If you wondered what it would finally take for TLC to cancel a show like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you now have your answer: it would take child molestation. That's the bridge-made-of-empty-Natty-Light-cans too far. The fact that the full-on sexual abuse of a child is really the logical conclusion of the child beauty pageant industry in which "Honey Boo Boo" thrived is an irony apparently lost on TLC, but the network knew it had to pull the plug on the show after some very nasty recent revelations. In case you've wisely plugged "Honey Boo Boo" into your social media filter, what happened was that genetic experiment gone horribly wrong "Mama June" Shannon, Honey Boo Boo's mother, began dating a convicted child molester who abused one of her relatives. She denies this and is now taking her case directly to the American people, but TLC doesn't seem to be buying any of it. And so the child endangerment that's been a part of the show's inbred DNA -- televised exploitation, kid beauty pageants, feeding a child Mountain Dew and Red Bull on an IV drip -- wasn't enough to scare the hell out of the network but the threat of actual child sexual assault apparently was, thus, there goes Honey Boo Boo.
I bring this up because the white trash drama of the Honey Boo Boo clan segues quite nicely into the latest developments in the ongoing saga of the Palin family's big drunken brawl, which happened at a party back in September. Family matriarch and incurable social disease Sarah Palin is finally breaking her silence about the whole thing, taking to her overworked Facebook page to both defend herself and her kinfolk and to, of course, slam the media for mocking them instead of taking seriously what was a "humiliating" experience for the entire family.
The apology she's referring to is one that CNN anchor Carol Costello delivered yesterday. A couple of days earlier, before running police audio of Bristol Palin freaking out the night of the fight, Costello had called the clip "quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across." This drew indignation and charges of hypocrisy from Bristol, who argued that the "liberal media" typically reacts with outrage when a woman is the victim of violence but when a conservative woman is the victim, they point and laugh. Despite reports which claim that the Palins and Bristol in particular started the whole thing, Costello seemed to agree and offered up an unqualified mea culpa. Thing is, she really didn't need to. She might have from a professional perspective, since she is an anchor on a major cable news outlet, but realistically there was no need to apologize for doing the verbal equivalent of shaking her head at two minutes of the daughter of a former candidate for Vice President of the United States drunkenly crying about how her entire family had just been involved in a big fight -- a fight in which she claims to have been called a cunt, had her $300 sunglasses stolen and her "thong dress," whatever the hell that is, pulled up -- and wound up retreating to their white Hummer limo.
The reason is that, yes, there's something that's just so wonderfully "Palin" about the whole thing. The Palins should be conducting themselves with a certain amount of decorum being that they truly were, at one point, within arm's reach of the Vice Presidential home. But since day one they've not only been little more than classless, nouveau riche white trash; they've parlayed Sarah Palin's celebrity status into book deals, reality shows, TV dramas and, in the case of Bristol specifically, a stint on Dancing with the Stars. In other words, they're no different than the Kardashians. Or maybe a better comparison would be, despite having a lot more cash and inexplicably being asked for an opinion now and then by Fox News, they're no different than the cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
Families bring with them unexpected issues, sometimes embarrassing ones. But most people's families -- particularly families in a position to represent in some small way the United States of America -- don't get into wild drunk melees at parties. Most families don't ride around places like Alaska in garish Hummer limos because they think it's an awesome way to show off. Most families don't rant about "faggots" on Facebook. Most families aren't recorded after wild drunk party melees calling somebody "a little pussy" and using the word "gay" in a derogatory manner. But the Palins do. They do all that shit and more. Because they're not the family of a former elected leader and ex-candidate for Vice President of the United States -- they're a reality show family. They're a finer-coiffed version of Mama June, Sugar Bear and Honey Boo Boo with delusions of both grandeur and unpretentiousness at the same time.
They're a living, breathing punchline and a national embarrassment -- and there's no reason to treat them as anything more.