Thursday, January 7, 2010

Open Letter to David Letterman

By Frank Schaeffer
978 761 2408

You should resign. You’ve either gone senile or become so over-confident that your true nature has been revealed. By making a cruel joke at the expense of Obama appointee Amanda Simpson you have done something as unacceptable as using the N-word in a joke. Bigot is as bigot does.

I’m 57, straight, married, father of three, grandfather of three, a progressive independent voter and an Obama supporter, having formerly been a religious right leader (raised by a famous evangelical) before I quit evangelicalism and right wing politics in the 1980s and became a novelist.

But I’m disgusted by you taking a cheap gratuitous shot at transgender Obama appointee Amanda Simpson (appointed to the position of Senior Technical Adviser to the Department of Commerce.)

President Obama appointed Ms. Simpson to a government advisory post, an obscure meat and potatoes post at that. And now she’s the punching bag for the usual right wing religious bullies including James Dobson. In this context you didn’t just make a mistake. You showed you’re a bully too.

I say that as a fan who has loved your anti-TV, anarchic TV since you first went on the air. I say that as a writer who hates to slam doors with media because I need media interviews to help sell my books! It is one thing to pick on elected officials, but what’s anyone like you invading the privacy of a mid-level appointee adviser for?

Transgender people are a minority within a minority. To single out Ms. Simpson for mockery and ridicule and to put her picture all over the airwaves is a callous and disgusting act. It is the act of a wealthy, famous man picking on what (in biblical terms) might be referred to as “the least of these.” Simpson is eminently qualified and entitled to respect and privacy. More importantly she is a human being struggling at a moment in history when violent threats against gay and transgender people are building.

When the thugs at Fox News troll for hate-filled goons -- as they did in the case of the events leading up to the killing of Dr. George Tiller (sadly) we understand why. When hate mongers like Dick Cheney say America is "less safe" because of our elected president we know why he’s lying. When James Dobson urges discrimination against a human being like Ms. Simpson since she’s transgendered we know where he’s coming from.

But -- to not put too fine a point on it -- where the hell does a philandering multimillionaire media idol with a whole TV network to defend his image get off picking on a defenseless individual because of her gender?

To use an old fashioned phrase: Letterman you are a not a gentleman.


Huntsville Theology Conversation said...


I just received my copy of Patience With God. I Love it. I stand with you on this issue, however, I have been on to David Letterman for a long time I can't stand him, and for the life of me can't figure out who would PAY these morons.

George Burks
Recently Decorated Vietnam Veteran by President Barack Obama (Oct 20 2009)

Skipper said...

I do agree with your comment on Letterman. I actually stopped watching him a few years ago because I thought his brand of comedy had become a bit mean spirited. My wife has since started watching him, since she doesn't like Conan much either and I did happen to catch that scene. It was very childish and something one would expect of a 13 year old.


Sam said...


I fear you may be falling into the type of extremism you are condemning. A few days ago you want to teach sex education to six year olds and ban computers in schools. Now you think Letterman should be forced to resign for practicing, of all things, satire.

Come on. The skit clearly satirized the anti-gay hysteria of homophobic men. Yes, it might encourage homophobic behavior, but that's a the price of all satire. I'm sure people condemned Jonathan Swift for encouraging that we eat poor people.

I don't think Letterman owes anyone an apology, but I think you owe him one.


marginalaccretion said...

I think Letterman's humor in re to Simpson and Palin's daughter is a poor target for overwrought political outrage.

Rob Miller said...

I don't really watch letterman anymore, usually the daily show & colbert when I'm up late enough, but the clip I got off huffington post sure seems to be making fun of the bigots that freak out about transgendered people, way more than in any way making a joke of Ms Simpson. I'm a little confused by the outrage?

gfarmer said...

I must be the village idiot. Why all the fuss over Amanda Simpson? If she is qualified to do the job what does her sexual identity have to do with it? By the way, why do all the gay people have to be interviewed about being gay and straight people do not? What is with this totally morbid fascination about someones' sexuality?

john.defelice said...

The morbid fascination come from the religious right and its obsession over homosexuality. At any rate, I did find this link amusing. Letterman is an idiot. This blogger is far worse. This can provide you with an idea of the persecution transgendered people suffer from the right and a decent response to the nonsense.

equestrian1 said...

Frank, you need to take off your Obama groupie hat and get some perspective. It seems that, in your mind, everyone who does not fawn over the President and everything he supports must be clueless, totally without a moral compass or both.

I don't know what Letterman said and, quite honestly, I don't care. He is a comedian and should not let himself be bullied into submission by the likes of you, Sarah Palin, NOW or whoever is pissed at the moment.

As far as Obama goes, the fact is that up to this point his administration has been one huge sell-out. If health care reform goes through looking like the Senate bill, I for one will never vote Democratic again. I am 48 and have never voted GOP in my life. What I will do is vote Green and do write-ins from that point forward. What is the point of working to get Democrats elected to office if they will merely pander to big business and be just as corrupt as their Republican counterparts?