August 21, 2010

Idiot of the Week: Dr. Laura Schlessinger

DrLauraSchlessingerByPhilKonstantinThis may come as a bit of a surprise, but I am not "honoring" Dr. Laura Schlessinger for saying "nigger" 11 times on her radio show. Sure, that wasn't a bright move on her part, but like others have documented, Schlessinger has a reputation for bigotry. That she might have some issues with race is not all that shocking. It probably isn't even all that unusual.

No, I find her deserving of our tongue-in-cheek Idiot of the Week status for statements she made on Larry King following her resignation. She said that her First Amendment rights were being violated because people were criticizing her for what she said. If Schlessinger wants to hide behind the First Amendment, doesn't she at least need to understand it?

At no place in the First Amendment do we find that people are protected from criticism for what they say. If Schlessinger wants to argue that she has the right to say "nigger" on her radio show, great. She can make that argument. But to suggest that nobody gets to criticize her for doing so suggests that she misses the point entirely. The First Amendment is not just for her; it covers our speech too. And that means that it gives us the right to criticize her.

As for my decision not to play the game of writing "the N-word" in this post instead of accurately quoting Schlessinger, that will have to be the subject of another post.