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Dr. Laura, words, and monsters

I think the entire mythos of childhood, and all the lingering fears of adulthood, and most literature, and that peculiarly human fear of the dark can all be traced to one thing: Dads.  Because I have to wonder if the fear of monsters isn't born of a child hearing their father belching in the middle of the night while the good shepherd is looking in on his lambs; and that belch, filtered through sleep and distilled into dreams, doesn't come across as some hairy, scratching, flatulent beast growling in their bedrooms at night.

So let's try an experiment.  For the next 2 generations, I want all fathers to refrain from belching when checking on their kids at night.  And skip snoring, too, for that matter.  And in 40 years we will look at literature and the zeitgeist and see if I was right.


And speaking of monsters...  I guess we could ask Dr. Laura about psychology, except she isn't that kind of doctor. 

She is, however, the kind of physiologist who thinks black people can be over sensitive to the use of the N-word.  And then she got into a tizzy with a listener who took offense to the good doctor dropping more N-bombs than Richard Pryor.  Well, maybe not Richard.  But certainly more than Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill Cosby, Sean Combs, Colin Powell, Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Halle Berry, Clarence Thomas, and every single black person I know has used in the past 5 years... COMBINED... because Dr. Laura wanted to make the point that black people use the word all the time.

And that's okay.  I support Dr. Laura saying N***** on her radio show at least 6 times.  And not just because it outs her as the kind of closeted racist who is so closeted they don't even know they are a racist.  I support her because she used it in a linguistic discussion and in a linguistic discussion you don't use abbreviations.  You don't whisper the word.  She was using it in discourse, not as a pejorative, and that makes all the difference. 

It may be a disgusting word, but it is still just a word; and if we can't be intelligent or adult enough to discuss words as words then maybe we should go back to grunting and pointing.

Which isn't to say she isn't an idiot. 

Sure, hip hop uses the word, and a whole lot of other cuss words, too.  But homosexuals use the F** word, women use the B**** word, Latinos use the S**** word, and paleontologists use the D******* word, but Dr. Laura doesn't get to use the F** or S**** words, because she is neither an F nor an S.  So she should have known better.

Even Eminem won't use the N-word, and that's not a dude with a real good filter system in place. 

But what really makes her an idiot is telling a black woman that she is hypersensitive to the use of the word.  Never mind that there are laws against using inflammatory language, the point is that Dr. Laura isn't black and therefore can have no idea what the word means to a black person.

My wife has mentioned before, and I think I've mentioned it here, that I don't see race, which I took as a compliment, until she pointed out that she is one (and, by extension, my kids are, too).  Which actually managed to shut me up for a period of time.  My wife and my kids are part of me, they are my blood and my life and my hope.  I don't see the difference, but my kids may be unable to avoid it.

Not seeing race is a luxury white people have (and outside of Idaho, Jews in America are white).  And while I am not entirely white, I certainly look the part of the cracker, and have never had to deal with being a "race" before.  And I suspect that this is Dr. Laura's issue, as well.  She may be Jewish, but she's never been a German Jew in the 30s.  She has most certainly never been black, or Latina, or Vietnamese-American, or Irish in the 1870s, or Dalit, or Bosniak in Srebrenica in 1995. 

She has absolutely no frame of reference, so telling a black woman not to take offense to the N-word kinda makes Dr. Laura the dumbest kind of person there is, because she is so dumb she thinks she's smart.


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