This is the third Huffpost excerpt from my new book, 101 People Who Are REALLY Screwing America (and Bernard Goldberg is Only #73), a corrective to Goldberg's 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37). Because it's of course liberals who control America and therefore are responsible for almost all of its ills, Goldberg's book included, by my count, 81 liberals, 7 minor conservatives, and 12 others. Not one member of the Bush administration. Nor one Republican member of Congress, or lobbyist, or money-man. No one responsible for the Iraq disaster; the pre-9/11 "intelligence" failures; illegal spying on Americans; sanctioning secret detention and torture; trying to subvert the Constitution by giving the president unlimited, quasi-dictatorial powers; gutting our environmental laws; rewarding polluters, strip-miners, and other land-rapers; suppressing scientific information about global warming, AIDs prevention, and consumer safety; or working to replace science education with Christian-fundamentalist claptrap. (I've got all these covered.) No--just real evildoers like Phil Donahue, Tim Robbins, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, and Jimmy Carter.
Well, I'll see his Donahue and raise him an authoritarian, patriarchalist, bigotry-breeding doctor.
#68: "Dr. Laura" "Do What I Say, Not What I Do" Schlessinger
Judge Laura--I mean, Dr. Laura--is (like "Dr. Phil," #91) decidely of the non-non-judgmental school of broadcast psychotherapy. So if any of the following apply to you: □ gay, □ having sex outside of marriage, □ living together before marriage, □ single parent, □ mother working outside the home, □ kids in daycare, □ married quickly or at a young age, □ divorced too "easily," □ had or are contemplating abortion, or □ had or are contemplating euthanasia, Dr. Laura is there, three hours a day, on nearly 300 radio stations, to make you feel stupid, sinful, and utterly ashamed of yourself in front of 8 million listeners. Well, Schlessinger does insist her show--which at its peak was the second only to Rush Limbaugh (#27)'s in the ratings--is not an advice show but a "moral education" show. Goodbye to the poison of moral relativism, for there is always a clear-cut right and wrong, and Judge Laura--despite knowing next to nothing about you and your situation--will tell you which is which. (You, in your sniveling, liberal-induced confusion, probably thought you needed sympathetic, impartial, open-minded counsel.)
Thus sayeth Dr. Laura (a PhD in physiology):
§ "Stay-at-home" moms make the best parents.
§ Most two-paycheck couples work for luxury goods, not to make ends meet.
§ "This degree [her PhD] entitles me to state the obvious: Homosexuality is a deviation from the biological norm of heterosexuality"--"aberrant," "dysfunctional," a "biological error." "Of course a society should discriminate." "A huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys." Homosexuals can and should be "turned" heterosexual ("reparative therapy").
§ Only heterosexual couples with a stay-at-home mother should be permitted to adopt.
§ The only excuse for divorce is one of the "three A's"--abuse, addiction, or adultery. Most bad marriages are the wife's fault.
§ Women who engage in sex outside marriage are "presenting themselves virtually as unpaid whores." (Whereas, I guess, if you're married and supported, you're, like, paid.)
§ All contraception is unreliable. The morning-after pill causes "disease."
§ Abortion is murder. The pro-choice movement, especially PLANNED PARENTHOOD, is "evil" and "deceptive."
§ Any woman, "no matter how loving and how nurturing," who "intentionally bring[s] a child in the world with no father" is "downright criminal and immoral....It's like having a pet."
§ Hollywood's "impulse to spread vulgarity, violence, and mayhem can often be even greater than their interest in making money." (Their real aim must be to destroy America's moral fiber and make the liberal-communist takeover easier.)
§ "I am so sick and tired of all the Arab-American groups whining and complaining about some kind of treatment... What culture and what religion were all the murderers of 9/11? They murdered us." Just one big "they."
§ September 2004: "This is not a political show, and I don't want it to be a political show." Six minutes later: "We have insurgents, terrorists, Muslim terrorists in Baghdad murdering children to make sure [Senator John] Kerry's elected." (Evidence and reason suggested the terrorists preferred Bush--the better to accelerate the global religious conflict.)
§ "I am a prophet...I am a prophet." "I have never, ever said that I was a prophet! That's a total, complete lie."
Schlessinger has written a dozen books which together have sold millions of copies. Her most popular, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, despite the title's pseudo-feminist mockery of men, encourages wives to keep their husbands happy by showing respect and cheerfully providing sex and meals and all the other household services, and warns women against "self-centeredness" (which is "a result of the women's movement"). That a man can "have it all"--work and family--"goes unquestioned," reviewer Sacha Zimmerman noted in The New Republic. "But a woman who complains about housework on top of a long day at the office is the most selfish, self-centered person on earth." All this is evidently lapped up by Mullah Laura's core audience, which The Nation's Katha Pollitt described as "half lost sheep, half graduates of the Taliban School of Female Deportment."
After her show was sold to Clear Channel (#50) in 1998, Schlessinger's opinions shifted further rightward. That year, she and her entire family converted to Orthodox Judaism. Talk about divorcing too easily: In 2003, after five years of dispensing advice couched in Jewish teachings, she announced she was no longer a practicing Jew. She complained that, while the letters she receives from Christians "have been very loving, very supportive," from Jews, "I don't get much back." (According to her friend and fellow conservative talk show host Michael Medved, "Laura [was] naive to think, 'gosh, I'll be the queen of the Jews.'") Schlessinger hinted at a possible turn to Christianity, "a move that, radio insiders say, would elevate her career far beyond the 300 stations that currently syndicate her show," the Forward reported.
"Honor thy father and mother," quoth Dr. Laura. "Even bad parents deserve to be honored if only at a minimal level." Yet, in 2002, she remained unaware of her own mother's death for two months, while her mother's corpse lay undiscovered in her home, not far from Dr. Laura's studios. And at a community prayer breakfast in 2003, Schlessinger announced that she had just spoken to her sister for the first time in 20 years. Some family values.
"Do what I say, not what I did," Schlessinger says. But it is what she says, day after day, that is the problem--and not only for its intolerance and hypocrisies: "Whether it's Dr. Laura or Dr. Phil (when did we start calling doctors by their first names?)," wrote Zimmerman, "a ten-minute [radio or TV] conversation will likely never get to the root of any serious problem. In fact, such microscopic advice could be hugely damaging." Unfortunately, Zimmerman concluded, "an easy answer is always more appealing than hard work." Actually, Schlessinger's answers are not appealing at all.