Bristol Palin – Worst Person in the World?
This hasn’t been the first time that MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has taken pot-shots at the nominees for his “Worst Person in the World” segment, but is his derisive response to Bristol Palin’s new activism for teen abstinence a biting social critique or a personal attack? It’s hard to say. On the one hand, Olbermann’s arguments against the hypocrisy of the most famous teen mom in the 2008 political spotlight now giving advice to other kids against having sex, are credible. Is Bristol really the role model that parents want their kids to look up to when discussing the practices of safe sex and abstinence? I wouldn’t think so. As harsh as it may sound, whatever methods she might have been practicing at the time weren’t working too well.
This is the crux of Olbermann’s argument. Throwing aside the pointed personal jabs leveled at the Palin family, the fact of the matter is that a girl who has already gotten pregnant is an odd choice to be suddenly lauding the practices of safe sex. But Bristol (whether by herself or with the help of her mother’s speech writer) has volleyed back a defense on her Facebook page towards Olbermann, and her comments make a lot of sense. She admits that she made a mistake in not using protection but argues that it is for this very reason that she is qualified to teach others about the benefits of behaving more responsibly. In her thirty second public service TV annoucement for the Candie’s foundation, Bristol points out that she knows she is fortunate in coming from a well-to-do family who have been able to support her in the raising of her child. But she also recognizes that there are many other teen mothers who are not so fortunate. Her commercial is a simple yet thought-provoking, transformative look at what pregnant girls who come from lower classes and with less family support continue to face.
This commercial, while not the most profound, is certainly more effective than her new ad with Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, her Dancing with the Stars chum, which Olbermann also rips on, though this time, with more credibility (in my opinon, at least). The B-Palin/Situation paring is a contrived and hokey little skit, with painfully corny dialogue that inevitably falls flat in conveying its message. Bristol Palin’s assertion that she will not “hook up” before marriage seems a bit over the top considering that she already has a kid, and the Situation whipping out a pack of condoms to prove that if you have to sex, make sure its safe sex is cringe-inducing.
Long story short, are these ads effective? Time will tell. I personally would give my vote in favor of the first commercial mentioned. At least that spot, though a trifle heavy-handed, gets the message across. And Bristol Palin – is her advocacy with Candie’s an attempt to spread her hard-won knowledge with other teens or a shameless publicity plug? Honestly, I believe she has good intentions. Why else would she put herself out there to be ridiculed by Keith Olbermann and countless detractors? Yes, she had a baby. And now she’s trying to encourage others not to have one while they are still so young, physically and emotionally. Granted she is not the ideal choice to go about this by leading through example but as she makes a point to remark in her statement – sometimes the best advice is given by someone who has been put in a similar situation. Even if she didn’t necessarily make the right choice at the time, but was lucky enough to have been born into a privileged family willing to provide her support and encouragement, at least she recognizes that she can try to provide some advice for those who might also tread the same path, with less fortunate results. Does this make her, as Olbermann snidely jokes, the worst person in the world? Hardly. I think its time to give the girl a break and move on….