Bristol Palin, Dancing With the Stars and Gunfire?

Bristol Palin

Apparently, I’m not the only one that was angry at Dancing With The Stars last night. It was the results show which decides who goes to the next week’s season finale, and Bristol Palin beat out top-scoring Brandy for the coveted third spot.

No matter how much I prepared myself for that to happen (I’ve watched enough of these competition shows to know how it works), I was still heated! I cussed a lot, swore I would boycott ABC, and immediately changed the channel. But my diatribe is nothing compared to Wisconsin resident, Steve Cowan’s reaction. He grabbed his shotgun, pointed it at his wife and then shot his television set. His wife called the police leading to a 15-hour standoff with a SWAT team. Cowan has been charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and could face up to ten years in prison.

This is the first season that I’ve ever watched Dancing With The Stars. I am one of the suckers who got drawn in by the allure of watching “The Situation” and Bristol Palin do cheesy ballroom dances to corny remakes of contemporary songs. I admit I wanted to see them make fools of themselves, and they did not disappoint.

Once “The Situation” left, my enjoyment of the show took a dive but I did stick around to watch Bristol’s awkward dancing and to yell at the TV every time they introduce her as a “teen activist.” I’ve also created a soap opera narrative where her partner, Mark will waltz her away from Mama Palin’s craziness into a apolitical world of shiny beaded ball gowns and samba. (A girl can dream.)

The interwebs have buzzed about a supposed conspiracy to have Bristol win the season. I’m a conspiracy theorist so I wouldn’t be surprised but really who would benefit from Bristol winning this dance contest besides her media-obsessed mama? Are these Tea Partiers still hype from midterm elections and want to transfer their collective voting power to sway reality TV contests? I guess I’d rather them do that than vote so heavily in real elections. I have my own thoughts about ABC’s (right wing) political leanings but all I will say is that the show has twice featured Palin going back home to her mama and her son, Tripp, to show off her “dance moves” giving Sarah more air time. *puke*

It’s infuriating to watch. Really. I understand Mr. Cowan’s frustration at the results. I’m annoyed. I’m sad for Brandy too…she worked really hard and clearly wanted to win. It’s unfair. But pointing a gun at your wife (or anyone for that matter)…not at all acceptable. Ever.

Join the Conversation

  • Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    I was laughing at all this on Jezebel, where they said that Sarah Palin was offended by salsa dancing or the tango. Obviously didn’t have any issue with Bristol shaking her boobs.
    Wait, you said Brandy? Not Brandy from “Moesha”? Noooooooooo!!!!!!

  • Napoleoninrags

    I don’t mean to be a jerk, but what exactly was the point of this post? Because, to my eyes, it just seems to be an attempt to get humor out of a domestic violence situation (even with the disclaimer tacked on at the end of the article, and only for those who clicked on the “read more” link).

    By the standards of this site, I think I’m very “anything goes” regarding jokes. But this post really confused me because it was on the front page at Feministing, didn’t seem to have anything to do with feminist critique or analysis, and made light of a man threatening to kill his wife. I guess what I’m saying is, if I saw a joke like this on Family Guy, I’d probably give it a pass since the whole point of the program is offensive humor, but in this context I really don’t know how to take it.

    • goddessjaz

      There’s nothing here making jokes about domestic violence. The idea is that 1) it’s absolutely insane and troublesome for anyone to get so upset about a reality TV show that they want to shoot another person. 2) Bristol Palin making the finals of DTWS smells rotten.

      • Napoleoninrags

        Thank you very much for the quick response.

        I guess I must have misunderstood the tone of the piece. On my first reading, the whole thing felt like a pretty standard “News of the Bizarre” kind of setup ie. “And you thought YOU were upset about the results on DWTS…”. It seemed to me to trivialize the incident by using it to make a point about the TV program. The frame of “but my diatribe is nothing compared to…” and “I understand Mr. Cowan’s frustration at the results” seemed much the more central concern of the piece rather than the domestic violence.

        Tone can be tough to decipher sometimes, so I hope my comments don’t seem like accusations. It just didn’t sit right with me when I read it.

        • goddessjaz

          No worries, I’m glad we can both clarify. Tone is something that gets lost in so much online communication (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and through texting, so I get it. I just wanted to make sure that I was clear that I didn’t find the domestic violence in the situation funny at all. It is utterly frightening and I’m glad that the wife was able to get away. I do understand that man’s frustration at the show…physically threatening someone, especially your partner, is horrific.

  • MKE

    Steve Cowan suffers from mental illness. Obviously, it was not really about Bristol Palin. The fact that most new agencies have framed it as such is just poor reporting.

  • Matt

    I watch a bit of sports on TV. Correction: I watch a lot of sports on TV. But I have teams that I like to watch, because they’re interesting, or they work hard, or they are made up of good human beings. I resent teams with a sense of entitlement, or are overhyped, use seemingly unlimited finances, and are comprised of players who are complacent or are jerks. My contempt for such undesired teams is not just enough for me to root against them — I usually won’t even watch them. So if the Celtics v/ Lakers v/ Heat come on TV, I choose something else… even if it is the NBA Finals.

    But even if one of the reviled teams plays a team I’m indifferent to, I’m still unlikely to watch. The “satisfaction” I get from watching them lose is less than the “misery” I get from seeing them win — “winners” are more memorable than the “losers” in competition, so the downside ends up being greater than the upside.

    I don’t know or understand the particular attachment to this show, but I would think people would want to pay attention to people they respect. Even if Al Qaeda presents a persistent threat to the US, I would rather play friendly sports, help other people, write a script, or play video games rather than hear (in detail) about their latest plot or video. Bristol Palin is no Osama Bin Laden, but she is a person capitalizing on undeserved attention, and it’d seem like the karmic thing to do would be to fight it in the simplest terms possible: not fueling her celebrity by watching a show featuring her.

    If there is any other way to satisfy your need for a dancing contest fix (or more broadly whatever other type of “fix” you need), I would personally recommend looking for it elsewhere. Schadenfreude is not as awesome as some people make it out to be.