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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 11/17/2010

Willow Palin's apparent Facebook rant -- a PSA for Facebook Groups?

By Alexandra Petri

I know whom Tre Name Redacted should unfriend for National Unfriend Day: Bristol and Willow Palin.

bristol apol.bmp

I'm having difficulty coming up with a response to Willow Palin's much-bruited, alleged Facebook comment outburst against a classmate, Tre Name Redacted, who posted the status, "Sarah Palin's Alaska, is failing soo hard right now." As TMZ reported it and Politico re-reported it, instead of simply disagreeing and critiquing his grammar ("Why are you dragging that poor comma into this?"), Willow exploded, as did Bristol, as, promptly, did everyone else involved in the thread, even some total strangers, leaving a trail of badly wounded participles, mangled spellings, and two homophobic slurs (courtesy, apparently, of Willow).

Still, I'm torn between two of my core principles: my belief in the inalienable right of young people to say stupid things on the Internet, and my corresponding belief that it is never okay to call someone "gay" as an insult or use the f-slur. It's ignorant, unclassy, and unkind. Saying that things are "really gay" should be reserved for situations such as: "Those two guys are getting legally married!" or "Hey, there goes Elton John!"

I think we should pick other broad generalizing words for people to use as insults -- maybe "homophobic" or "absentee father." Using that, Willow's alleged responses to her hater would have run as follows: "Haha your so homophobic. I have no idea who you are. But what I've seen pictures of, your disgusting... My sister had a kid and is still hot. And don't talk [feces] about Andy," and "Tre stfu. Your such an absentee father."

I wish that we could do something about the spelling also, but this is Facebook. This returns me to my other point. You can't simultaneously ask for privacy and publicity, but I will defend the ability of teenagers to post obnoxious Facebook rants as fiercely as any mama grizzly protects her cubs' power to do whatever it is grizzly cubs do. It's not a privilege. It's a rite of passage.

Unfortunately, the Social Network is a messy place. Facebook is a snarl of mutual acquaintances, miscommunications, and people who just want to play Farmville and be left alone. But nowadays, so much of the business of real-life friendship is conducted on Facebook (how many times have you wished life included a "like" button?) that we almost forget it's a public forum. Then something like this happens and reminds us.

If this (language warning) had been a real, live conversation, it wouldn't be on national gossip blogs now, because it would have stayed among friends -- even if those friends call each other hateful slurs and put down each other's reality TV shows. But what are the odds of that? Who has real conversations? Our generation doesn't converse. We comment.

And the other problem with Facebook and the social networks it creates is that it renders it impossible to be an innocent bystander. One day you click "Like" on your friend Tre's status, and, suddenly, you're implicated in an apparent vitriolic posting match with Bristol Palin, Willow Palin, and several individuals whose names TMZ redacted.

In fact, the person I feel worst for in this whole interaction is Austin Name Redacted, who clicked that he "liked" the status that reportedly provoked the whole acrimonious debate. He must have received well over 30 notification e-mails! That must have been awful. Maybe he's the one who leaked it.

Usually, there is no way to punish the person responsible for your receiving dozens of notification e-mails. In a way, Austin is acting out a fantasy we all have had at some point.

Oscar Wilde once wrote that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. But for the Palins, that often seems not to be the case -- remember Sarah's response to the Letterman joke? More applicable would be the words of Noel Coward: "I can take any amount of criticism, so long as it is unadulterated praise."

Now Bristol has used her Facebook page to apologize -- "Willow and I shouldn't have reacted to negative comments about our family. We apologize. On a nicer note, thank you for supporting the great competition in Dancing with the Stars!"

Maybe it will turn out later that this was all a PSA for Facebook Groups. "Look, Tre!" the message will say. "If you had only limited the visibility of your status updates to your real friends, none of this would have happened."

By Alexandra Petri  | November 17, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Only on the Internet, Petri, Worst Things Ever  | Tags:  Facebook, The Palins  
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Comments

Those teabagging Palins are a disgrace. As President Obama and the Democrats always like to tell the American people that Teabaggers are anti-social, anti-nature and anti-God.

Historically, teabaggers have been widely condemned by the society. Our great President Barack Obama has always been on the national media to educate young American children that the teabagging behaviours of the Teabaggers are, abnormal, immoral, despicable, disgusting and non-human. The President and the Democrats have always been at the forefront to call out those Teabaggers from teabagging the American people.

We must all unite to condemn and persecute the teabagging behaviour of those Teabaggers. Let's us hunt and crucify those teabagging Teabaggers for America, for our God and above all for our great President Barack Obama the Great !

Democrats Against Teabaggers Unite ! Follow President Obama as he leads a holy crusade against those ungodly Teabaggers.

Posted by: haigeonos | November 17, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Is this a joke or what ?

The President of America, his Democrats and his lamestream media cronies have been using homophobic derogatory term "Teabaggers" to smear their political critics and degrade the gay community very regularly and almost daily on national media. Yet everybody seem to be very happy and satisfied with their homophobic behaviour. While a 15 year old teenager uses term in her private space is wrong ??!!

Is this racist or what. The Democrats and the lamestream media are going after Willow Palin simply because she is a Native Alaskan and has Native American heritage. Since the 19th century, the Democratic Party and the liberals engineered and executed a genocidal campaign to exterminate the American Indians, driving them ultimately into those Indian Reserve Ghetto. The historical national agenda of the Democratic Party (the Party who founded KKK, imprison American Japanese in WWII and started the Vietnam war to kill more Asians) is to contain and ethnic cleansing the Native American.

President Obama's first act was to cancel federal pension funding for the Native Alaskan World War II veterans to demonstrate his intense hatred and contempt against the Native Americans. Native Americans are the first to be sent to Obama's death panels.

Thus there is so much outrage against Willow while none for Obama. The Demcrats, liberals and lamestream media hated and despised the Native Americans.

Posted by: cxyehonala | November 17, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

To the evil hateful liberal haigeonus, why don't you people shut the hell up, Obama is a disgrace to this country, And i am getting sick and tired of these GAYS pushing their sick vile agenda in our face, Good for bristol Palin, and another thing you moron, God is not on your side it is Obama that is Anti-God it is Obama that is the Baby killer it is Obama that is Anti-Social, It is That no good Obama that is Destroying this country, I can't wait til 2012 to kick the rest of your no good dirty rotten scum butt's out, We are not the one that are full of hate ,You Liberal Are!!!! Democrats and Liberal's are scum!!!! I hope Palin Or another Republican Canidate Kicks Obama's No good Ass Out

Posted by: frank1954 | November 17, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

The problem here is not really the stupid things that kids are doing on the internet. The problem is that these kids are emulating their elders. Example: first three comments to this article by @haigeonos, @cxyehonala, and @frank1954.

Posted by: kejia32 | November 17, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

This article had me stumped at the headline, “A PSA For Facebook Groups?” Fortunately, I am known as “The Earl of Google”, so I discovered that PSA means “Prostate Specific Antigen”.

I whipped out my Wikipedia and found that when your doctor orders a PSA test, he also inserts his finger into your, ahem (the source of all ComPost material). Being familiar with your penchant for metaphors, I am now able to translate your headline into plain (Palin) English:

Willow Palin's Apparent Facebook Rant – An “A-Hole” For Facebook?

Thanks to “this” link, I found the actual Facebook transcript and read it to the bitter end. I was not surprised to find that the lamestream media selected the few posts that referred to people who don’t ask and don’t tell.

So why didn’t the biased, liberal media highlight THIS post by Facebook’s new Rodney (Can’t we all just get along) King?

“Imran___ Ahhhhh let’s stop with the hatin and get with the masturbatin lol.”

Posted by: divtune | November 18, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

frank1954, learn how to use apostrophes, punctuation, and proper capitalization.

Also,

"We are not the one that are full of hate ,You Liberal Are!!!! Democrats and Liberal's are scum!!!!"

is going into my lesson plan for when I need to define "hypocrisy."

Posted by: purpledrank | November 18, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

How gay/straight is this:
When Bill Clinton and Barack Obama asked that their children be kept out of the news, the national news media cooperated fully. The Clintons and Obamas could trot out their children anytime they wanted for publicity purposes and then retreat back into their cocoon of privacy.
When GW Bush's daughters engaged in any kind of embarrassing or questionable behavior, they were flung into a media hurricane. Sarah Palin's daughters are receiving the same treatment, though the military service of her son is conveniently ignored.
The shackles were finally removed from press coverage of Chelsea Clinton when her parents decided to beat the drums for her ballyhooed nuptials. It was seldom if ever noted in the ongoing press celebration of the event that Chelsea had made a fortune after her schooling at a hedge fund job her parents had procured for her for which she had no qualifications but was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonetheless.
There was never any significant press coverage of the misdeeds of Vice-President and presidential hopeful Al Gore's children, including a son who has committed repeat felonious behavior (think drugs) and was at least once apprehended by police while speeding at over 100 mph. Not an ecologically efficient velocity, by the way.
Though the mainstream press waits breathlessly for Republican candidates to make any blunder during debates, from botching perfect grammar to checking the time while someone else is speaking, there was no outcry whatsoever when John Kerry broke an unwritten but firm rule against involving an opponent's children in a campaign. Kerry not only referenced Dick Cheney's daughter during a debate but informed the nation that the daughter was Lesbian. To this day Kerry fears getting within slugging distance of Cheney or his wife. What blowback did Kerry get from the press for his unbelievably crass behavior? Pretty much none.
There's no question or denying what's going on: The mainstream press strives to highlight anything negative about children of Republican presidents and vice-presidents, to ignore their positive achievements and to cover up the mischief of their Democratic counterparts.
The remarks and the maternity of Sarah Palin's kids are of no news significance. To the extent that they can be fanned to negative effect, however, the press, abetted by the Democratic Party, will try its hardest.
The kids may be stupid, but the coverage that's shoveled on them is just more evidence of a bought-and-sold press that's as "independent" as Keith Olbermann.
Is the press acting gay? It's sure not playing things straight.
Jerry from Michigan

Posted by: shakingmyhead2 | November 19, 2010 3:36 AM | Report abuse

How gay/straight is this:
When Bill Clinton and Barack Obama asked that their children be kept out of the news, the national news media cooperated fully. The Clintons and Obamas could trot out their children anytime they wanted for publicity purposes and then retreat back into their cocoon of privacy.
When GW Bush's daughters engaged in any embarrassing or questionable behavior, they were flung into a media hurricane. Sarah Palin's daughters are receiving the same treatment, while the military service of her son is conveniently ignored.
The shackles were finally removed from press coverage of Chelsea Clinton when her parents decided to beat the drums for her nuptials. It was seldom if ever noted in the ongoing press celebration of Chelsea that she had been making her fortune through a hedge fund job her parents had procured for her for which she had no qualifications but was and maybe still is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for.
There was never any significant press coverage of the misdeeds of Vice-President and presidential hopeful Al Gore's children, including a son addicted to repetitive felonious behavior (think drugs) and who was at least once apprehended by police while speeding at over 100 mph.
So pronounced is the double standard that John Kerry received little or no blowback from the established media when he trampled the unwritten but firm rule against dragging the family of one's opponents into a presidential/vice-presidential campaign. The unbelievably crass Kerry used the occasion of a debate to announce to the nation that Dick Cheney's daughter was gay.
There's no denying what's going on here: Highlight anything negative about children of Republican presidents and vice-presidents while ignoring their achievements and covering up the mischief of their Democratic counterparts.
The remarks and the maternity of Sarah Palin's kids are irrelevant. To the extent that they can be fanned to negative effect, however, the press, abetted by the Democratic Party, will try its hardest.
However adolescent and foolish the kids may be, the controversy heaped on them is just more evidence of a bought-and-sold press that's as "independent" as Keith Olbermann.
Is the press acting gay? It's sure not playing things straight.
Jerry from Michigan

Posted by: shakingmyhead2 | November 19, 2010 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Apologies for submitting essentially the same long post twice. The first time I received an auto-reply that stated my submission was too long and was being rejected, so I shortened it a little and re-sent. I wasn't writing for my own amusement. Jerry from Michigan

Posted by: shakingmyhead2 | November 19, 2010 4:02 AM | Report abuse

shakingmyhead2, the difference there is that Clinton, Gore and Obama have families, and ran on their record and qualifications. Sarah Palin has no record, at least not a very good one, and so she consistently used her family as a political prop and foregrounded her family values as essential to judging her as a candidate and leader. So when it turns out her daughter got knocked up in high school, and her other daughter is behaving like an ass, it speaks to her self-assigned qualifications.

Kerry didn't out Cheney's daughter. She was openly gay, and Edwards noted that this requires courage in very awkward phrasing. What Edwards was trying to point out was Dick Cheney's hypocrisy in supporting a party which gives a free pass on hate speech regarding homosexuality. Get your facts squared away, buddy.

Posted by: purpledrank | November 19, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Whoa.. guys! It's a good thing this isn't on Facebook, or the whole world might read it someday.

You obviously didn't read to the end of the Palins' Facebook snittyfight where one of her "frenemies" made this peace offering:

“Ahhhhh let’s stop with the hatin and get with the masturbatin”

Posted by: divtune | November 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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