Hating Dr. Laura is a prerequisite for Americans shaped by the country’s me-first culture. For them, kicking around the popular radio host is almost as much fun as abusing the President. But what exactly do they hate?
First, they hate the way Dr. Laura holds people responsible for their own choices—even ones made when they were young and stupid. Especially irksome is that irritating observation frequently put to disgruntled wives: “You picked him.”
They hate the way the nation’s designated nag rejects convenient “I don’t know” answers and expects callers to face up to facts they’d rather forget.
They hate it when she downplays the importance of feelings and places moral obligation on a higher plain than emotion.
They hate how Dr. Laura badmouths “psychobabble” and demands that callers say what they really mean when they talk about “dealing with” their “issues.”
They hate it when Dr. Laura makes people feel bad about doing bad things.
They hate it when she turns the expectations table and asks dissatisfied female callers, “How would you like to come home to you every day?”—a query inevitably followed by an extended period of silence.
They hate it when the daily dispenser of hardcore compassion responds to “It’s so hard” whiners with the callous retort, “So what?”
They hate it when Dr. Laura answers “How do I…” questions with straightforward replies: “How do I get over the pain?” “It takes time.” “How do I stop being a complainer?” “Stop complaining.”
They hate Dr. Laura for destroying the illusion that there’s an easy way to do difficult things—for not pretending that a pill or a slick technique can undo messes and avoid hurt feelings.
They hate it when the petulant moralist employs the term “slut” or labels callers “selfish” and tells them to think about others—as if she were qualified to judge someone’s “personal value system.”
They hate the fact that Dr. Laura disparages popular ideas about “venting” and “confrontation”—concepts endorsed on TV shows where problems are resolved after shouting matches that last less than five minutes.
They hate it when she uses the term “shack-up” for relationships where couples don’t pledge to stay together “in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live”—as if their unwillingness to publicly express their commitment to each other implies a lack of commitment.
They hate it when the impertinent shrinklette exclaims, “At least a prostitute gets paid!”
They hate the fact that Dr. Laura puts the lives of children above the sex lives of adults—and that she has the audacity to suggest staying together for the sake of the kids.
They hate it when she looks at custody arrangements through the eyes of children and asks parents to imagine how their offspring feel about being shuffled back and forth and “crammed”—not “blended”—into his, hers, and ours families.
They hate that Dr. Laura dismisses the adult-centered excuse, “Kids adapt,” and has the gall to say that mothers who don’t want to raise their children shouldn’t have them.
They especially hate it when she condenses current legal reasoning on the subject of abortion into a simple, morally indefensible proposition: “If she wants it, it’s a baby. If she doesn’t, it’s not.”
They hate when she says “Hoooah”—as if soldiers make the world a better place.
And they hate it when she says, “Do the right thing,”—as if most actions aren’t gloriously gray.
Most of all they hate it when, having turned off the radio in disgust, a barely perceptible but persistent voice keeps whispering in their ears: “You know, don’t you, that what Dr. Laura just said, is right?”