copyright 2014                Janice Leber, Chopped Liver Productions
the moral inconsistency of 'dr.' laura schlessinger
'There's this dingbat with a web page devoted to tearing me down. I wish she'd get a life.'

"Dr." Laura talking about me on the radio in 2000
I want to get one thing straight right away: I do not want "Dr." Laura Schlessinger to die.

Painful skin eruptions, hemorrhoids, hair loss and perhaps disease in a vital organ – that’s good enough for me. I’m not picky, I’ll go with anything that will make her life miserable.

The best alternative is probably chronic laryngitis. Maybe, when she leans back and squeals that hideous, obnoxious laugh of hers, she’ll start to cough and choke like I do when I hear it. (Only Pat Buchanan’s piggy chuckle is more odious.)

If you haven’t heard "Dr." Laura, damn, I wish I could say the same!

How It Began
I was a frequent listener to KPIX-FM during the O.J. Simpson trial. I’ve always found trials fascinating and FM-Talk KPIX aired the trial live. On days when there was no court, KPIX found other things to fill the time – and one of the things they found was good ol’ "Dr." Laura.

When I first started listening I thought, hey great! I love listening to call-in shrink shows. I enjoyed hearing people's problems and the excuses they came up with to continue ruining their lives. On my first listen, I thought "Dr." Laura handled things pretty well.


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The second time I tuned in, once again I heard her give the opening credits at the top of the hour: "We’re here with Larry Metzler, who engineers and orchestrates our music…" (I was willing to forgive the blatant misuse of the word orchestrate at this point) "Carolyn Holt who screens your calls, and ME, I’m my kid’s mom." Well, that was all just adorable, except that I’d heard her announce that she was her kid’s mom the day before. So I figured KPIX was accidentally replaying yesterday’s episode.

As the O.J. trial wore on I heard "Dr." Laura from time to time and began finally to understand that she said she was her kid’s mom every damned hour on the hour. Larry Metzler earns his keep as a professional, an engineer who also picks out brief musical selections for the show; Carolyn Holt is a producer who provides a vital function as call-screener for the program; and "Dr." Laura hauls her butt to the studio every day, indeed "Dr." Laura was hired to host a 3-hour national radio show five days a week, because she is her kid’s freakin’ mom.

KPIX-FM brought on a morning talk host, the great Pat Thurston. Pat was funny and opinionated, and one day she went into a tirade about "Dr." Laura, taking loud and vocal exception to some of Laura's admonitions. (After all, as a talk show host her job was to make waves and get people calling in.) When the Doc's show came on at noon, she was near tears about Pat Thurston's comments, threatening repeatedly to sue for libel. (Never happened.) She went on at length – on national airwaves – about how awful Pat had been to her, how hurt she was and how very wrong Pat was to disagree with her.

Yes indeedy – scratch Ms. Laura, and she bleeds copiously, tearfully. She can dish it out but she sure as hell can't take it. Any attack on her is, in her mind, an attack on marriage, responsibility, ethics, morality, motherhood, the flag, and kosher apple pie. This personal fragility is the real reason why, as she proudly proclaims, "I don't do debates."

She doesn’t even need to be an actual licensed therapist to do this job. Hence, she tosses out her nasty, facile advice – oh, excuse me, opinions – to troubled callers and moves on, confident in the knowledge she has absolutely nothing (like a license) to lose. And she’s packing ‘em in, getting better ratings and more stations to carry her show all the time. She is the Rush Limbaugh of the 90’s.

In More Ways Than One!

While staunchly maintaining that she has never made a political comment of any kind on her show, she rages against abortion like Mother Teresa on a tear; she hates feminists and despises criminals, which to her is anyone charged with a crime; and mourns the poor beleaguered police who have such a hard time locking up "scum." She’d like more police, ever more, and maybe new laws – not the kind that might hurt businesses (like protecting the environment and making safe products), but laws that would prohibit such behavior as:




The only way to gain Laura’s almighty approval is to:

• Remain a virgin until you’re married.
• Don’t marry until you’re at least 25.
• Never, ever, ever cheat on your spouse.
• No whining!
• Don’t use "psychobabble" (only she is allowed to use psychobabble because she understands how insidious it is).
• Devote plenty of time to your children, but conversely,
• Provide well for your family.
• Be your kid’s mom or dad (which seems to mean something very important to her) …
• Ah, but then you must also kick your kid out at the age of 18. No car, no way. They pay for their own college education. They are on their own as of that magical day.

Take a look at this one-and-only Plan For Success. Let's say you're some kids' mom. You will stay home with the kids; ve hev VAYS of mekking you stay home mit der kinder. Hubby will go out into the world and provide. And then, when he leaves you for a honey with flatter abs and tighter buns, you will enter a vastly changed working environment. So you're forced into poverty -- unless you were able to afford a damned good divorce lawyer.

OK, so let's say your marriage stands the test of time. Thus, (on top of earning your teenager’s undying enmity) you will have exactly one and only one sexual partner throughout your life (unless your first spouse dies). Now, true love is all well and good, indeed most people's ideal, but how many adults do you know who have had only one sexual partner? And how many of them eventually run out and sow some wild oats at a later date, or at least secretly wish they’d had a little more experience before settling down?

And would you make a till-death-do-we-part commitment to someone you had not had the experience of living with??? Not me, pal.

"Dr." Laura would tell you that this is proof we’re all going to hell.

And oh yes, she believes in heaven and hell, and she has no doubt where she’s going. She has no doubts about herself whatsoever. She knows that her every opinion is correct and there is clearly no need to re-examine any issue. Ever. She is a tiny, karate-kickin’ perfect physical specimen, tireless and "hypereducated" (her term). She and her ideal little family (they have one perfect child; she could bring herself to copulate once, it seems) do lots and lots and lots of social work to make this terrible world a better place and frankly, I don’t know how human civilization muddled through lo these many centuries before she finally came to Earth to dispense her shrill motherly wisdom.

She is devoted to Family. Family. Fam-diddly-amily.

It isn’t often that she'll admit  it, but she’s on her second marriage. She has no contact with her own mother. Laura's mom raised her as a Catholic but Laura has since very loudly converted to Judaism in a big way, embracing Daddy's religion. Hmmmmm... Sounds like the "Doc" could use a little couch time herself.

I once heard her say that she decided to have a child because then callers with kid problems couldn’t say, "What do you know? You have no children!" It was a happy coincidence for our dear "doctor" that familyhood was also a shrewd career move. I don’t think the divorced out-of-work forklift operator can look at her motherhood in quite the same way. Well, tough noogies for her. I guess she should have made better choices.

So this flawed woman, calling herself "Doctor," all professional and friendly, comes on as "Mother Laura," Little Miss Psychotherapist, Shrink to the Masses, inviting callers to sing her praises and reveal their most intimate, emotional secrets and fears, preferably in 30 seconds or less. Then (POOF!) she turns into a minister, condemning their "moral weakness," calling them cowards, wimps, sluts, pigs, and worse – she doesn’t mince words as she dissects callers into itty bitty bits. Her language is often vulgar when she encounters behaviors she doesn’t like (which happens every day). It’s even jarring to me, and I ain’t no prude.

After a while I began to get the impression that "Dr." Laura doesn't much like women. She hates her own mother and her sister; she often rejoices that she had a boy "because girls are so much trouble." And if you utter a syllable in support of women’s rights, well, just don’t. I’m your friend and I’m telling you – don’t.

"Doctor" Laura?!?

According to what I’ve found on the web, our opinionated pal received her Ph.D. from the Physiology Department of Columbia University’s med school in NY, and her Post-Doctoral Certification in Marriage and Family Therapy from USC’s Human Relations Department (wow, that’s ironic), Los Angeles. She is credentialed in Hypnosis and Sex Therapy.

Yep, that’s what they say: Hypnosis and Sex Therapy. This does not compute. I just can’t picture our "Dr." Laura doing the you are getting very sleepy routine.

But regardless of her training, she is rude and insensitive, constantly disparaging callers’ "feelings" – oh, how she hates to hear about their feelings – because she is intent upon making a broader statement about how everyone’s life should be lived. The pathetic caller is there to serve as an object lesson to the rest of us: DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. As a caring counselor, Laura makes a great Doctor of Physiology. What she needs most is a New Attitude.

Besides – credentials, in and of themselves, are no testament to intelligence or ability. After all, Dan Quayle passed the bar exam.

I’m Listening

Never one to resist tooting her own horn (always humbly, of course), "Doctor" Laura proclaims herself the Number One Talk Show Host In The Country. To this assertion I have but two words: Howard Stern. (He's also a lot funnier.)

The "Dr." Laura Schlessinger show has an astounding number of devoted listeners (and an impressive line of books, t-shirts, teddy bears and coffee mugs to rake in an extra buck from the troubled masses). She says (and she would never overstate such things) that over 10,000 people a day try to call in during her three-hour dispensation of guilt.

I feel bad for those confused folks whose speed dial isn’t speedy enough to get through to the Queen Bee’s magic telephone at Morality Central. If you’re desperate and you can’t get "Dr." Laura on the line, I hereby offer the gist of the experience:

First, you must get through the gatekeeper, Carolyn Holt. I have never spoken with Ms. Holt, but many callers tell Laura that "Carolyn’s tough." In describing the reason for their call, the vast majority of callers start off with, "My moral dilemma is…" So be forewarned that this is the phraseology preferred for your transaction.

1. What is your moral dilemma? (Your answer is unimportant.)

2. Why are you so stupid as to have created this problem? (Your response will be disjointed.)

3. Yes, you DID create this problem. Examine your behavior to this point. (Any sound you utter will be mocked. You will fall silent.)

4. This behavior marks you as an irresponsible, immoral jerk. (You will object.)

5. I can’t take your whining any more. Next call. (You will be cut off.)

If this approach to your problems makes you feel any better, if this is the treatment that will make your life meaningful, be sure to write to "Dr." Laura and tell her how much you appreciate it. And … go take on the day, you irresponsible, immoral jerk!

Click here to see what other readers have had to say about this commentary (DISCRETION ADVISED)
Living in sin
(aka "shacking up")
Not going to church
(without religion you have no incentive to live a moral life)
Not living up to each and every  precept of your religion
(and you better know each and every one of them, even the self-contradictory ones, before you open your mouth)
Marrying someone of another religion
(you're just asking for trouble; your children will be tragically confused)
Having an abortion
(if you lived right you’d have no need for an abortion)
Being a gay parent
(kids need a mom and a dad, no exceptions)
Being a working mother
(if you really tried, you’d find a way for one parent to stay home with your kid)
Being a feminist
(all feminists are "demented")
Being an activist
(activism will close your mind, unless of course your activism is in support of Dr. Laura's show)
Blaming someone else for your problems
(it is your role here to be chewed up and spat out; stop your whining and heed the sermon)
Divorce
(of course)
by Janice Leber
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