Willow Palin's homophobic outburst startles nation

Just as her mother aims to charm America with an outdoorsy portrait of her Alaskan fairy tale life, along comes her potty mouthed daughter to harpoon the whole enterprise with a disastrous post on Facebook.

Responding to teenage critics of her mother's reality show, young Willow Palin unleashed a shocking tirade on another teen, calling him "so gay" and "such a faggot."

Whilst it's fair to say the majority of America's teens have at one time or another used the term gay as a pejorative, it's uncommon to hear the f-bomb unleashed so casually these days. Because at heart kids know it's just wrong.

The timing could not be worse for Willow's mother, who has been busy crafting a wholesome storyline that her daughter's words and actions now call into question. Before you can say gosh darn it, all those months of reality show preparation have gone up in STFU smoke.

From her comments, which are defensive and sour when they're not inarticulate, it's clear that Palin's daughter (if it actually is her) has quite a mean streak. The whole nation has just reflected on the lessons learned from a shocking spate of teenage gay (or accused of being gay) suicides. The bullies who hounded those young people to their deaths used the exact hateful taunts that Willow writes without hesitation.

"Sorry that all you guys are jealous of my families success and you guys aren't goin to go anywhere with your lives," she scoffed.

Way to stick it to those Alaskan hicks, Willow. You stay classy.

Some will claim it's unfair to hold Palin's daughter to account for her own hateful language. She's 16, they say, she's off limits. But perhaps we should care that she expresses herself so casually in such bigoted, homophobic language because of what it says about her background or her apparent lack of compassion - it certainly reflects poorly on her family life and her mother's ambitions.

If this is still some people's idea of normal high school banter they need to get out more. Most teens these days recognize hatefulness when they hear it. Willow Palin certainly didn't create the world where gay equals unequal, but like her mother, she appears to be working hard to prolong it.