Always good to be able to have someone to look to for advice, isn’t it Laura?
Of course you’ve had a history of needing some advice yourself.
The above episode (superbly written by the great Joe Keenan) was inspired by an actual contretemps between Laura and her mother, recalled HERE by the ever-helpful Mrs. Betty Bowers.
But now the fecal matter has truly impacted the rotary blades Laura, leaving no one to defend you save the White Citizens Council and —
“I confess to having a residual soft spot for Laura Schlessinger, who is retiring from radio for finally going too far.”
That residual soft spot — in the back of your head — should have closed over years ago dear.
“When an African American caller asked her for help in dealing with what she considered racist remarks by friends and family of her white husband, Schlessinger mocked her as being hypersensitive and repeated the offending N-word several times.
Outrage ensued, and Schlessinger soon after announced her retirement. America’s self-appointed superego said that she was wrong but, characteristically feisty, also said that she is leaving radio not in shame but to reclaim her First Amendment rights.”
Translation: Her advertisers have deserted her.
“In other words, she wants to be able to say what she pleases without fear of offending certain groups. Don’t we all?”
Uh, no dear.
“But sometimes people are offended for good reason.”
Really? Who and what are they?
(crickets chirping )
“My soft spot for “Dr. Laura” corresponds to a period 15 years or so ago when she and I were often on the same page. I was writing a family-oriented column and listened to her on the radio while carpooling. Sometimes she would read my column on air.
Our shared anthem was “stop whining and take responsibility.” This is hardly a revolutionary concept today, but the idea had been gathering dust for some time following America’s cultural marriage of victimhood and narcissism. Coincident with widespread family dissolution — when extended-family safety nets had largely disintegrated — Schlessinger emerged to fill the role of a tough-love parent. “
“Schlessinger was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Monroe (Monty) Schlessinger, a civil engineer, and Yolanda Ceccovini Schlessinger, an Italian war bride.She grew up in Brooklyn, then on Long Island. She was an only child for eleven years until her sister, Cindy, was born.She has described her childhood environment as unloving and unpleasant, and her family as dysfunctional, ascribing some of the difficulty to extended family rejection of her parents’ mixed faith Jewish-Catholic marriage. While in her late 20’s, Schlessinger separated from her first husband, who was a dentist, and moved to Los Angeles, where her parents had resettled.
Schlessinger’s first time on radio was not as a host, but as a caller to the show of shock jock forerunner Bill Ballance in 1974. Impressed by her quick wit and sense of humor, Ballance began featuring her in a weekly segment. Ballance, who was married, also began a two year romantic relationship with her, which came to light many years later.”
“Schlessinger’s stint on Ballance’s show led to her own shows on a series of small radio stations, and by 1979, she was on the air Sunday evenings 9-midnight on KWIZ in Santa Ana, California. In 1979, the Los Angeles Times described her show as dealing with all types of emotional problems, “though sex therapy is the show’s major focus”.
In the late 1980s, Schlessinger was filling in for Barbara De Angelis’ noontime relationship-oriented talk show in Los Angeles on KFI, while working weekends at KGIL San Fernando. Her big break came when Sally Jessy Raphael began working at ABC Radio, and Maurice Tunick, former Vice-President of Talk Programming for the ABC Radio Networks, needed a regular sub for Raphael’s evening personal advice show. Tunick chose Schlessinger (who until that time, was little-known outside of Southern California), to fill in for Raphael.
Ultimately, Schlessinger began broadcasting a daily show on KFI which was nationally syndicated in 1994 by Synergy, a company owned by Schlessinger and her husband. In 1997, Synergy sold its rights to the show to Jacor Communications, Inc., for $71.5 million. Later, Jacor merged with Clear Channel Communications and a company co-owned by Schlessinger, Take On The Day, LLC, acquired the production rights. Today’s Dr. Laura Show is a joint effort between Take On The Day, which produces it, Talk Radio Network, which syndicates and markets it to radio stations, and Premiere Radio Networks, (a subsidiary of Clear Channel), which provides satellite facilities and handles advertising sales. As of September 2009, Schlessinger broadcasts from her home in Santa Barbara, California with KFWB as her flagship station. Podcasts and live streams of the show are available on her website for a monthly fee, and the show is also on XM Radio.
At its peak, The Dr. Laura Program was the second-highest-rated radio show after The Rush Limbaugh Show, and was heard on more than 450 radio stations.In May 2002, the show still had an audience of more than 10 million, but had lost several million listeners in the previous two years as it was dropped by WABC and other affiliates, and was moved from day to night in cities such as Seattle and Boston. These losses were attributed in part to Schlessinger’s shift from giving relationship advice to lecturing on morality and conservative politics. Pressure from gay-rights groups caused dozens of sponsors to drop the radio show as well. In 2006 Schlessinger’s show was being aired on approximately 200 stations. As of 2009, it was tied for third place along with The Glenn Beck Program and The Savage Nation.
On August 17, 2010, Schlessinger announced the end of her radio show during an appearance on Larry King Live, saying that her motivation was to “regain her First Amendment rights”, and that she wants to be able to say what is on her mind without “some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent.”Several of her affiliates and major sponsors had dropped her show because of her on air use of a racial epithet on August 10. Dr. Laura may have been unaware that the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution prevents government from interfering with free speech, but that it has nothing to do with private individuals, groups or broadcasters who criticize her comments.”
(Back to Kitty)
“Notoriously rapier-tongued, she always cut close to the bone. Invariably, the tougher she was with callers, the more they clamored for her. Voluntary public flagellation became a drawing card for an audience of 9 million listeners who apparently felt the need for a stern lecture.
Another reason for her popularity: Dr. Laura was usually right. Every now and then, she got it flat wrong, as when she said homosexuality was a “biological error.” That mistake cost her a TV show in 2000.”
And got her some well-deserved needling.
Too bad about that rotten kid of yours, Estevez. I’m sure Laura can sympathize — having one of her own and all.
“In 1998, Schlessinger was in a Costa Mesa surf shop, with her son, when she began perusing Big Brother, a skateboarding magazine. Schlessinger deemed the magazine to be “stealth pornography,” and said so on her radio show. When the owner of the store publicly denied that she found pornography in his store, Schlessinger sued him for lying, claiming that his denial had hurt her reputation.When the case went to court, the judge dismissed her suit as frivolous but the shop owner’s $4 million defamation countersuit lodged for hurting the reputation of his store, was allowed to stand.The suit has since been settled, but the terms of the settlement have not been revealed. Off the record, lawyers and friends claimed victory, indicating the settlement was “about the amount of a moderately-priced Orange County home” (at the time, $650,000 to $2 million).”
Clearly this left a deep scar on the lad.
“The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called “repulsive.” The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned “My Sweet Little Habib”; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.”
The wheels of racism grinding slowly in our military nothing has come of this so far. But that may change provided the complete picture is taken into account.
Meanwhile back to our anti-heroine —
“Worse than being wrong, which is a hazard of thinking aloud, she was guilty at times of not listening and leaping to conclusions before a caller had time to finish. Even so, to my frequent surprise, she got to the nugget and managed to reach exactly the right conclusion. Perhaps after decades of listening to the same 10 problems most humans suffer, she figured she could skip the chase altogether.
At other times, as now, her failure to listen is disastrous.”
Certainly not a failure for any celebrity I’ve ever heard of.
“The African American caller never was able to fully explain the context or content of the remarks that made her uncomfortable. Instead, Dr. Laura repeatedly interrupted, even suggesting that the woman shouldn’t have married outside her race if she was going to be so thin-skinned. We now have a new definition for “way over the top.”
I’d say it was more “scraping bottom.”
“Dr. Laura’s stated point was that since blacks frequently use the N-word, whites should be able to as well. She was correct that the word gets lots of exercise — and her use of it was in the prosecution of that point. Even so, the N-word stands alone as too injurious for whites to use, period. Everyone knows this. “
“When blacks use it, they are reclaiming the word, robbing it of its power to intimidate by making it their own. The same spirit was behind Eve Ensler’s “Reclaiming C—” in “The Vagina Monologues.” Used by a man against a woman, the word is vile and threatening. Used by women among women, it becomes something else. Silly, if you ask me, but benign.
In any case, context is key, and we never learned from Dr. Laura’s caller how the N-word was used in her situation. The woman may well have been justified in feeling hurt, and Dr. Laura might have helped. Instead, she made matters worse.”
“Even so, Dr. Laura deserves a little slack. The good she has done during her 30-year run, helping people see their own flawed thinking, should be balanced against her insensitivity in this case. She was unfeeling and callous, true. She also missed an opportunity to discuss why some words carry more freight than others.
But silencing people for expressing opinions or using certain words that grate on our public sensibilities carries its own risks. Even though Dr. Laura is retiring of her own volition, she is correct in noting that the overt hostilities waged in today’s world against any who speak “incorrectly” have become a threat to our ability to speak freely. No matter how unpleasant, an honest discussion is healthier for the nation than censoring thoughts that ultimately may find less appealing avenues of expression.”
Elsewhere in Pravda, Kitty colleague Rachel Dry chimes in.
“Does guilt make you less racist?”
“Dr. Laura Schlessinger is very sorry. “I am very sorry,” she said on the air Aug. 11, apologizing to her listeners for a racially heated broadcast the day before in which she, in her words, “articulated the N-word all the way out, more than one time.” The radio veteran promised: “And it just won’t happen again.”
Well, she’s probably right, for a number of reasons. Last week, she told Larry King that she will end her radio program at the end of the year. But there’s another reason, too. She made a very public mistake, demonstrating, in the view of many listeners, racial insensitivity. Because of that, she’s likely to work harder to avoid any prejudice or insensitivity in the future.”
She’s likely to work harder at making sure to address racist audiences.
“That’s one conclusion from “The Egalitarian Brain” by New York University psychologist David Amodio, a chapter in the new book “Are We Born Racist?,” a collection of psychological and sociological research on racism and the brain.
Amodio focuses on how our brains are wired to make snap judgments on race. The “basic machinery” to do this is located primarily in the subcortex. We can’t ignore these judgments, Amodio writes; our brains will never be “color blind.” Of course, our brains also have a neocortex that can “override our immediate, but sometimes inappropriate, reactions to people from other groups,” he writes.”
Amodio shows that when prejudice escapes — despite the neocortex’s best efforts — people become more vigilant in situations in which they might again express bias.
In his research, Amodio could see that people who had expressed prejudice in some way, and were trying not to do so again, experienced heightened activity in the part of their brain associated with greater self-control. Failure to act without prejudice can trigger stronger efforts to regulate one’s behavior in the future.
To explain this, he uses the same example that Schlessinger did on her fateful broadcast, when the radio host asked her caller, an African American woman, if it was “racist” to say to her “bodyguard and dear friend,” a black man, that she’d prefer for him to be on her pickup basketball team.
Amodio writes: “Let’s say you make a quip to a colleague that comes off as unintentionally racist: ‘Hey, I’d always rather have a black guy on my basketball team!’ ” Afterward, you might feel guilty, and that guilt is linked to “neural processes that help you think twice before you speak in the future.”
Which is good news for Schlessinger. In announcing her eventual departure from the airwaves, she said: “I’m not quitting. I feel energized, actually, stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said.”
In other words she’s going to play pickup basketball AND NOBODY’S GONNA STOP HER!
“Maybe the things that she believes need to be said will be a bit different now. “
Oh, maybe not.
Sing us out Spike!