Friday, April 07, 2006


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?”


P. Bishop said...

Great post Mr. Kirk.

I can't find your column in the April 7th addition of the North County Times. They're still printing your articles, aren't they? Maybe it was a printing mistake.

RKirk said...

Dr. Laura read this article on air, to several million listeners, last Thursday. The same day my editor at the NCTimes informed me that "horrid space constraints" necessitated bumping my column Friday. Ironically, Dr. Laura mentioned that I was published in the NCTimes. Those guys really know how to screw up a PR opportunity Of course, as with most papers, they care more about their personal political agendas than they do with actually growing the newspaper or serving their readers.

Ellen said...

This comment is a little late in coming, but I could not agree more with your article.

It's just a shame that common sense and morality have given way to narcissim in today's world.

I applaud you.

D.Ettinger said...

Your insight on Dr. Laura is dead on. She brings peoples' true motives into the light and it burns.

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more!!

carolyn said...

I too have noticed a lack of morality among the people who are so disgusted with Dr. Laura. I shall be forwarding this article on to many people, thank you for putting it so simply and just laying it out there in the open. And you know, you just added more flame to the fire to those who hate Dr. Laura, tough.

Anonymous said...

I listen to Dr Laura every day at work, and I have seen alot of mysel in these people and wish I had listened to her six years ago, maybe I owuld have been better equipted to try and save a 24 year marriage, if not at least I would have known I did the right thing.

george said...

Dr. Laura is spot on on all of these issues. i was once a proponent of abortion by choice. that is until my sister in law had one. this was no hypothetical death. it was real, it was my children's cousin, it was a human being. i was stunned at my reaction and the sadness that ensued.

with respect to everything else rkirk mentioned in his article, i see people fighting everyday for what's right for mommy (or daddy) and not what's right for their kids.

thanks to dr. laura, i have stopped hating my ex-wife. what's the point, 24 years later?. i have accepted reality i've stopped fighting it. and so, we have shared the weddings of our two children and who knows, we still may be grandparents together. and won't that be nice for everyone.

as long as both my kids have "bad childhood, good life" on their nite tables, they have the tools to overcome the chaos we gifted them.

george zimmer

Anonymous said...

I say "A MEN" to all that has been written in responded.

Anonymous said...

House 'o Cards

I have wondered deeply, why hate? Why hate Dr. Laura and Bush and the rest? Why not just disagree and vote against. Why Hate?

The only thing that makes sense to me is that we are in the middle of a fun food fight in the cafeteria and any authority figure is feared and therefor hated because of the primal fear of punishment. We know what we deserve.

We fear the end of childhood. We hate those who even suggest we should take responsibility for our actions, our sins, our squawling and largely feral brats by previous relationships.

If word is allowed to leak out that there are consequences for the things we have done and said while having the time of our lives...uh, oh.

The government is now selling the concept that it will take care of the (any and all) consequences if we merely sign over control.

In our hearts we know what we have done. We have a collective fear of being found out, of being judged. So we deny judgment as being too judgemental and we despise anyone who points out that the house of cards is not...ah...a suitable structure for the live weight we place on it.

Or so it might seem.

RKirk said...

I think your point coincides with the last point of the article.