Thursday, August 19, 2010

Uncommon Allies

What do humorist Mark Twain and soon-to-be-ex-talk radio show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger have in common? The answer may surprise you, but we'll get to that in a bit.

First, I have to say that I'm not a Dr. Laura fan. In the few times I've listened to her, I've found her to be sanctimonious, condescending, and above all else, unoriginal. Every problem seems to have the same answer: listen to Dr. Laura's brusque advice. And while we're here, if you rely on a talk radio host as your moral authority, you have bigger problems than shacking up with someone to worry about.

Having said that, I feel the controversy surrounding her use of the n-word is nonsense contrived by the Left to try to take down someone who has been a thorn in their collective sides. It's spiteful at best, but at worst it's dangerous to free speech. Like it or not, racism (even imaginary racism) is protected speech. The thing about free speech is that, although you are guaranteed a right to speak, you are not guaranteed a right to an audience. If you don't like Dr. Laura, turn on NPR, and vice versa.

This is not to say Dr. Laura's without fault here. As a target of the Left, a political group that has no problem taking comments out of context and railing against them (ex. Media Matters talking about Glenn Beck), she should have known the use of the n-word would have gotten them salivating and calling for her to be taken off the air. She unwittingly gave the Left what they wanted: a reason to take her out of context and then take her down.

Of course, the Left never lets a little thing like context get in the way of a good narrative. It's like how the Left has railed against Huckleberry Finn in the 90s. They didn't bother to understand the setting of the book or the context of the use of the n-word. All they saw was the n-word, and on that, they called the book racist. Yet, the book makes a serious point about being colorblind when it comes to racial relationships and points out the hypocrisy in those who saw (and continue to see) only race.

So, what do Mark Twain and Dr. Laura have in common? They've both been criticized by the Left for making a valid point about race relations that the Left was able to take out of context.

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