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Letterman apology fascinating, terrifying

October 4, 2009

If you haven’t seen it yet, David Letterman’s nerve-racking 10-minute apology at least provides for enthralling television. Part of the reason for this is certainly that Letterman gave America something that it doesn’t see from its celebrities very often – complete and total honesty on a national stage. Before I go into the matter any more, check out the video:

What is perhaps most striking about the clip is the audience’s reaction. They start the clip by laughing along with Letterman, expecting this to be a prototypical late-night monologue from a man who has established himself as one of the snarkiest commentators of the late night scene. Around halfway through, however, they suddenly realize that Letterman is not kidding, at all.

We as a culture have become so used to our celebrities being little more than glorified goldfish parading down runways in designer clothing that when one of them takes the step of exposing his own flaws before the media can do it, the step seems nearly unprecedented.

The Internet plays a major role in this, as we all seem to know everything about anyone. Once the tentacles of gossip and rumors extend into very private details like they did Thursday, they acquire a degree of menace that is absent from People Magazine and E!

Letterman took what could have been the scariest moment of his life and, by stepping up and addressing it on his own terms, managed to turn it into one of the most positive moments of his public life.

Originally posted at On Popular Culture

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