Is Dr. Laura a Fake?

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Today
I finally called Dr. Laura.

OK,
I've always considered hers a pretty dumb show, but so is Oprah,
and we all know how important she is – just ask the Texas Beef Council.

But
today was over the top. Early this morning our local radio station
had the 2-minute teaser for her afternoon show. "Girls, why
do you even THINK of dating an older man? Get real!"

Now
this seems to have become a theme of her show (it's always on in
our kitchen during the afternoon). Usually, I can ignore it, since
the regular fare comprises weeping and wailing of caller after caller
who discovers that she has to live with the consequences of her
decisions.)

But
wait, there's more.

Dr.
Laura "challenges" every caller; whatever the caller's
question, Dr. Laura asks a different one, and then another one,
until we hear the poor caller stammer " well… I guess you're
right."

A
little of this goes a long way. But today I finally rose to the
bait. This afternoon, my wife and four-year-old daughter were baking
cookies while Dr. Laura was holding forth about how bad colleges
are these days. Well, I could have told her that, but then she said,
with all the finality of Oprah's disdain for hamburgers, "I
can't think of a college in the country where you could send your
child."

I
mulled that over, and thought of the small, Catholic liberal arts
college down the road from us where I teach a course now and then.
So I thought I'd call Dr. Laura with some positive feedback.

I
couldn't believe it when I got through, right away, to her screener.

"Do
you have a question for Dr. Laura?"

"Yes,
two. First, why doe she always knock women who marry older men?
In our Irish family, the men have been from ten to twenty years
older than their wives for several generations, and we've managed
to have happy, holy marriages. Why would she be so negative about
that?

"Second,
is there really NO college in the country she would send a child
to? What are her criteria? I live down the road from one she ought
to take a look at."

"Thanks,
I'll let her know." CLICK!

Not
long ago conservatives were encouraged to complain to Proctor and
Gamble because "homosexual activists" had convinced P&G
to withdraw ads from her new (now cancelled) TV show.

But
is Dr. Laura really a "conservative"? Or is she just a
quack with a knack, a physiologist with the glib analysis that always
leaves her callers thinking that they'd be fine, if only they were
as smart as she is?

And
does that mean she has to screen out everything but the dumb questions?

Contemporary
families do have to grapple with a lot of tough moral questions,
no doubt about it.

But
Dr. Laura's version looks just a little too much like professional
wrestling to me.

April
6, 2000

Christopher
Manion, a founder of the political satire group the Capitol Steps,
runs a background music production company in Front Royal, Virginia,
and teaches political theory at Christendom College as an adjunct
lecturer. He was at the 1960 Republican convention in Chicago, where,
he insists, Nixon stole the nomination from Goldwater.

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