Dr. Laura has been dishing out judgemental advice on radio airwaves for 30 years and she’s about to hang up her headphones after this latest fracas over something she said.
The 63 year old psychologist claims she’s “way too young” to retire but this latest uproar over her choice of words has convinced her that the only way to preserve her right to free speech is to come off the air and out of the line of fire of special interest groups. I would defend her to death if I believed that was the truth. But she really just doesn’t want to edit what comes out of her mouth and that’s not something worth defending.
This time she said the N word 11 times. She claims she was trying to make a philosophical point but I dare you to show me a broadcaster who thinks it’s okay to say that word into a microphone. Ever. In any context. It’s not okay. It’s one thing for a black comic to say it in a scathing routine to a paying audience. It’s quite another for a rich, white, Jewish lady to repeat it over and over on the public airwaves.
I’m all for free speech and I think banning words is kind of silly. They’re just words. But there are exceptions. THIS word, with its history and negative connotations is just not worth saying, ever. When it comes to a touchy word I always ask myself this: What do I have to gain by using it, versus what I have to lose? And one needs to take into account the power of the broadcast medium. Even benign phrases take on an authoritative tone when they’ve got a few thousand watts behind them. So long Dr. Laura. This is a woman who has been estranged from her own family for years and yet she feels entitled to tell you how to communicate with yours. I don’t celebrate her success in radio; I pity her for her delusions of grandeur that have ended in a swift slap of reality.