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The real problem with ‘Dr.’ Laura

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Baby-boomer wingnut “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger maintains that there’s no difference whatsoever between a rich white wingnut like herself using the word “nigger” and a black person using the word “nigger.” She also doesn’t want to be “NAACP’d” (I never knew that that was a verb), calls historically oppressed minority groups “hypersensitive” (it’s easy to say that someone else is “hypersensitive” when you yourself are a member of the historically oppressive and dominant group), and advises the “hypersensitive,” “Don’t marry out of your race.” 

CALLER: How about the “n”-word? So, the “n”-word’s been thrown around [by her white husband’s white friends; the female caller identifies herself as black] —

SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is “nigger, nigger, nigger.”

CALLER: That isn’t —

SCHLESSINGER: I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it’s affectionate. It’s very confusing. Don’t hang up, I want to talk to you some more. Don’t go away.

I’m Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I’ll be right back.

… 

CALLER: So it’s OK to say “nigger”? … It’s OK to say that word?

SCHLESSINGER: It depends how it’s said.

CALLER: Is it OK to say that word? Is it ever OK to say that word?

SCHLESSINGER: It’s — it depends how it’s said. Black guys talking to each other seem to think it’s OK.

CALLER: But you’re not black. They’re [my husband’s friends are] not black. My husband is white.

SCHLESSINGER: Oh, I see. So, a word is restricted to race. Got it. Can’t do much about that.

CALLER: I can’t believe someone like you is on the radio spewing out the “nigger” word, and I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: I didn’t spew out the “nigger” word.

CALLER: You said, “nigger, nigger, nigger.”

SCHLESSINGER: Right, I said that’s what you hear.

CALLER: Everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: Yes, they did.

CALLER: I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: They did, and I’ll say it again —

CALLER: So what makes it OK for you to say the word?

SCHLESSINGER: — “nigger, nigger, nigger” is what you hear on HB[O] —

CALLER: So what makes it —

SCHLESSINGER: Why don’t you let me finish a sentence?

CALLER: OK.

SCHLESSINGER: Don’t take things out of context. Don’t double N — NAACP me. Tape the —

CALLER: I know what the NAACP —

SCHLESSINGER: Leave them in context.

CALLER: I know what the N-word means and I know it came from a white person. And I know the white person made it bad.

SCHLESSINGER: All right. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Can’t have this argument. You know what? If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race….

And what I just heard from Jade [the caller] is a lot of what I hear from black-think — and it’s really distressting [sic] and disturbing. And to put it in its context, she said the “n”-word, and I said, on HBO, listening to black comics, you hear “nigger, nigger, nigger.” I didn’t call anybody a nigger. Nice try, Jade. Actually, sucky try….

From “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger’s radio show of August 10

I haven’t chimed in yet on the “Dr.” Laura* brouhaha, so here goes. In a word, it isn’t about “the ‘n’-word.”

What it is about is that “Dr.” Laura Schlessigner is an overly comfortable right-wing white person who is unable to or refuses to even try to have empathy with members of other groups that don’t have the same comfort and ease and the same privileges that she and her lily-white ilk do.

Schlessinger claimed, on her August 10 radio talk show, that if black people can say “nigger,” so can she and other whites.

It’s as though there were no such fucking thing as social context.

She’s another fucking dipshit, another wingnutty dingbat, but she’s a “doctor” and a baby boomer, so she actually makes money dispensing her “wisdom” and “expert advice.”

If black people want to call each other “nigger,” that’s fine with me. It’s their business. It’s their free speech. It was their right to take back an ugly word that had been used against them for decades if not for centuries by racists and white supremacists.

For a rich white right-winger like Schlessinger to use the word “nigger” obviously is different, because her cohort is representative of the group that once used the word “nigger” as a venomous pejorative against blacks and held blacks down for generations (and still holds them down).

Duh.

Similarly, as a gay man, if I use words like “queer” or “faggot,” that’s quite a different social context than if a known homo-hater uses those words.

There are some of my uptight fellow gay men who take themselves and their sexuality way too seriously who believe that no one should use such words as “faggot” or “queer” or “Froot Loop.”

That’s fine. If they don’t want to use such words themselves, more power to them. But those fucking faggots they have no right to dictate my free speech.

So “Dr.” Laura’s biggest sin, in my book, is not her simple use of the word “nigger,” even repeatedly. It’s her assertion that there really is no difference as to whether a rich white wingnut like herself uses the word or whether a black person uses the word.

It seems to me that no person whose empathetic ability and logical skills are so absofuckinglutely non-existent should be using the title “Dr.” and be a commercially successful dispenser of advice.

I wholeheartedly support “Dr.” Laura’s right to free speech, and, as this news analysis makes clear, legally the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us from governmental interference in our speech, not from such things as boycotts or social pressure that arises as the result of our saying things that are unpopular.

When we fags and dykes non-heterosexuals started to boycott businesses that gave money to the Proposition H8 effort, I remember pro-Prop H8 assbites positing, at least implicitly, that boycotts are illegal. (The wingnuts’ insane “argument” seemed to be that we consumers have to give our money to businesses. “Free” enterprise apparently means that the business owners, but not we consumers, have economic freedom.) 

No, boycotts (and similar pressure campaigns) are not illegal.

They’re just another form of free speech in a society that we claim is free.

“Dr.” Laura has the free-speech right to go on air and have an entire show in which the only word that she says is “nigger.” She can have “nigger”-a-thon if she fucking wants to. But if this causes people to complain to the broadcasting business(es) that put(s) her bile and venom on the air, and to boycott her show’s advertisers, well, it’s the free-speech right of those individuals to do so.

“Dr.” Laura should not be relegated to the dustbin of wingnut history because she repeatedly said the “‘n’-word,” though. She should be put out to pasture because she has demonstrated, amply, that she’s only a husk of a shell of a human being with no feeling or compassion whatsofuckingever.

And her other words outside of “nigger” — “Don’t double N — NAACP me”; her charge that blacks are “hypersensitive” (despite the long history of white-on-black discrimination and violence, not to mention the historical white enslavement of blacks); and “Don’t marry out of your race” — demonstrate amply, I think, what “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger is all about.

*I use quotation marks around the title “Dr.” because Schlessinger does not have a degree in psychology or psychiatry or the like. Her 1974 doctorate was in physiology, for fuck’s sake.

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Partial book review: ‘Wingnuts’

This book sucks ass, as does its author. I did my best, but I was able to get only to page 18.

Trying to buck the criticism that those of us on the left never expose ourselves to views on the right (and vice-versa), I recently bought a copy of John Avlon’s Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America.

I like and I often use the term “wingnut” myself, and I bought Avlon’s book even though he (incorrectly) redefines the term “wingnut” to include those on either far side of the political ideology spectrum. (Actually, the commonly accepted meaning of the term “wingnut” is an individual who is to the far right, and the term “moonbat” would be applied to one on the far left.)

Despite the fact that I disagree with Avlon’s retooling of the vernacular to suit his own purposes, and despite the fact that his book puts Keith Olbermann on its cover with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin — a strikingly false equivalency — I bought his book at full cover price.

Can you say “buyer’s remorse”?

After several pages of reading Avlon’s false equivalencies — for instance, he implies that what he calls “Bush Derangement Syndrome” was/is anything like what he calls “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” which we have been witnessing for some time now* — I finally had to literally toss Avlon’s book aside when, on page 18, I read Avlon refer to the democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as “Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.”

I mean, as U.S. Sen. Al Franken has put it, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

Hugo Chavez has been elected and re-elected by a strong majority of Venezuela’s voters and he has the support of a strong majority of the people of Venezuela.

Chavez has been clamping down on his right-wing political opposition (who did, after all, illegally and treasonously attempt to overthrow him in 2002),  and Venezuela needs to be monitored for human rights abuses (just as every nation does, and nothing has gone on in Venezuela under Chavez’s watch that has even approached what happened at the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors or at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp during the eight long nightmarish years of rule by the unelected Bush regime).

But Hugo Chavez is far away from having earned the title of “dictator.” To call Chavez a “dictator” isn’t just against my belief that a nation’s government should work for the benefit of the most number of the nation’s people instead of for the benefit of the minority plutocrats and corporatocrats, as Chavez believes, but it is blatantly factually incorrect, and I can’t handle “non-fiction” books containing such glaring factual errors.

Nor does Avlon bother to explain why he uses the term “dictator” — he just throws it out there for no other apparent reason than that the members of the Bush regime (and George W. Bush, never having been legitimately elected, having started a bogus war that has cost thousands upon thousands of lives and billions upon billions of dollars, having shit and pissed all over the U.S. Constitution, and having left the nation in much, much worse shape than he got it, certainly comes closer to the dictionary definition of “dictator” than does Chavez ) and their allies at FOX “News” falsely called Chavez a “dictator” for several years. (To the right wing you are a “dictator,” you see, if you refuse to kiss U.S. corporate ass and refuse to surrender your nation’s natural resources and other wealth to U.S. corporations; that you have been democratically elected by your people is irrelevant to the democracy-hating, election-stealing right wing.)

But Avlon already demonstrates, before he calls Hugo Chavez a “dictator,” that he’s no more than a smug pretty boy who is posing as an expert on politics.

About all that he points to, in the 18 pages that I was able to stomach, in order to exemplify the far left or the far right are some examples of some political figure, usually George W. Bush or Barack Obama, being compared to Adolf Hitler. Ooooo! Insightful!

However, while skimming through his book, I noted that apparently anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is a “wingnut”** for having stood up against the Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War that killed her son — a war that the majority of Americans now acknowledge, fucking finally, was a bogus war.

Hmmm… A woman’s young son is killed for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton profits obscenely in that bogus war (as do the BushCheneyCorp’s other oily subsidiaries), and because she has the gall to protest her son’s pointless death, that makes Sheehan a “wingnut,” according to Avlon, who, I take it, hasn’t had a loved one killed in the Vietraq War or ever even been in harm’s way himself. 

Overall, Avlon reminds me of a lazy, mediocre parent or teacher who witnesses two children fighting, and, because he doesn’t want to bother to try to figure out what they’re fighting about — and whether one child might actually be in the right and the other child might actually be in the wrong — he labels both fighting children as equally guilty. There. Done with it. Why bother to unravel the facts? And why take sides?

Except that the real world is so much more complex than that, and our crumbling democracy didn’t really need another book put out there to tell people that instead of closely examining the facts and taking a principled stand on important issues based upon the facts, they need to just join the mushy middle, because obviously there’s no difference between the impassioned right and the impassioned left (or, as Avlon calls everyone who isn’t a milquetoast, apolitical, apathetic sleepwalker, the “wingnuts”).

To give just one of many possible demonstrations of how Avlon shills a false equivalency between the right and the left, right now, as I type this sentence, a book incredibly titled The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists incredibly is No. 13 — thirteen — on amazon.com’s top 100-selling books list.

When does a moonbat title like that ever get that far on any of the mainstream best-selling books lists?

Further, I know that many of us on the left had at least some fear of possible retribution for our outspokenness against the unelected, mass-murdering Bush regime — the Bush regime was, after all, engaging in the illegal surveillance of American citizens in the name of “national security,” and the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors and the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp certainly demonstrated for us where the Bush regime stood on human rights — yet here is a book out calling President Obama a “Manchurian president,” and I don’t sense that the wingnuts (the right-wing kind) have any real fear of retribution from the Obama administration for their publishing, promoting or purchasing a book thus titled.

And that’s because historically, dictators and tyrants — the kind who, unlike Hugo Chavez, actually steal elections, rule against the wishes of the majority of the ruled, and who actually torture and murder their political opponents — predominantly have been right-wingers, not left-wingers. (The right-wing Chilean Augusto Pinochet, for example, was a dictator.)

The wingnuts (my definition of the term, not Avlon’s) attack Obama unreservedly because they know that those on the left only rarely use what I might call, a la Dick Cheney, the “enhanced” tactics used by those on the right against their political opponents. Paradoxically, if Obama truly were the tyrant the wingnuts say he is, they probably wouldn’t be calling him a “tyrant” or a “Manchurian president” or the like — because if he truly were that, he just might retaliate against them.

As far as “Obama Derangement Syndrome” is concerned, it’s far more virulent and widespread than “Bush Derangement Syndrome” ever was. Not only did anti-Bush books not sell nearly as well as anti-Obama books sell today, but there was no “tea-party”-like “movement” formed by the left in response to Bush. The closest thing to the left’s “tea party” that I can think of is MoveOn.org, which, compared to the den of vipers that comprise the tea party, is a den of garter snakes.  

And while the minimum that we factually can say about the 2000 presidential election is that George W. Bush was made president in late 2000 under circumstances that were shady at best, and that in November 2000 he captured only 47.9 percent of the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore’s 48.4 percent, and that he was “re”-elected by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004, Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in November 2008, a better showing at the polls than “President” Bush ever had, yet far more people have questioned Obama’s presidential legitimacy than questioned Bush’s, even though Bush’s presidential legitimacy was much, much more questionable than Obama’s ever has been.

If you are a right-wing white guy from an oily, rich family, you can “win” the White House without having won the most number of votes (by “winning” the pivotal state of which your brother conveniently is governor, with a little help from that state’s top elections official who also sat on that state’s committee to elect you, and with a lot of help from the recount-quashing U.S. Supreme Court). And that kind of shit is perfectly OK.

But if you’re a black guy, you’re considered illegitimate even if you did better in your presidential election than the last white guy did in his two presidential elections. (But nooooo, racism is dead in the United States of Amnesia!)

For Avlon to make the false equivalency between the far left and the far right — to lump everyone who feels strongly about politics together as “wingnuts” — isn’t only grossly inaccurate, but it’s dangerous to our already endangered, dumbed-down democracy.

If you want to read a real book that’s worth your money, read Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason, now available in paperback.

Pay close attention to her chapter on “junk thought” — a term that describes John Avlon’s book to a “T”.

*Avlon defines “Obama Derangement Syndrome” as “Pathological hatred of President Obama, posing as patriotism,” and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” more or less as a visceral aversion to George W. Bush, of which I myself have been afflicted.

**On page 189, Avlon quotes Sheehan as — gasp! — having called George W. Bush a “bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden.” Actually, it’s a fucking fact that Bush is reponsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and more than 4,000 of our troops, in his bogus Vietraq War — which is far more people than Osama bin Laden is responsible for having slaughtered on September 11, 2001, which was fewer than 3,000 people. And if we can call bin Laden a terrorist for having masterminded the slaughter of so many innocents, why can’t we call Bush & Co. terrorists for having masterminded the slaughter of so many more innocents? Why the fucking double standard?

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We liberals need to stop resting on our laurels and start slaying the vampires

 Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative ManifestoLiberty versus the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of MeaningGuilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America

These wingnutty titles, for which trees actually died, are typical of amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling books list right now.

So I was perusing amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling book titles just now, and among the top 100 are these lovely wingnutty titles:

  • Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
  • Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays (gee, the wingnuts just can’t get enough of that “tyranny” thing; funny, for some reason it wasn’t tyranny when Repugnican George W. Bush stole the White House in late 2000, but it’s “tyranny” when the majority of American voters actually do elect a Democratic — er, I mean, “Socialist” — president)
  • Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America (this is by the same wingnut dipshit author of Liberty and Tyranny, so his argument probably is not that the Supreme Court destroyed the United States of America by having appointed G.W. Bush as president in late 2000)
  • A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media (of course, it was perfectly fine with the wingnuts when the mainstream media just rolled over and played dead when the Repugnican-dominated Supreme Court, not the majority of American voters, elected Bush in 2000, and it was perfectly fine with the wingnuts when the mainstream media were nothing but fucking cheerleaders for the unelected Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War in early 2003 [“shock and awe” makes great television!])
  • Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (replete with a cute little picture of a smiley face with a Hitler ‘stache, comparing liberals to Adolf Hitler; nice!)
  • Atlas Shrugged (the dead Ayn Rand’s ancient wingnutty novel that apparently is like Dungeons & Dragons to conservative geeks; Rand also wrote a nonfiction tome lovingly titled The Virtue of Selfishness*)
  • The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America, by wingnut William Bennett (wingnuts almost always wrap their toxic ideology in such nice sheepskin as “patriotism” and “liberty”)
  • Ann Cunter’s latest drivel (does it even matter what the title of it is?)
  • Bill O’Reilly’s latest drivel (ditto)
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms, by wingnut dingbat “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger (hey, if a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s fine by me, as I support a woman’s right to choose, but why do I have the sinking feeling that Schlessinger’s stance is that a woman should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?)

While it’s a virtual wingnut extravaganza on amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling books list, there is a dearth of liberal titles on the list, which makes me suspect that we libbies are resting on our laurels now that centrist Barack Obama is in the White House.

My fellow libbies, let me remind you that the wingnuts are like Freddy or Jason: They have a tendency to come back.

The ideological war continues; there is no hiatus just because we finally have an actually democratically elected president in the White House who is a Democrat.

Just like Team Bush hijacked the White House in late 2000, the wingnuts have hijacked such terms as “liberty,” “freedom” and “patriotism” — while calling their opponents (who would be us, the majority of Americans, who voted for Barack Obama in November 2008) “tyrants” and “fascists” and “traitors” and the like.

We need to put an end to this shit now — and not allow Freddy or Jason to return from the dead.

Speaking of the undead, I also noted that amazon.com’s top 100, curiously, is chock full o’ vampire titles.

Hmmm… Conservatism, vampirism… Same thing

We liberals need to get off of our laurels and finish the job of driving that stake through the heart of the vampire that is called conservatism.

(Maybe we can start with the queen of the damned wingnuts, Ann Cunter…)

*Library Journal says this of The Virtue of Selfishness:

…[A] good essayist with a flair for the dramatic turn of phrase, [Rand] wasted her obvious writing skills in an effort to support outlandish personal opinions cloaked in the guise of logic. An absolutist thinker, she devotes one whole essay to an effort to persuade us that we really should see things as black and white, with no shades of gray.

Born in Soviet Russia, Rand so despised socialism and collectivist thinking that she leapt to the furthest extreme possible to become the champion of unbridled capitalism, the rights of the individual at the expense of the community, and the diminution of all regulation by the state, with the exception of a judicial system and the control of crime.

Among the sadly dated ideas she conveys are the attitude that homosexuals are mutant symptoms of a sick society and the belief that anyone with an interest in internationalism is a “one world” proponent.

To use one of her own favored words, Rand’s political and social philosophy is critically “muddled.” … 

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