I’m sure most of you know Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced on Larry King Live that, “My contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year, and I’ve made the decision not to do radio anymore. The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special-interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.”
This occurring after an on-air tirade in which she used the N-word, I believe, eleven times.
Okay. So she hasn’t enjoyed the promise of the First Amendment for all the years she’s spewed her particular message across the airwaves, hither and yon? She wants to “regain” her First Amendment rights? Where did they go, sweetheart? You just woke-up one morning and they were gone? Methinks, my dear, the fallout from your callous, stupid N-word rant piqued that part of your psyche that holds no room or comfort for the proverbial taking of what you dish out. I mean it’s just inconceivable you could be WRONG about something. Right?
Let me just re-post my take on Dr. Laura written several years ago. And I’ll just leave it at that.
The Problem with Dr. Laura
I suppose if one really doesn’t like Dr. Laura, then one shouldn’t listen to her. I don’t like her, but I used to listen to her faithfully every day. What’s wrong with that picture?
My problem was that in spite of her whining, judgmental, snippy, hurtful, arrogant radio persona she was grotesquely, absurdly entertaining as were ninety percent of the people who called her; something like the visage of two-headed pigs, or frogs with seven legs that tend to fascinate us all. I continued to suffer through her baloney at least twenty minutes, five days a week during my lunch hour because, alas, she kept reminding me that all was not well, all was not safe, all was not peachy-keen in a world where so many faceless voices declared it was an “honor” to be able to speak to her. I listened to Dr. Laura because she kept reminding me—and we all should be thankful for that reminder—that the idolatry of this hurtful woman is downright scary. Vigilance is required.
And after having said that, there is another reason I kept listening to Dr. Laura: She was right…sometimes. Yes, I said it. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Dr. Laura was occasionally Right On! Dr. Laura was right when she harped on about kids needing discipline. Yes, and she was right about how gossip and holding grudges and that kind of crap is really wrong and stupid. It’s the other stuff she talked about that was hellishly entertaining and, in being so, guaranteed this hurtful woman her ill-got fortune.
I’m a fifty-five year old gay man who will, this year, celebrate with my partner twenty-two years of companionship, friendship, and love. There are, of course, more nouns I could roll out here to describe what we’ve shared—boredom, excitement, joy, sadness, life, the deaths of family, friends; pretty much just the essence of every committed relationship, man or beast, gay or straight; pretty much just the essence of the sharing of life itself.
Dr. Laura loves me, sight unseen, as a person, but condemns, hates, despises my lifestyle, sight unseen, categorically, necessarily, because I am gay. Sound familiar? Sound sort of…Christian?
I believe Dr. Laura became a Jew after having been raised Roman Catholic. I came out as a gay man after having been raised Roman Catholic. Go figure. I guess we all just kind of slip-slide into what we really are; what we were born to be. I am absolutely comfortable with my sexuality which, by the way, I did not “choose.” But, Dr. Laura seems to assault her “chosen” religion in some effort to be more Jewish than the rabbi; a kind of God thing, a kind of sitting at the right hand thing—a reasonable replacement for that namby-pamby Christian Jesus Christ. With unabashed temerity, Dr. Laura revels in the if God were here, this is what He’d say persona. Messianically [sic] inclined, I’d say.
James Lipton, while hosting the television program Inside the Actor’s Studio, ends each segment by asking the invited guest (usually an actor, sometimes a director) a series of pre-formatted questions. One of those questions is, “If heaven exists, what would you want God to say to you as you arrive at the pearly gates?” The best answer yet, came from Robert De Niro. His answer was: “If heaven exists, He’s got a lot of explaining to do!” I am fascinated by the image of De Niro standing at the base of His throne, gesticulating wildly while spitting out the questions: “Why Biafra? Why Nagasaki? Why the Black Death? Why cancer? Why war? Why polio? Why crack? Why the infliction of the ten million demons you have visited upon the human race? Why Hitler? Why Stalin? Why AIDS? Why Sadam? Yes, and Why September 11, 2001?”
Dr. Laura’s hurtful condemnation of working parents, gay parents, gay men and lesbians, and just about everything else under the sun that doesn’t wreak of apple pie, the flag and Judeo-Christian precepts, is a valuable commodity in the curious market of radio airtime. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that radio talk show hosts are the most prolific whores on the face of earth who revel in humping to death each and every half-baked, bullshit issue that happens to tickle their nose hair. And in this context, it is notable that Dr. Laura has found her comfortable corner in espousing a kind of megalomaniacal matriarchy where the self-satisfaction of sharing a pervasive “feel good” mentality (“I am my kid’s mom!”) does indeed tweak the brain cells of comfortably situated, heterosexual, white Christian folk who have nothing better to do than, yes, feel good about themselves.
Dr. Laura’s “schtick” is kids. Who can argue with her about the worth and value of kids? Nobody. The problem, though, is that if you’re not a comfortably situated (good job, nice house, two cars) heterosexual, you just can’t meet Dr. Laura’s expectations for being your kid’s mom or dad. Indeed, how many times has a poor and desperate soul called in to Dr. Laura to relate that 1) she’s not married; 2) she’s never been married; 3) she’s got two children; 4) she’s on welfare; 5) she’s got to work to keep a roof over her family’s heads, food in their stomachs and shoes on their feet; 6) and, AND! her children are in day care. Dr. Laura’s response: Stay home with the kids.
“Ah, well, okay, but how am I going to better myself so that I can get off welfare?”
“Get one of those work at home jobs. Use your computer at home to make a living.”
“I don’t have a computer at home.”
“Well, you’ll figure it out. Your children need a full-time mother. You’re the one who chose to get knocked-up twice without being married.”
Oh, our Dr. Laura was clever. I wish I would have thought of getting on the radio and espousing the worth and value of raising kids in a two parent home where God is in His heaven and all’s right with the world. I’ll bet she’s made a gazillion bucks off this tidy, feel good “schtick,” that brings smiles to all godly folk who don’t happen to be poor or desperate or sick or not beholdin’ to Judeo/Christian precepts which, by the way, is about three-quarters or more of the world.
Lordy, lordy, lordy.
So, Dr. Laura keeps babbling and I kept listening. I remember one woman who called her and told her that their family’s cat had had kittens and she, the mother, had told her husband and her children—after giving away all but two kittens—that they could keep only one of the remaining two kittens and no more. The husband had decided that he wanted to keep both of the kittens. The mother, while her husband was at work, (yes, she was a stayathome mom!), gave one of the two remaining kittens away, thus enforcing the decision she had made earlier. When her husband returned from work, he was angry with her for giving one of the two remaining kittens away. Her question to Dr. Laura: “Did I do the right thing?”
Suffice it to say, Dr. Laura took this question seriously. I don’t remember what her conclusion was, but suspect she took the side of the stayathome mom. Ah, if only life were really that simple; that easy. Dr. Laura’s daily theater of the absurd amused, frightened, and elicited animated verbalizations from me as I would drive to and from lunch every day.
God bless this little snip of a woman and her lovely child and her lovely husband and all that lovely money she’s made on the backs of good people just trying to make their way through a world that is not as tidy, as comfortable, as black, as white as it is for Dr. Laura and her minions. Yes, and when Dr. Laura gets to the Pearly Gates, perhaps God, who is probably a three-hundred pound black dyke who doesn’t shave her legs or armpits and just loves little Jewish ladies; perhaps God will stare Dr. Laura right between the eyes and say: “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, beeach!!!”