling him the truth, but with Dave’s rumored mistress within earshot, I balked. Instead, I told him I missed L.A. Dave said, “You’re welcome back anytime.” . . .

I decided to speak up now for three reasons: 1. People who have no knowledge of the situation are voicing opinions, so why not me? 2. Letterman himself opened this up to a public discussion. 3. I’d like to pivot the discussion away from the bedroom and toward the writers’ room, because it pains me that almost 20 years later, the situation for female writers in late-night-TV hasn’t improved. . . .

Nell Scovell, Vanity Fair, October 27


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Producer Robert Halderman pleads guilty to Grand Larceny charges in Letterman blackmail case.

AP - A television producer admitted Tuesday to trying to shake down David Letterman in a case that bared the late-night icon's affairs with staffers, avoiding a long prison sentence by pleading guilty in exchange for six months in jail and community service.

Robert "Joe" Halderman, 52, entered the plea in a Manhattan court to attempted grand larceny after being accused of demanding $2 million to keep quiet about the late-night comic's workplace love life.

Halderman, a producer for CBS' "48 Hours Mystery," had mined information from reading his then-girlfriend's diary entries about her relationship with Letterman, her boss, authorities said.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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