Shame, which was in a comatose state for years, died this week.
The audience at the Late Show with David Letterman actually laughed and applauded as Letterman confessed he'd been sleeping with employees through the years and that now one of them and her boyfriend are accused of trying to extort $2 million out of him.
Maybe the audience was confused, as Letterman was sprinkling his confession with jokes. We doubt it. Regardless, the result is the same. Shame is a lifeless corpse today.
Letterman and his fans aren't necessarily the cause of death; they were simply the last ones tugging on the life support.
But how shameless has the late-night comedian been -- giving other public figures all manner of scorn wrapped in shark-toothed smirks, while quietly using his show's staff as a harem, all during a long-term relationship with his now-wife?
It was only this past summer that Letterman -- an unrelenting Sarah Palin critic -- shockingly made sick jokes about Palin's younger daughter being "knocked up" by a New York Yankees player while visiting the city.
If Letterman's confession had come from another public figure, particularly a conservative, he would have devoted his life to giving that person unmitigated grief.
As hypocritical and shameless as Letterman is, his audience's reaction is even more appalling and sad.
And ominous for society.
In a fleeting moment of apparent sincerity, Letterman called his actions "creepy."
"You know what's creepy?" asks one blogger. "Telling a story about having sex with your employees to people who LAUGH and APPLAUD."
Yep. Creepy's a good word.
But why are we surprised? Half the country shrugged and waved off illicit sex a few years ago in the people's Oval Office .
The question is, where can you go from there?
Or better yet, how low can we go from here?