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'Dr. Laura' to end radio show over racial controversy
source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081706418.html?wpisrc=nl_natlalert

Did you know she has a PhD in physiology? And that she called gays "deviants" and "biological errors"?? Deviant = actions or behaviors that violate cultural norms (incl formal rules & social norms). What is not deviant about being gay? We haven't changed our culture enough that it is normal. Yet. It is an interesting question to me: What sort of culture would be totally OK with gayness? What cultures have been? Anybody know the history? It is my impression that homosexual behavior, especially among men, happens more when there is wealth and idle time. But that's just a reflection of some impressions I have about the time of the Romans, and comparison with the last generation of wealth here in America.

But back to Dr Laura and her decision to ditch radio in the face of the public outcry over her "racist" remarks the other day. Suffice it to say that the standard of PCness now required on the radio and most places in the public sphere to some degree limits frank conversation. Everybody offended about something, and we can't talk without people's buttons getting pushed. But that's what America is all about anyway, right? Our right to be hostile and defensive in the face of perceived threats? Our right to get rid of anyone who says something that we don't like?


By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Laura Schlessinger, the blunt-spoken, sometimes controversial radio talk-show host whose racially charged comments drew widespread condemnation last week, said Tuesday that she will end her radio career at the end of the year.

The announcement by the host of the "Dr. Laura" program was a stunning denouement after a week in which Schlessinger was widely criticized for describing an African American caller to her program as "hypersensitive" for taking offense at a neighbor's racial taunting. To illustrate her claim of a racial double standard, she said that black comedians often use the N-word on TV without criticism, but the word is forbidden for white people. She used the racial epithet, unexpurgated, 11 times in five minutes, despite her caller's protests.

Schlessinger later apologized for the remarks, saying she said "the wrong thing" on the air. On Tuesday she went further: During an interview on "Larry King Live" on CNN, Schlessinger said, "My contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year, and I've made the decision not to do radio anymore."

She added: "The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special-interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."

Schlessinger's advice program has been a fixture on talk radio for years and is heard on almost 200 stations around the country. (The weekday program was dropped by WMAL-AM in Washington several years ago.) In 2000, Schlessinger drew protests from a coalition of gay organizations after deeming gays "deviants" and "biological errors." She later apologized for those remarks.

During Tuesday's interview, she told King: "I'm not retiring, I'm not quitting, I feel energized, actually. Stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country."

Schlessinger didn't say what she intended to do after leaving her program.

The controversy over "Dr. Laura" is similar to one in 2007 involving veteran morning radio host Don Imus, who was roundly criticized for calling the players on the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos" during his show. Despite Imus's apology, sponsors walked away during the controversy. He was let go by MSNBC, which televised his show, and his radio syndicator, but returned months later with a new cable TV deal and another radio show.

Although she said her sponsors and affiliates have backed her, Schlessinger, 63 -- who holds a PhD in physiology from Columbia University -- told King that she lived in "constant fear" that critics would attack them for her remarks.

"I never called anybody a bad word. I was trying to bring -- and obviously it has become a national discussion now -- I was trying to make a philosophical point," she said. "And I made it wrong, but I wasn't dissing anybody. I was trying to make a point, and for that to say that I should be silenced is the reason why I'm saying to you that I'm obviously losing First Amendment rights."

Comments

liveonearth
Aug. 18th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
"Gay culture" is not a culture, but rather, it is a subculture that is quite legitimately labeled deviant. You perceive derogatory connotations when they are not intended; the button is in your mind. The meaning that you hear was not the meaning that the speaker/writer had in mind. When a subject is "loaded" for you, it is hard to imagine that someone else might be speaking dispassionately about it. But it is possible.

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