A Note to the Internet, Ctd.
He starts off:
What if she had written “ni**er?”
What if she had? I’d still say lay off. A 16 year old girl has the right to make mistakes without being scrutinized by millions of people.
And one has to note that her mother has put all her children into an unforgiving spotlight, even subjecting them to reality show exposure. The idea that we should all abide by rules that Palin herself freely violates – her family “privacy” my ass – is surrender to her double standards. Palin cannot cite her son, Track, in every stump speech and not have his history examined. She cannot parade a child with Down Syndrome like a campaign poster and not have any questions asked about the kid’s journey into this world. She cannot push one daughter into a reality show and an abstinence campaign without allowing that person’s past and present to be a story. If Palin kept her family private, it would be one thing. But she relentlessly exploits them when it suits her and then acts offended if there’s any pushback or scrutiny. Screw that.
By all means, criticize Sarah Palin for pushing her family into the spotlight. It’s scummy when any politician does that. It’s scummy when celebrities do it on their tawdry reality shows. That’s fine. That’s a valid point. It’s even a valid point to question the parenting skills of a woman who willingly flew on a plane while pregnant after her water broke (and that’s her official story!)
I think that criticisms of Bristol and Todd Palin are also fair game. They have turned themselves into public figures. (Although I might say that I think that some of the criticism of Bristol Palin’s abstinence campaign as “hypocritical” misses the point. Can’t a woman learn from her mistake and try to help others not make the same mistake?)
But here’s the thing — Willow Palin hasn’t made herself into a public figure. She’s only famous by virtue of having a famous family. Moreover, she’s 16 years old, and anyone with a passing familiarity with “Behind the Music” or “E! True Hollywood Story” knows that a spotlight pored on someone of that young an age can cause some serious psychological damage.
Put yourself in her shoes. Think about something stupid, mean, or hurtful that you said when you were 16 years old. Think about the shame you feel about it now that you’re an adult. Think about how embarrassed you’ve been when something stupid you’ve done was made public, even to a small circle of people. Now, magnify that — imagine that the stupid thing you’ve said has been a media focus for days. Internet, TV, you name it.
It’s not fair to her. It’s disgraceful. Willow Palin has not made herself a public figure, nor did she make a public statement. She’s 16. She’s entitled to her mistakes, and she’s entitled to not have the world talking about them.
Update: Still more thoughts here.