Now That He's Apologized, Will Hollywood Have Any Use for Levi Johnston?

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Levi Johnston cozies up to Kathy Griffin - like she really cares...

So: Levi Johnston has come out and apologized publicly for slandering Sarah Palin and her family. He told People magazine:
“Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize."

Johnston wasn’t specific about what it was that he said that was “not completely true,” but he asked Sarah and the rest of her family to accept his “regrets and youthful indiscretion.” However, we can speculate that he may have been referring to a comment made in an interview with Barbara Walters that “she knows what I got on her.” Or perhaps it was his claim that Sarah referred to her youngest son Trig “the retarded baby” and that her marriage was falling apart. Then again, it could be his accusation that she left her post as Alaska’s governor in order to cash in on her fame. "She had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people had been offering us and you know just run with it, say 'forget everything else.’”

His apologies are probably most welcome to the Palins. However, the damage has been done – and not just to Sarah Palin and her family.

When young adults like Levi Johnston are suddenly shoved into the public spotlight –- the father of Bristol Palin’s then-unborn baby during a highly contested presidential campaign and, at the time, her fiancée -– the results can be devastating. Heck, just look at the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. And when his relationship with Bristol faltered, he was, to quote his own words, “unhappy and a little angry.” Most of us know what it’s like to break up with someone – you want to emotionally hurt them as much as you feel you have been hurt. And for Johnston, what better way than to go public with embarrassing accusations that were reported by media eager to humiliate Sarah Palin just as much as her daughter’s ex was?

Add to this already toxic brew Hollywood’s desire to do everything they could to showcase Sarah Palin to the world as a brainless, redneck hick in order to keep her out of national public office and you have a PR disaster of nuclear proportions just waiting to happen.

One might say that Levi Johnston deserves no quarter – he’s a legal adult, after all, and should be held accountable for his own words and actions. But I can’t help but feel a smidgen of pity for a young man who was obviously naïve and unworldly enough to believe that people like self-avowed D-list celeb Kathy Griffin had his best interests at heart when she took him as her date to the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, featured him on an episode of her television show My Life on the D List (where she ogled his Playgirl spread), and recently said that every time she’s with Johnston in public it’s her “very subtle middle finger to Sarah Palin.” Johnston was also courted on the talk show circuit, was cast in a B-horror movie and was at one point shopping a reality show about Alaskan “bromances” (a term I dislike about as much as “have a good one” instead of “have a nice day” and people saying they have to go p** rather than say they have to go to the bathroom).

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A star sucker is born

So why is Johnston apologizing now? Has he finally realized that Hollywood doesn’t love him – rather, they love using him to trash his son’s grandmother? Or has his latent conscience finally come to the fore? Whatever the reason, it’s a sad commentary on today’s society where people, especially young people with precious little life experience to prepare them, are so infatuated with the idea of fame that they’ll do just about anything to get their proverbial 15 minutes of it. Yet the Hollywood machine grinds on, littering the ground around it with the shattered remains of these broken lives, all in the name of politics and money.

As Big Hollywood’s Joseph Lindsey notes:

[W]hen the media showers the public with the car crash that is Levi Johnston they are filled with glee because somehow they believe they are helping their liberal cause by destroying a young man, smearing a young mother and mocking a conservative woman who rose to power by her own boot straps.

And BH’s Kurt Schlichter calls this type of exploitation the new minstrel show:
The minstrel shows of the past were calculated to demonstrate white superiority through the employment of the most degrading stereotypes and the ritualized humiliation of the African-American performers. This shameful circus is no different. Levi’s mindless brand of masculinity, his dropping out of high school, his troubled home life – these are all the hyper-exaggerated cultural touchstones the bicoastal liberal elite imagines define the rest of our country.

Levi Johnston is what they want to see when they look at Middle America. They don’t want to see the young heroes like Track Palin, an Iraqi Freedom vet. They don’t want to see Americans whose commitment to a better world is manifested by their putting their lives on the line instead of pasting a “Hope & Change” bumper sticker to the back of their Prius. They want – and need – clowns, and Levi is only too happy to oblige them.

“Youthful indiscretion” is a kind way to characterize what Levi Johnston did. I am sure there are others out there who would use a much harsher term. But he was egged on by an industry that didn’t care what happened to him in the end, as long as they could squeeze every drop of bitterness and angst out of this troubled young man in order to use it in their continued attack on conservatism and those in Middle America who embrace it. Now that he’s made a public apology, expect his newfound “friends” to drop him like a hot rock. Maybe Tina Fey will reprise her Sarah Palin shtick on Saturday Night Live in order to skewer Johnston for daring to bite the gnarled hand that fed him.

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Tina Fey pretending she's as savvy and pretty as Sarah Palin

Whatever Johnston’s future holds, I hope it includes much introspection for how his public antics affect him and his family, including his infant son, who will surely someday find out that his dad traded his integrity for a nudie spread in Playgirl and a spot in a pistachio commercial. I hope it doesn’t include continuing to allow Tinseltown to use him for their own nefarious ends. He owes it to himself, and in the end may become a positive role model for young people in America who will do anything to become famous – or, in Johnston’s case, infamous – and sell their souls in the process.


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