Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review March 28, 2000/ 21 Adar II, 5760

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports



Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom -- HER BODY'S BEAUTIFUL, so I'm thinking rape. Grabbed the _______ by her mouth and slam her down on the couch. She begged me in a low voice: "Please don't kill me." I slit her throat and watch her shake like on TV.

Keats couldn't have said it better.

Now consider the following:

If you're gay or lesbian . . . the fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually and intimately, in a loving way, to a member of the opposite sex. It is a biological error. . . . It's deviant sexual behavior. Why does deviant sexual behavior get rights?

Guess which speaker apologized. The first lilting lyrics were brought to you by Time Warner's Geto Boys ("Mind of a Lunatic"). The chairman of the board of Time Warner refused to read the lyrics aloud when asked by a concerned shareholder. Instead, the chairman signed even more delightful folks such as Ice-T who brought us the inspirational, "Cop Killer."

The second quote is from Dr. Laura Schlessinger who issued an apology ("Some of the words I've used have hurt some people, and I'm sorry for that.") after Paramount Studios, the home of a new Dr. Laura television show, was deluged with calls from gay rights advocates demanding Schlessinger's demise prior to her debut.

Having read of the hoopla Dr. Laura generates, I joined with 18 million others and gave a listen to her daily radio show. She has an odd sort of interaction with callers -- they worship her and she belittles them. If they argue, she clamps down like a hyena on a carcass and invokes sailorese ("So the stud is doing her?"). Mention abortion as an option and she'll spout "You would suck your baby into a sink?" She reminds women of the "ten stupid things" they do to mess up their lives. She quotes the Ten Commandments and flies twice around her cage backwards if a caller says "I feel" because feelings aren't rights.

The physiologist turned radio psychiatrist dishes blunt advice. She condemns divorce, wants a "ring and a date" before it's an engagement and warns of the risks of premarital sex. The "I am my kid's mom" motto is annoying, but Dr. Laura has great wisdom and insight for lost souls in a society that has drifted to the comfortable confusion of moral relativism. Dr. Laura gives moral answers for dilemmas that used to be no-brainers. An example of a caller's question, "Should I sleep with the guy who is the father of my first child but won't marry me?" Dr. Laura offered the wisdom of the ages, "Hell, no." Her closing admonition is "Go do the right thing."

Dr. Laura spares no one. The divorced, the deadbeat dads, the gossips -- they all take Schlessinger abuse. Her language about gays may be her softest, but gay rights activists took offense and demanded silence. Elizabeth Toledo of NOW, a group active in the Paramount protests, assures "this is not about free speech," but says she would "love" to have shutting Schlessinger down as a "notch in her belt." Would Ms. Toldeo feel the same were Paramount deluged with protests from religious groups about Will & Grace or the 19 gay characters on prime-time television? Wouldn't she invoke free speech on behalf of these half-baked shows?

The very movement that preaches tolerance silences its adversaries. I'm with Andrew Sullivan, a gay male who writes for the New York Times and New Republic. "Let her rip," he says. If Dr. Laura's points are silly, counter them, but this debacle is indeed not about free speech --- it is about leftist censorship.

The Academy of Motion Pictures bestowed 7 nominations on the film The Insider. They were enamored of the story about the evil tobacco companies that sought to silence Jeffrey Wigand and CBS's Sixty Minutes report on him. Wigand had the goods and both he and CBS got threats. The tobacco companies were depicted as knuckle-dragging oafs for their heavy-handed silencing. What is the difference between tobacco companies strong-arming CBS and Dr. Wigand and gay rights activists doing the same to Paramount and Dr. Laura? CBS is a hero in defiance while Paramount is one for genuflection.

Selective censorship means Time Warner can ship "Cop Killer" CDs in tiny body bags as a marketing ploy in the name of artistic freedom. The lyrics: I've got my twelve-gauge sawed-off. I'm 'bout to dust some cops off. Die, pig, die. But despite the tears, outrage and protests from religious groups about The Last Temptation of Christ, Martin Scorsese and his film marched to box office and critical acclaim. But Time Warner modified Porky Pig's speech because a stuttering-awareness group protested. It's hard to know which is more stunning -- that they changed the cartoon or that there actually is a stuttering awareness group.

Dr. Laura bowed because Paramount, one of the ordinarily holier-than-thou Hollywood protectors of its talents' artistic freedom, caved. That a studio lacks back bone is not new. But, that spunky little broad of AM radio is a disappointment. She may be her kid's mom, but she didn't do the right thing. If she called me for advice, I'd give her as good as she gives her callers, "You sold out for a shot at TV, didn't you? What kind of a message does giving in send to your son? Why couldn't you just hang on? The television show would have found its way to you, with or without Paramount."

Take that, queen of blunt.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings