Volume 93, Issue 91

Wednesday, March 22, 2000


ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Doors translates well from era to era

Strong cast helps Pinafore sail

Dr. Laura prescribes bad medicine

Rollins rocks, de Bussac rolls

Dr. Laura prescribes bad medicine



Perhaps it is most astonishing when you put things into context.

It is the year 2000. If asked, most Americans probably consider their nation just and progressive, unlike many of the more primitive cultures spanning the globe. So how is it that a hypocritical, myopic "professional" like Dr. (I use this designation loosely) Laura Schlessinger can be offered a syndicated television show because studio executives realize the program will be watched by millions and consequently make them a lot of money? It seems impossible, yet the television division of Paramount is more than willing to make it a reality.

The ever wise and tolerant words of the dear Dr. Laura will soon be heard not just on radio airwaves, but on television as well.

It was only earlier this year that mouths fell agape with disbelief and disgust as people discovered a major television network would air a prime time show in which one of the characters spoke an obscenity. Apparently the word "shit" challenges the moral fibre of traditional American homes, while homophobic slurs and ridiculous, self-righteous diatribes strengthens the values upon which the great nation was built.

Oh, it brings a patriotic tear to the eye.

The announcement of Paramount's plans for the show was not without due protest from celebrities, politicians and gay rights groups, such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. It would seem in a progressive society, such parties would have no problem getting Dr. Laura's drivel removed from the airwaves – after all, her descriptions of homosexuals are blatantly false, even slanderous (unless you believe, as she suggests, that homosexuality is sexually deviant behaviour, analogous to incest).

It is at this point, however, that GLAAD and other equal rights crusaders hit the big wall called freedom of speech.

How dare they try to take away the good doctor's right to free expression? The advantages of American life are the rights and freedoms fundamentally guaranteed in the American Constitution – free speech being among the most cherished.

In the minds of her supporters, Schlessinger is simply expressing beliefs she shares with many other Americans.

People can preach free speech and dress their arguments up in glorious prose concerning liberty and democracy, but when it comes down to it American media, like most in the Western world, are far from free.

Instead, they are dictated by market demand. If this was not the case, the Ku Klux Klan would have a talk show. Surely many Americans share that group's views.

The difference is that Dr. Laura's show will sell, the KKK – not so much.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000