Which One's the Dictator?

After watching the media treat the dramatic Iranian protests and the Letterman/Palin squabble with equal weight, Lee Siegel’s brain began to equate the two.

Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images; Phil Sandlin / AP Photo

Item: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared on NBC’s Today show this morning and insisted that David Letterman apologize to the young women of America for his joke about her daughter being impregnated by Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez at a Yankee game. Mr. Letterman had already apologized first for saying that Gov. Palin had been seen at Bloomingdale’s buying makeup to “update her slutty flight-attendant look,” and second for his remarks about her daughter, claiming that during 30 years as a comedian he had never made a sexual joke about a 14-year-old, and never would.

Item: Riots erupted in Tehran today as thousands of people took to the streets to protest the results of the Iranian presidential election, which declared the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by millions of votes.

Sarah Palin, who had called David Letterman’s joke about her daughter “sexually perverted” and “pathetic” yesterday turned down Mr. Letterman’s invitation to appear on his show.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the top challenger to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, tonight declared himself the winner of the election by a margin of two to one as violent clashes between demonstrators and police continued in the country’s capital.

David Letterman issued a second apology for a joke he made about Yankee star Alex Rodriguez “knocking up” Alaska Gov. Palin’s daughter during a Yankee game. In his first apology, Letterman had not specified which daughter he was referring to, but in the apology he made on his show Monday night, Letterman claimed that he was referring to Gov. Palin’s 18-year-old daughter Bristol, who was not at the game, and not Gov. Palin’s 14-year-old daughter, Willow, who was at the game.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi continued to defy the government’s ban on peaceful demonstrations and led tens of thousands of supporters in a demand that the government order a recount in last Saturday’s election.

The National Organization for Women condemned David Letterman for remarks he made on his show that seemed to endorse the idea of raping either Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s 18-year-old daughter, Bristol, or her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, who attended a Yankee game last week. Bristol Palin was not at the game.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi today insisted that the young women of Iran condemn President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for manipulating the election last Saturday, which President Ahmadinejad insisted that he won by a wide margin.

Sarah Palin led thousands of women in a peaceful demonstration yesterday in front of New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater, where CBS records Late Show with David Letterman.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered a limited apology to the tens of thousands of Iranians currently rioting in the streets of Iran.

CBS executives refused to accede to the demands of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s supporters, who have been rioting in the streets outside New York City’s legendary Ed Sullivan Theater, that David Letterman retract his joke about Yankee mega-slugger Alex Rodriguez knocking up at least one of Governor Palin’s daughters “out of the park.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered a second limited apology to the hundreds of thousands of Iranians rioting in Tehran’s tree-lined streets, claiming that when he declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner in last Saturday’s election, he was referring to the eastern part of the country, which had reported all its votes, and not the western part of the country, which had not.

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Violent protests continued today in front of New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater as David Letterman was placed under house arrest.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi today turned down Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s invitation to appear in Yankee Stadium with Bristol Palin and apologize to the people of Iran.

Gov. Sarah Palin and several million of her supporters demanded today that Nielsen, the television ratings company, order an immediate recount of the audience for Late Show with David Letterman.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last night that in 30 years of public service he had never once stolen an election, though he had made countless jokes about sexually molesting both 18-year-old and 14-year-old girls.

The Today show erupted into violence this morning.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi apologized to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for calling him a dirty-minded “52-year-old male celebrity” who had been impregnated by Supreme Slugger Ayatollah Ali Khamenei between revolutions.

Gov. Sarah Palin today declared herself the queen of late-night television by a margin of two to one.

NBC apologized to the Ed Sullivan Theater.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepped up his criticism of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had described President Ahmadinejad as a “slut” who once worked at “Bloomingdale’s,” saying that Moussavi was using tired rhetoric that had been sold to the Iranian people by Jewish businessmen under the shah.

Sarah Palin apologized today to Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi, who apologized to David Letterman, who apologized to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who apologized to Yankee manager Joe Girardi, who apologized to President Ahmad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who apologized to Bloomingdale’s.

Renowned Yankee player Alex Rodriguez and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared together on the Today show, where they issued a joint statement calling for a higher degree of special-needs awareness in Iran.

Yankee Stadium apologized to the people of Q’um.

Iran’s Guardian Council announced that it would hold a special two-hour recount of the presidential election in New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater on September 6. Alaska apologized to Iran, Iran apologized to The New York Times, and Willow Palin apologized to Israel while riots continued in Tehran and Manhattan as Late Show with David Letterman entered its 16th season.

Lee Siegel has written about culture and politics and is the author of three books: Falling Upwards: Essays in Defense of the Imagination; Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television; and, most recently, Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. In 2002, he received a National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism.