Sunday, May 27, 2007

This Advice-Giver Might Need Some Advice

One of the most basic things I believe is that people shouldn't have to be like me. Most of the time, I wouldn't even want people to be like me, I wouldn't wish this on anyone. What I want is for people to have the freedom to be whatever it is they want to be.

So for instance the other day I found myself discussing conversion therapy with a reporter, and heard myself saying that I sympathize with guys who are torn between their religion and their feelings: gay evangelicals and Mormons, for instance. And I said I can imagine the situation where the rational choice for them is to suppress their feelings, to pretend they're something they're not, because their religion means so much to them.

I hate the fact that that's true, but really, it's not for me to decide what's right for that person. In a perfect world, religion brings out what is beautiful in a person and gives them strength to express their spiritual gifts. In the real world ... that doesn't always happen, you might say. I remember talking with a top researcher on sexual orientation from the University of Utah at a psychology convention, and she said some Mormon guys come to her and tell her that "being gay isn't a possibility" for a Mormon. They've grown up their whole lives in that community, and they can't leave it, those are the people they love, and who love them. So what do you do? You pretend. You lie. You live without love. I'm sorry that happens, but for some people the cost of coming out is just too great. It isn't for me to decide, they have to weigh the alternatives.

In that light, I'm reading these sad stories about Laura Schlessinger. Doctor Laura.

I don't like Doctor Laura. I think she's petty, hateful, mean-spirited. Her advice to people only makes things worse. She dresses up in social desirability and parades around in it, saying stuff that can't be true but some people wish it was.

You might remember a few years ago when her nude pictures appeared on the Internet. Like others in her position, she was full of excuses. She was young, she didn't know what she was doing, the guy shouldn't have shown anyone those private pictures, etcetera etcetera. It seems reasonable to her: she got to play and make her own mistakes, then made a career out of condemning other people who do that.

Doctor Laura has lots of ideas about how to raise kids, she's one of the original "family values" spokesmen. She preaches that women should be subservient to their husbands and that kids need lots of discipline.

Her kid is now in the Army.

And look, I said the other day, "don't think it can't happen to you."

Looks like Doctor Laura's going to take a few days off.

From the Salt Lake City Tribune:
The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called "repulsive."

The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.

The site is credited to and includes many photographs of Deryk Schlessinger, the 21-year-old son of the talk radio personality known simply as Dr. Laura. Broadcast locally on 570 KNRS, "Family Values Talk Radio," the former family counselor spends three hours daily taking calls and offering advice on morals, ethics and values. She broadcast a show from Fort Douglas, in Salt Lake City, last week. Dr. Laura son linked to lurid Web page

I know what you're thinking: at least he's not gay.
"Yes . . . F---ING Yes!!!" said one blog entry on the Schlessinger site. "I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don't."

Deryk Schlessinger joined the Army in 2004, telling a crowd of Santa Barbara, Calif., Army reservists gathered for an appearance by his mother that he resented the way Americans criticize the war without recognizing soldiers' sacrifices.

"Real people were fighting, and I wanted to be part of that," the younger Schlessinger said, according to The Associated Press.

If you're raising kids, brace yourself. There will be times they'll disappoint you, they'll do the stupidest things, you'll find yourself trying to help them out of ridiculous situations.

But I don't think your kids will be monsters. I hope this is right: I don't think your kids will go out and represent the United States of America as a depraved nation. This isn't a guy with an overactive imagination, this is a guy who has right and wrong totally turned around, as a philosophy, as a way of life. Your kids won't be like this.

This is about how to raise kids -- this whole web site is about how to raise kids. Some people take the authoritarian path, they teach their kids that obedience is the highest duty, that they must do as their told. In sex ed, that means you tell them not to have sex, and that's it. You tell them gay is bad, and that's it. If they have sex anyway, or if they're gay anyway, they're simply bad people. There was nothing you could've done. They wouldn't listen.

There are others who think you show respect to your kids. You prepare them for life, you don't hide it from them. You talk to them, and you listen to them, it goes both ways.

Well, I don't like to tell anybody how to raise their kids. I'm just saying, y'know?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it used to be bad form to go after someone's kids.

Not anymore, by the liberal press, I guess.

May 29, 2007 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMHO your statement is an odd one for a person who insists that LGBT kids who attend MCPS should be exposed to harmful therapy offered by "coaches" like PFOX's former poster boy and President, Richard Cohen. You think it's OK to go after LGBT kids with harmful messages like PFOX offers on its website:

homosexual inclinations are "disordered."

"one of the first things I see happen when a loved one discloses a homosexual condition is the process of the grief cycle. “ Why grief?” you might ask, “No one has died.” In reality, it seems someone has died-or at least a vision, a hope, or a perception has died."

May 29, 2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one gave a second thought to going after Amy Carter back in the late 70s.

Amy Carter did not receive the same "media hands-off" treatment that the Clintons insisted upon for their daughter, Chelsea. The fact that Amy went to public school, her views on nuclear disarmament, and the time she was seen to be reading a book at the table during a state dinner were all subjects of media stories.

May 29, 2007 9:41 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton (who at the age of 12 was called "the White House Dog" by Rush Limbaugh) were children whose parents lived public lives. Deryk Schlessinger is an adult who chose to use a public forum, MySpace, to share his innermost depravity with the world at large. Some people can see the difference.

Deryk Schlessinger is 21 years old. He is not longer his mother's baby, and she is no longer raising him. He is old enough to enlist in the armed services, old enough to go to war, and old enough to know what he is doing. There's the key.

Whether his behavior is the result of his being the son of a sanctimonious harpy, or in spite of it, is another matter altogether.

May 29, 2007 2:03 PM  

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