Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dr. Laura's big mouth. And some girls' big, uh, hearts.

Can someone please explain to me why everyone's panties are all bunched up over Dr. Laura's latest indiscretion? Why this one? Hasn't the woman said and done worse in her day? And if you actually listen to the clipgive it a chance, observe how the controversial exchange took shapewhere did she go awry? Or are we just so hypersensitive to perceived racial slights nowadays that as a culture, we feel we have to buy into the thoroughly schizophrenic black-activist line on the "authorized" use of the N-word? ("When we say it, it's hip and expresses brotherhood. When you say it...that's fighting words!")

Read the overwrought text accompanying the audio in the clip linked above. "Incredibly offensive rant"? Pull-eez. And that's one of the milder denunciations I've read. All Schlessinger did in this case was comment on society's inconsistent standards of usage for the term; it's not like she went off at the console and started calling people "niggers" in her own (strident) voice. This is what I mean about how we'll get all caught up in some of these minor cultural flashpoints while totally ignoring the terrible damage wreaked by the self-help industry. Before we lambaste Dr. Laura for her supposed racial slur, can we just talk a little bit longer abou
t the wider meaning of that whole James Ray debacle or the potential harm done by courses like Landmark Forum?

Enough with the faux outrage. There are plenty of things in modern life to be genuinely outraged about. Like the fact that the Cincinnati Reds stood pat at the trade deadline...


Speaking of unpopular positions, faux outrage and PC thinking.... I tweeted on this subject yesterday and already I've taken flak for it off-blog. What's more, these are the kinds of impolitic positions that only serve to make a person that much more unemployable, given the recent trend among HR types to survey a candidate's online persona before hiring or even deciding whom to interview. Well then, too bad for me. Some things just need to be said.

Here in PA we've had another recent flurry of arrests of somewhat older guys who had se
x with girls who were, legally, too young for sex. The offenders may or may not be prosecuted for statutory rape, but are always hit with that catch-all charge, "corrupting the morals of a minor."

I beg to differ. I think I differ even with the rape charges, but I certainly differ with respect to the part about corrupting morals.

As I said in abbreviated form in my tweet, it often comes to light in these cases that the girls were already having sex with boys their own age before they hit their teens. (I know several high-powered defense attorneys, and at least one prosecutor still talks to me.) You can't corrupt the morals of a minor whose morals were thoroughly corrupted before you came along. (Would you really worry all that much about protecting, say, Miley Cyrus from the improper advances of an older guy?) This is the point at which the feminists scream bloody murder about "blaming the victim," except that I can't see how that comeback applies. Some things are like virginity (and that's a carefully drawn analogy here): Once it's gone, it's gone. Maybe there might be grounds for a new charge called, I dunno, "failing to make a positive contribution to the moral framework of a kid who could probably teach most 40-year-olds a thing or two about 'oral,' " but the present charge is baseless and silly.

After all, if a bank's employees are outside giving away the money, you can't be accused of robbery, can you?


Anonymous said...

Before we lambaste Dr. Laura for her supposed racial slur, can we just talk a little bit longer about ourselves and how each one of us lives and the goof ups we make and dumb things we do and the harm we the average individual and citizen and parent and friend and neighbor and employer and employee cause to each other and perpetrate on each other on a daily basis that leaves us with a world that looks like the one we got? Let's touch upon the third world conditions in our own backyards, and our very own disenfranchised and isolated family members and friends, and our own little petty grotesque messes that we step over and have gotten used to.

I agree Steve, that using Dr. Laura as a celebrity kicking post is BS.

Anonymous said...

As a go-to CNN "expert" on topics of racism, Al Sharpton's inlfammatory comments on Dr. Laura's use of the n..... word, has been a low point in the media.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 2:35, your response is better (and more universally valid) than my own. I guess I was trying to say that her sins as part of the self-help industry are far worse than her merely saying the N word, and yet that's what everyone focuses on.

Anon 3:31, isn't Sharpton pretty much the low point of any debate in which he becomes involved?

Wayne S. said...

I agree Steve,
In light of Dr. Laura's record this pales in comparison. Yet, I can't help feel gratified that this one portal for her personal brand of vitriol has been closed.

Anonymous said...

The whole nauseating Dr. Laura fiasco along with the flavor of the day "debate" over the plans for the construction of a mosque near the world trade center site are both petty small minded voices given a platform to arouse controversy and stir up the masses so that the media can continue to sell air time. Advertizers were getting bored of the oil spill and Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan?

Shame on the media in 2010.

Steve Salerno said...

Wayne, you really think this exposes her "vitriol," though? (By which I assume you mean her closet racism.) See, I didn't hear that in what was actually said on the air. I really didn't. I heard a deep sense of frustration at the double standard that must be applied according to the dictates of political correctness. But maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm the one who's naive in all this.

RevRon's Rants said...

Hey, Steve... They ultimately nailed Al Capone on tax evasion charges. Might have been a lame way of doing things in comparison to his other crimes, but it still got him off the streets, didn't it? I feel the same way about Dr. Laura, whose sole element of social redemption, IMO, is found in those early photographs of her that hit the web a few years ago. I'm glad to see that the demand for her swill has diminished to the point where she became disposable.

Steve Salerno said...

Rev, I can understand that sentiment. In fact, I think it's the one that prevails. ("Who cares what the bitch meant! Good riddance!") My big reservation is that it once again shows how we get caught up in marginalia, rather than focusing on the primary content. Also, the fact that she's someone we want to see taken down prevents some of us from speaking up in defense of the underlying principle. If, say, Obama committed a comparable gaffe (though offhand I can't imagine what it might be), the entire left wing, which currently spends most of its time arguing with itself, would instantly solidify, circle the wagons around him and try to explain why we're really looking at things the wrong way. Right?

Wayne S. said...

I don't really think it exposes anything. She is a polarizing figure in the media. Many people either rant and rave for her or rant and rave against her. What I meant by vitriol was that she, like quite a few others pundits, seeks to incite emotional reactions in their audience instead of debate issues rationally.

So, was it correct what happened to her this time? No, but she pretty much seeded the ground herself for what she is reaping right now.

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve, I think that most of us have a real aversion to "focusing on the primary content" on any number of topics. Public discourse nowadays - even (or especially) that held by and about our elected officials - generally focuses upon simplistic, emotional elements rather than the more complex ones. It's a lot easier (and requires significantly less intellectual effort) to berate Laura for her use of the N-word than for the blather that she has spewed throughout her career.

I find it both amusing and telling that she has now entered the rarefied assemblage of public figures for whom Sarah Palin is expressing support. However, it does concern me to recognize that there are apparently many people for whom that support is pertinent. It lends credence to Vonnegut's dismissive description of ideas as being little more than badges.

Anonymous said...

RevRon's Rants

"....Vonnegut's dismissive description of ideas as being little more than badges..."

I am currently interested in the topic of "badges" Can you please tell me the name of the Vonnegut work that discribes ideas as "badges"?

RevRon's Rants said...

Anon 9:59 - A very brief summary of the concept is here: "Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity."

It appears in Chapter 2 of "Breakfast of Champions," as part of character Kilgore Trout's Nobel Prize address. The entire passage is well worth reading, especially since its premise is so thoroughly borne out of late. The homicidal beggars are riding full-speed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks :-)

Anon 9:59

Anonymous said...

The fact that Dr. Laura thinks there is a double standard... look, black people on TV may use the N-word, stupid people on the bus or in the street may use it, but most black people do *not* use it. It is an offensive word and to say otherwise, because of a stereotype one has about what all black people supposedly do, is not okay.

She was also a jerk to the caller. It takes a closed-minded person in the majority (white) to think that saying "those people" or "all blacks do X" is anything but stereotyping. Being considerate, or not a bigot, has nothing to do with being PC. But yes, compared to all her crap in the pass, I wonder why this happened to blow up.