September 13, 2000
2:18 PM   Subscribe

Dr. Laura fans speak

. Jeeeze what 'fruitcakes'.
posted by tiaka (22 comments total)
While her diehard fans may be fruitcakes, I think the whole Dr. Laura episode kinda exposed a fallacy of the extreme left where they wanted to "shut her up". Free speech is free speech, whether you agree with it or not.
posted by owillis at 2:26 PM on September 13, 2000

Actually, I think the whole Dr. Laura episode kinda exposed a fallacy inherent in any extremism. Extremists are unwilling to allow any other position. That's why they're extremists. Left, Right, doesn't matter. They're all lunatics. yes, owillis is right. But it's broader than just the Left...
posted by aramaic at 2:37 PM on September 13, 2000

aagh! mor is what I've become!
posted by SentientAI at 2:47 PM on September 13, 2000

While I agree that everyone has the right to have and opinion and also the right to express it, I think what makes these people lunatics or fruitcakes is not the opinion itself (with which I personally disagree) but the petty way in which they choose to voice it.

I think most intelligent and open-minded people would be willing to listen (and I mean listen, not agree with) to even an extremist's point of view if he were to articulate it intelligently instead of making shallow comments about hair-size or cheap shots at the other party's choices. (as in the comment about how the author must be a lesbian)

If the extremist people in this case explained their way of thinking, I might have been able to respect the fact that they have a differing opinion but since they chose to say demeaning crap instead, it’s really hard for me to take these kind of people seriously.
posted by karen at 2:51 PM on September 13, 2000

hee hee! "poufy hair"...
Of course Laura Billings probably (well, maybe) got some well-reasoned, sane letters too. But those aren't as satisfying to print.
I mean, it's easy to let crazy people make fools of themselves.

posted by sonofsamiam at 3:28 PM on September 13, 2000

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have
learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with as
many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle,
for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to
be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however,
regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing
odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the
odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus
21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period
of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I
have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us.
A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can
you clarify?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly
states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination
(Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree.
Can you settle this?

Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a
defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my
vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can
help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and

posted by quonsar at 3:53 PM on September 13, 2000

This whole Laura Schlesinger episode has particularly hard to take, because everybody seems to be acting like assholes. There's Schlesinger herself, the hypocritical, fame-sucking bitch; the crowd, who don't seem to understand that it's either freedom of expression for everybody, or freedom of expression for some limited-exclusionary-subset-that-can-change-on-a-whim-and-you-could-be-next; the shrill illiterates who seem to back Schlesinger's show; Paramount, the epitome of the "no publicity is bad publicity" media conglomerate without even the shred of social conscience (no, I don't expect a big media company to behave in any other way, but that doesn't mean I have to like it)...

Oh, why bother, the whole thing is just sickening. At least I have the satisfaction of being pretty sure that the public's appetite for this kind of militantly far right agitprop will eventually turn to other things and Schlesinger will once again be relegated to the has-been heap along with the other blowhards no one listens to any more...
posted by m.polo at 4:03 PM on September 13, 2000

No one listens to anymore? Good grief! My very own brothers brain has turned to mush. Rush Mush. It is very difficult when the family gets together because after 5 minutes, I just want to punch him...
posted by quonsar at 4:14 PM on September 13, 2000

Blindly labeling Rush Limbaugh as "far right wing agitprop" simply because it isn't your viewpoint is as ignorant as any of the letters Laura Billings got. He isn't anything like Dr. Laura. And he has 20 million listeners a week. Hell of a lot of not listening.
posted by aaron at 4:24 PM on September 13, 2000

If Rush Limbaugh's show isn't "far right wing agitprop", what IS it?
posted by wiremommy at 4:30 PM on September 13, 2000

Auditioning for Monday Night Football.
Remember my prediction: Rush will replace Dennis the week AFTER the election. More predictions as soon as my spirit guide gets back from the "Big Brother" house.
posted by wendell at 5:00 PM on September 13, 2000

Compared to a lot of the stuff out there, Limbaugh is tame. But he's still got a right to be on the airwaves, 20 million people seem to think so. (I even listen to his show, gotta know what the enemy is planning)
posted by owillis at 5:02 PM on September 13, 2000

Good question, wiremommy.

I remember when Rush Limbaugh was Big News and there was all this noise about "equal time" for this and that, everyone complaining about "hate radio" so as not to mention him by name, and so on. I'm glad nobody ever followed up on that; it would have just given him something legitimate to gripe about. As it is, the guy has largely disappeared from public view; just like Dr. Laura will when everyone gets tired of complaining about her.

Meanwhile, all those millions of people who made her show a success will still be wandering around thinking basically the same things that they've always thought, and the next obnoxious radio pundit will attract them to the next phenomenally offensive talk show and we'll have the same situation all over again.

All Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh and the rest are is a way for people who don't like where society is going to justify their reluctance to participate in its development. They can't, by definition of being "conservative", say anything that doesn't boil down to "it was better the way things were in the past", and thus they can't introduce any genuinely new ideas which might actually have some chance of changing society. In the meantime, the environmental & technological factors which caused the social changes they so dislike to begin will continue to exert their influence. Those two genies can't be talked back into the bottle no matter how much hot air Dr. Laura or anyone else puts toward the effort.

-Mars, so liberal the term barely applies
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:08 PM on September 13, 2000

Mars, I think you're right about that genus of "media personality". Sort of the Morton Downey Juniors of our era.

so liberal the term barely applies

Maybe you should try another term on for size-- progressive. :-)
posted by wiremommy at 6:00 PM on September 13, 2000

There's a simple solution:

Ignore 'em all.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:11 PM on September 13, 2000

Since when does the First Amendment mean you can't boycott an advertiser for sponsoring a show? That's an exercise of free speech, too. I don't agree with the Donald Wildmon crowd trying to get things like NYPD Blue off the air, but I certainly support the notion that you can raise hell with a broadcaster or sponsor if you don't like something they are airing.
posted by rcade at 8:40 PM on September 13, 2000

Free speech is free speech, but if she had said anything close to what she did about gays/lesbians about an ethnic minority group her show would have been dropped in a flash or at least she'd be forced to apologize. The fact nothing was done makes it painfully clear that it is still okay to bash gays and lesbians in the United States. If she had called Asian or African Americans pedophiles there would be lawsuits thrown at her right and left for slander. But hey, it's just gays so it's okay, right? I'm not onboard with the folks, but at least they're doing *something* about it. I only hope the show is short lived.

> Ignore 'em all.

then nothing would ever change.
posted by Craig at 8:43 PM on September 13, 2000

What makes you think they're going to change anyway?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:48 AM on September 14, 2000

Steven, they may not change in themselves, but what they say can influence others. If you give a platform to people like this without recourse then you are implying that what they say is OK, that it is wrong to be a racist but it's OK to be homophobic 'cause that lady on the TV says they're deviant paedophiles...'.
The only people who ignore this sort of thing are the people who are enlightened enough to realise they're spouting crap, but not disgusted enough to act against it.
posted by Markb at 12:59 AM on September 14, 2000

I think the whole Dr. Laura episode kinda exposed a fallacy of the extreme left where they wanted to "shut her up".

I'm puzzled by your characterization of the "extreme left" as opponents to free speech. Are you sure you don't mean the "center-left" (i.e., Lieberman, Tipper Gore, the ADL etc)? Most progressives (as we "extremists" like to call ourselves) believe in complete media freedom, and have no wish to stiffle so-called "offensive" speech.

If it's a bad idea to silence speakers one disagrees with, does that mean ignoring them is the only option? Of course not. If the goal is changing minds, the best method is rational persuasion. Which means more speech, not less.
posted by johnb at 2:03 AM on September 14, 2000

In general, I would agree with aramaic in that this is about extremism. Most specifically, I would say it's about fundamentalism of any kind. IMHO, fundamentalists look to the past (whether it's the "good ole days" or the biblical past) for a structure by which to live. Today's world seems to be moving too fast for these people. Nothing "concrete" to stand on. As new technology, say, makes it easier for us to connect with others, where is the control? And that's what it's really about.

I don't care if fundamentalists want to control their lives. Everyone has a right to do that. And I support that. It's when people try to control other people's lives that I begin to get hot under the collar.

To parapharase that old adage, "The three most important words in real estate are: location, location, location," the three most important words at the beginning of the 21st century are: context, context, context. As easy a target as this issue might be to categorize, things are not black or white. Good or evil. And, as others have said here, this way of thinking is not limited to Dr. Laura's supporters.

Laura has a right to say what she wants. Her supporters have a right to believe her, both in the "rules" she espouses and it her methodology (which, btw, is what I really find difficult to swallow about her). I do not agree nor believe her and I can explain why to anyone. I'm willing to listen to anyone with a reasonable tone and a thought-out argument. I would only hope that her supporters do the same.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 5:51 AM on September 14, 2000

Didn't Rush have a show for a short while that even his little fanatics couldn't save? I remember watching that once and thinking during an audience shot what Chris Rock said at the Republican convention '96: "Look at all the white people." The Rushes and Lauras of the US are nothing but the modern descendants of the White Citizen's Councils of the 50s and 60s and they can't stop what's happening. We should ignore them and they will go away.

Oh, and nice unattributed quote, quonsar. Wasn't that link posted here?

posted by norm at 6:04 AM on September 14, 2000

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