For a while, people used to hear my last name (Schlesinger) and ask whether I was related to Dr. Laura. "No, I spell my name with one-S (there are two in Dr. Laura's) and I pronounce my last name with a soft g, as in German, while Dr. Laura's last name ends with a hard G, as in "grrrr".
It got so bad that the first time I appeared on Fox Business News, the anchor turned to me and said, "Laura, what do you think about the volatile market?" I quickly responded, "Well, I'm Jill, but it's no wonder you made that mistake because people are seeking direction about their financial lives even from the likes of advice-peddling, abusive radio talk show hosts!"
By now, you probably know that Dr. Laura quit her radio show after an imbroglio over her repeated use of a racial epithet 11 times in five minutes. The whole fiasco reminds me of the Imus kerfuffle over the Rutgers Women's Basketball players (here's Gwen Ifill's awesome NYT op-ed on the subject), though Dr. Laura decided to quit herself and Imus was canned.
On the eve of the ninetieth anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, we have an example of a woman acting just as poorly as a man -- that's not the kind of progress that our suffragette sisters probably wanted, but there it is...
Dr. Laura had admitted that she said "the wrong thing" on the air, but last night on CNN's "Larry King Live" she said, "I've made the decision not to do radio anymore...The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights."
Um, who exactly had taken those First Amendment rights from Dr. Laura?
She went on to say that she wants "to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special-interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."
This from the woman who said "Don't worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward" and "Victimization status is the modern promised land of absolution from personal responsibility."
Goodbye for now, Dr. Laura...I'm sure you're not gone forever, but hopefully just long enough so people will stop asking whether we're related!
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