Uncivil Exchange of the Week: Bristol Palin and a Heckler

Bristol Palin's celebrity in the absence of talent, wit or achievements is one good reason to resent Sara Palin

In a spontaneous encounter posted on YouTube, Bristol Palin was confronted by an insult-spewing patron the at Saddle Ranch Bar and Restaurant in West Hollywood last night.

Palin, 20-year-old daughter of  Sarah Palin had just been thrown from a mechanical bull while filming her reality show for the BIO Network, when  a 47-year-old man began shouting at her.

“Did you ride Levi like that?” he yelled, referring to  the father of Bristol’s child, who has just published his memoirs of their relationship for the brain-damaged market. “Your mother is a whore! Your mother is a fucking devil!” he continued.

Bristol approached the man and asked, “Is it because you’re a homosexual and that’s why you hate her?”

“Pretty much … and why’d you say I’m a homosexual?” he responded.

“Because I can tell you are,” Bristol said, setting off the heckler again. “You’re fucking white trash from Wasila!” he screamed as she left the bar with her production crew. “Fuck you, you fucking bitch!”

Internet commenters are praising Palin for standing up to the clod. She deserves no praise. His sexual orientation had nothing to do with episode, and for her to raise that as her initial response to his unprovoked and hateful rant demonstrates that

1. She’s a bigot

2. She’s not ready for prime time, even as a reality star, and

3. She’s not even smart enough to realize that the episode reflects poorly on her, since the incident was taped and posted by her own film crew.

But we already knew that, didn’t we?

30 thoughts on “Uncivil Exchange of the Week: Bristol Palin and a Heckler

      • Not kidding enough, sadly. I’m sort of in a fog today, and I couldn’t quite type out what I was thinking, so I kept it simple. Nevertheless, I wonder how unhappy a life you have to have led to screech at some 20-year-old stranger (which, let’s make clear, that’s what celebrities are to us; strangers).

        • He’s a complete a-hole, obviously. But he was only doing in public what many people do on line every day, to Bristol’s mother and to others.

          If the bar had any class or principles, it would have thrown the jerk out. There is no excuse for that kind of attack.

  1. I wonder if, following the same logic, I could conclude that you are not smart enough to realize this post reflects badly on you. Too bad there is no logic to follow. I am not a supporter of Sarah Palin and know less than nothing about Bristol Palin. Your post tells me she is 20. You can blah, blah, blah me on this one all you want but at 20 if someone was yelling at me, unprovoked, that my mother was a whore and worse, I would have struck out at them too. Quickly and visciously. Something I might have regretted by my 30’s but it wouldn’t have changed the history. I don’t think that would have made me not smart. Bad judgement? Yes. But no more so than your own in this post.

    • Watch your tone.

      The woman’s immediate reaction was to get personal. It is no less wrong than if she said, “Are you acting this way because you’re a Jew”? “…because you’re crippled?”
      …because you’re an old man?” Never in my life would that kind of reaction been my response, at 20, at 40…not ever.l

      She is a public figure. Read the accounts, read the comments, and read how many homophobic slurs are included among those praising her.

      If you regard my commentary as “blah, blah, blah,” you are welcome to go read Bristol’s blog—I’m sure she has one. Your reaction is unethical—it is pure “tit for tat”, a classic unethical rationalization. Yes, sometimes it is natural and reflective to stoop to personal insults and bigotry. It’s still wrong; she was wrong, and should not be praised for it. She’s an adult, and should be held to an adult’s standards.

      • Well, since you started a comment in this thread with, “I didn’t say….” I guess I will jump in at the risk of being told that I am saying X, but actually saying X and possibly thinking XYZ.

        I didn’t say she was right. I didn’t say she wasn’t wrong. She was absolutely wrong. Absolutely displayed serious bad judgement. Completely unethical, I agree. I thought I said that. I was saying that it was more understandable than your post would have me believe. I don’t know anyone who has not lashed out in stress or anger and regretted it afterward. It is a lesson all young people have to learn. Some learn it easier, some take longer. I was saying that I thought you made a harsh judgement that she was stupid based on a short film, inside a bar, taken during the filming of a reality show. I think it was unfair and came close to name-calling. In no way was I supporting tit for tat.

        To clarify the blah, blah, blah…. Obviously I do not regard your commentary as such or I wouldn’t be reading. There are millions of blogs out there I do not read. I agree, I could do that with this one as well and if you really would like me to move on, just ask and you shall receive. I like to read diverse opinions. It is how I form or change my own. Aside from the heavy American content which is understandable since you are in America, I quite enjoy reading here. If I was only reading things I agreed with and talking to people who believed exactly as I did, how would I understand another point of view? Even if I don’t agree, I like to follow the thinking.

        The blah, blah, blah was in anticipation of what I believed the counter comment would contain:
        1. an assertion that I was in agreement with her behavior eventhough I posted the opposite of that
        2. an assertion that she is an adult and should behave like one which I do not agree with. I think at 20 most people are still trying to figure out who they are and what their life is about in relation to what their parents believed and what is happening in the world around them. If you had that kind of maturity at 20, I think you are to be envied. I don’t know anyone who did. I think 20 makes a difference in this tale.

        I got both of those plus one I did not expect… a suggestion that she is a bigot because bigots are in support of her. She may be a bigot. Like I said, I don’t know anything about her. I don’t think how many homophobes comment in support of her or the incident has any relevance to an opinion of her. She has absolutely no control over what other people post.

        Not so sure why you took offense with the tone. At least I didn’t accuse you of agreeing with the attacking a-hole and it was the same tone as in your original post, I thought.

        • Well, that was thorough. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

          This isn’t “Understanding Alarms,” you know. I understand why people behave unethically; I’m not here to be sympathetic. Plenty of people will excuse almost anything. In anger or genuine bigotry, Palin said, in effect, “You’re a hateful asshole; you must be gay!” And did so in a setting where she knew it would be broadcast.

          When I said she wasn’t ready for prime time, I meant that she didn’t have the common sense, judgment or self-control to be in the public eye, and she doesn’t. If you’re not ready for that responsibility, then don’t accept it. “I’m only 20!” is no excuse for someone putting herself out in public. It’s her choice, and she’s accountable.
          Blah.

          • LOL! Well, by that standard, I think we can line up quite a few reality TV celebrities to pick off. I try not to excuse anythng and I like to think that I would have stood up against the bully in the bar before she even felt she had to open her mouth just as quickly as I would have spoken up to what she said in return. Why someone didn’t intervene is beyond me but I must admit, I did not follow the link or watch the video. I took your description as accurate. I do always try to understand though. Not condone, but understand, yes. I try. I am not always successful. Funny though, I do think that attempting to understand is always the ethical choice.

            • Damn right. Pick ’em all off.

              Understanding is swell, but it has limited value in ethics; it’s just a nice way of saying that you’ll help the wrongdoer with his or her rationalizing. My job is to identify what the right and wrong choices of conduct are, not to find good excuses for making the incorrect choice. I could understand Palin slapping the creep in the face, and that would have been less offensive than what she did. It would still be wrong

              I can understand why students cheat on tests—they are under pressure and they need the grades. So? Does that change what is wrong with what they did one bit? No. Does it mean that they shouldn’t get F’s? No. So what’s the great value in “understanding,” unless it leads you to look the other way and endorse unethical conduct?

              • Yes, I understand that too. I just felt that you were making a leap towards a judgement that had nothing to do with the ethics of the event. Having tripped over an ethics rule and landed face first in the pile of crap she landed in does not make her stupid. To me, that sounded personal and perhaps based on something other than this particular event. Sort of like the unwritten start of the post could have been… Bristol Palin is an idiot and here is yet another reason why. It read mean-spirited to me and I mentioned it because other posts I have read from you do not have that tone. My comment was more about your choice of words than anything regarding the event itself. I just didn’t think that was called for anymore than all those cheating grad students that got the F’s could be called spawns of satan. I certainly didn’t think that Bristol needed my help to rationalize it, I am sure she has more than one well paid person who does that full time. In my mind, being ethical has nothing to do with intelligence. Some of the most intelligent people I know are douche bags.

                • The statement that Palin isn’t smart enough to understand that what she said will reflect poorly on her is self-proving: she had it in her power, presumably, to tell the production company, “no, that was in the heat of the moment. We don’t show that.” Instead, she allowed it to be put on YouTube as promotion for her show. That shows that she doesn’t comprehend that responding to a vicious heckler with a statement that says,”You’re acting like an asshole—I guess you’re a fag, right?” is the mark of a an anti-gay bigot. I said she wasn’t smart enough to figure that out, and she obviously wasn’t. If you want to quibble about the distinction between doing something stupid and being stupid, OK—point made. But the woman had a baby with Levi Johnston, for God’s sake. She planned to marry the guy and have him be the father to her child, when he is demonstrably dumber than a muskrat. While her mother was governor, she wasn’t smart enough to avoid becoming a political liability by getting knocked up. You can conclude otherwise, but I have enough evidence to conclude that Bristol isn’t winning any Scrabble games in the near future.

  2. Gee whiz! The guy admitted he was a homosexual and that’s the reason he was spewing his filth. He could have been obvious about his sexual preferances for any number of reasons.
    When a group of sexually dressed or partially dressed homosexuals invaded a church in California badgering the congregation and also spewing their filth, how could one say they weren’t homosexuals who intended to make their feelings known?
    Bristol pegged him for what he was, a hate filled homosexual. All decent homosexuals should be angry with him.

    • He didn’t identify himself as a homosexual until Palin linked his sexuality to his bad conduct. See my response to Danielle. You could not be more wrong. If he were a hate filled Black, a hare-filled Jew, a hate-filled fat man, would you say the same thing? Apparently so.

      • Lawrence Russell Brewer, a hate filled white supremacist was executed in Texas for his infamous dragging death slaying of a black man this past week.

        Hate filled Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to the United States to spew his filth at the United Nations. He also brags that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Of course not, we know, it’s illegal in Iran and anyone who is caught is murdered by the Iranian state.

        The Obama administration doesn’t allow the term “terrorist” for the hate filled Islamist terrorists out to destroy America along with Israel including their own people who just happen to believe in a peaceful Islamic religion.

        Militant gays more or less declared that Sarah Palin and her family were to be scorned and ridiculed. The reason: Sarah Palin is a conservative Christian who doesn’t believe in ‘gay marriage.’

        Bristol Palin simply asked a question based on observations that she already anticipated because of the vile comments coming from the drunken man who seemed to be with a homosexual consort. IMHO, she is too familiar with the gay attacks on her mom and her family.

        If anyone wants to take the time to Google the Bristol Palin event, it’s become an internet sensation. I was disgusted reading how many comments supported the perpetrator while also adding their own vile comments.

        BTW, I’m not a Palin supporter. But I also don’t believe in tearing people apart because of their religious beliefs. Something has gone seriously wrong in this nation. Political Correctness has gone seriously amok.

        The recent GOP presidential debates added more fuel to the fire. Not one presidential candidate spoke out against the inappropriate comments coming from the audience and worse yet, the latest debate regarding the gay questionnaire regarding “don’t ask, don’ tell” was absolutely horrendous.

        Whether you insist on ethics, I believe it’s “political correctness gone amok.” We should confront discrimination immediately and forcefully whenever it’s possible.

        • WHAT’s political correctness? What does a drunk’s sexual orientation have to do with his rudeness? Do you walk up to male couples and say, “You’re a homosexual, aren’t you?”
          “Whether I insist on ethics?” Well, yes, as I’m a professional ethicist, I guess I do insist on ethics. Your comment is confusing. The drunk thought HE was confronting discrimination. But he was doing it abusively, in public, without adding substance to his emotion. Palin did the same thing. She could have said, “I’m sorry, but you have no right to behave like this. I have not said or done anything to you, and it is wrong for you to be insulting my mother. Please stop.” Or many other things. In fact, I would say, “You’re a homosexual, aren’t you?” is about as bad a response as I could imagine, short of more profanity and vulgarity. There was nothing “politically incorrect” about her comment. It was just dim, ineffective, provocative, and insulting.

          • Okay! I agree. She certainly could have said any number of other things to get her point across. I hope she learned from the experience.
            When I just took the time to think about how I would have handled it I probably would have walked out with my entourage and said nothing or complained to the management. None of the customers should have had to listen to such profanity unless it’s normal for that particular establishment. In the latter case, someone should have known better than to patronize the place.

  3. I’m kind of with Danielle on this one, Jack. At age twenty, I was old enough to know better, but that knowledge was all academic, and I hadn’t really internalized it. If someone had provoked me like that at that age, I’d probably have lashed out and, if they’d brought my mother into it, would have felt justified in going for the jugular (figuratively speaking, please). The guy was 47, and still has the social graces of a goat. Now, HE was the one truly old enough to know better. It would have been nice if Bristol had the moxie and maturity to brush it off, but the heckler’s got no moral high ground to claim, here.

    • Karl, I didn’t say he had moral high ground. Obviously his conduct was indefensible. Her conduct was not praiseworthy, and indeed was evidence of bigotry. I don’t believe that an unbigoted person says what she did. I don’t believe an unbtgoted person thinks that “you’re a homosexual” IS going for the jugular.

      For whatever reason, she’s a public figure, and paid like one—I don’t care how old she is. She doesn’t have the luxury of lashing out a individuals’ personal characteristics because she’s angry, and she should know that. AS I wrote to Danielle (instead of “Blah blah blah): “Read the accounts, read the comments, and read how many homophobic slurs are included among those praising her.”

      She legitimized gay-bashing for these and others. Not acceptable.

      • After reading your replies, to me and others, and after some additional thought, I have come to the conclusion that you have the true of it, and I stand corrected. The telling part for me was your point that some basic ethics were being forgotten, namely that bad conduct does not justify succeeding bad conduct. That’s Ethics 101, isn’t it? I forgot that in the heat of a moment. I’m older than the clod in the bar, and so have even less excuse for not knowing better. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Boy, people on this post are forgetting all their ethics and civility. ETHICS 101, Rule 14: Bad conduct doesn’t become more ethical because it is in response to conduct that may be worse. Rule 22: Someone else’s bad conduct doesn’t magically change the nature of your own.

      That’s right, she was provoked, and his comments were terrible. She still has an ethical obligation not to resort to incivility and name calling. Ethics isn’t always natural, instinctive or easy, but if you are in the public eye, you better learn how to react civilly, even to jerks.

      • True,two wrongs don’t make a right and she does have a greater obligation being in the public eye but the way I read your article made it appear that her slur “you’re a homosexual”was more bigoted than his “you’re ****ing white trash”. Both of them are bigots.

        • “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is actually #6.

          I didn’t think it was necessary for me to let the astute readers here know that screaming “You’re fucking white trash from Wasila!” and. “Fuck you, you fucking bitch!” at someone whose only “crime” was existence is unethical conduct. Palin, however, is being praised. Obviously some people don’t see what’s wrong with her saying “you’re acting like a asshole because that’s how gays act,’ which was what her remarks suggested, That’s why I focused on her, and I’m glad I did.

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