Recently, Dr. Laura Schlessinger The Rabid decided to retire from radio after engaging in a racial tirade with an African American caller. Laura Kipnis wrote a great article about it on Slate (read here). The theme of the article is that we love to find scapegoats, especially when they fall from their high perches that are trimmed out in moral superiority. I agree with crux of the argument, actually, with all of the article. In fact schadenfreude is a basis for most of my own tirades, especially in our celebrity-driven culture. So, yeah, of course I was glad when the angry woman who condescendingly doles out fear-mongering finger wags gets knocked down several pegs. But it also begets a larger question:
WHO IN THE HELL CALLS IN TO RADIO SHOWS AND HOPES TO SOLVE INTIMATE PROBLEMS ON-AIR?
If you’re a sixteen year old girl who wants to know if a boy really likes you, then, maybe, I guess? If you call syndicated morning shows, chances are those guys are looking for material to keep their shows funny and relevant. You’re gonna play right into their hands when you seek their advice after you catch your girlfriend having sex with an entire minor league hockey team. This makes for good air time and making you look the fool.
The same holds true for people who seek the advice of polarizing zealots on-air. If you mention to any number of talk-radio hosts that you voted Democrat once in 1982, they’ll admonish your lack of capability, and woe be to you if you say “actually, I examine the issues and candidates before pulling the lever one way or the other.” This is cause for them to verbally abuse you and refer to you as a “waffling, weak, fence-sitter.” Independent thought is not encouraged; it’s party line or die, baby.
So the real loser in the Dr. Laura debate is the caller “Jade”. She was seeking Dr. Laura’s counsel about her white husbands’ friends who were racially intolerant of their marriage. Well, Jade, those guys sound like idiots, and my uninformed advice is to junk-punch those fools, both literally and in debate. That shouldn’t be too hard – ignorant people rarely see it coming.
But more importantly, Jade, what the hell were you thinking asking Dr. Laura? She’s a mean old hag who’s advice to people seems to be limited to “you need to get over it” and “read your Bible.” Seek the counsel of those who know you well, or those who you pay on a professional basis. Radio hosts are entertainers who are driven by the capability to sell ad-space and seem relevant in today’s world. They are not there specifically to help you. They are there to amuse the rest of us, often at your expense. Dr. Laura used you as a platform for her insanity; I think it was less what she said and more the unhinged delivery that gave most people the heebie-jeebies. She sounded like a total jerk, and her sponsors responded. Her retirement? Pure coincidence.
Just promise me you won’t be buying gold from Glenn Beck in the near future, Jade.