It's sad when your heroes fall or fail in any way. Of course we are all human, we are all flawed. But sometimes you have a picture in your mind about who somebody is and what they stand for and then something happens that reminds you all too clearly just how human and flawed they are, and wellit's disturbing.

Did I ever think Letterman was a saint? Hardly. He is a comic and he has an edge to his humor, always has. That edge is part of his appeal. However, he can also be a gentleman (kissing the hands of his female guests, for instance.) And he can also be quite gracious. (Remember how lovely he was toward the doctors and nurses who helped him through a major health crisis not that long ago?)

So, yes, I did have a picture of a "gentleman" in my mind, and then last night, when he spoke of his affairs with some of his female staffers, and the man who had attempted to extort him regarding those affairs, that image was shattered. I'm not about to boycott him or his show. But I am creeped out, not only by his infidelity, but by who he chose to be unfaithful with: people on his staff. Whenever you get involved with an employee, there is something sketchy about that. Was it consensual? Probably. But there is always that weird power boss-employee dynamic that makes things tricky and puts such affairs in an even greyer area than standard affairs.

He is clearly feeling guilty and creeped out by his own behavior (and the consequences). He said as much in his oddly comic telling of the story on his own show. I guess he just figured he had better tell the world first (putting his own spin on it) before the press got wind of it and put their own (perhaps even more damaging) spin on it. The trouble is, there is no "good" way to spin such a story. It's just plain, well, creepy, and he knows that.

Will some fans walk away from him forever? Who knowsOnly time will tell. It is clear that he will never discuss the matter again. Another day, another fallen "hero," if you can call a professional funnyman a "hero." I feel sad for his wife and child. And I feel sad for him, and for the women involved, especially if these affairs broke up any marriages or caused any other collateral damage of any kind. It's just sad and unfortunate all the way around By the way, the fact that a producer tried to extort money from him is also very wrong. Everything about the whole situation is just ugly and sad.