'I Am the Epitome of Reality'
This is my first-ever article for the Weekly, and my first interview, and it's Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Kee-rist! Hello: I'm kind of a feminist over here; not a fetus-in-your-face so much, but definitely more than a girl-power-bumper-sticker kind of feminist. So I prepared some of my best relationship questions—Does he not love me because my boobs aren't big enough? Should I engage in a threesome for his birthday? Why can't I meet a man who's perfect in every way as I search for my own personality?
And then I canned them all for a more in-depth conversation with the doctor, about her one-woman show at the Irvine Barclay this weekend—and about her. Like you care about me and my boobs anyway (they are nice, though). Dr. Laura, everybody!
OC Weekly: Are you familiar withOCWeekly's leftist politics?
Dr. Laura: (Laughing) I assumed—most of the press is—it's not a big surprise to me.We share some advertisers with your show, namely plastic surgeons. How do you feel about enhancements? I love this question. They sponsor my radio shows all over the country. I get letters from people who say, "Hey, do you know you have a plastic surgeon advertising on your show?" And I say, "Hey, they're supporting me." It seems to me, when somebody goes to med school and takes the oath, you're not supposed to do damage. [Plastic surgery is] catering to vanity. To me plastic surgeons should be doing reconstruction after disease and damage and accidents—cleft palates, etc.—these are the people I admire. If something's broken, you fix it. If it's not broken, it's part of the diversity. It's trivial.
So tell us about Act 1 of your show.
It's quite autobiographical. [On] the 16th [of January], I'm going to be 59, so that's a lot of years of stuff. Basically I weave in and out of my life in spurts, my parents and their, shall we say, "issues"—and my typical day: waking up through starting the radio show. Act 1 ends very dramatically, when I'm starting my radio show. I try to end Act 1 so that there's absolutely no applause. None. Zero. Not a peep in the room. Second act, I change my clothes. I come out in actual shoes. As people come in, they put their questions on 4-by-6 cards. I go through them and I go out and answer their questions.
Any prevalent themes in the questions throughout all of the shows so far?
People are just very, very interested in me. How I got to where I am, what I've had to deal with, how do I deal with being attacked in the media. There's a lot of humor and drama. The whole point of this is for my listeners to understand me better, that's the whole point of this.
You sometimes mention your move away from feminism. How did that experience contribute to the book10 Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives?
I wrote that book when I realized the feminism movement was extremely destructive to women and families and society. The original concept [of the feminist movement], that a competent woman should be respected and paid for her abilities, is a no-brainer. That's civil rights. But the feminist movement was 100 percent co-opted by a mentality that has absolutely no respect for femininity, motherhood, men or family, and in so [doing it] has been extraordinarily disruptive to our society. So I had already evolved to that point when I was writing that book.
The word "bitch": How do you define it?
I use the word a lot. I use it for a woman who is self-centered and hurtful and nasty. I use the word all the time because unfortunately there are a lot of bitches out there. I think the feminist movement has made women more bitchy and more horrible to their men and therefore more destructive to marriages. Women don't even realize how bitchy they're being. I think by and large American women are a lot bitchier than women in other countries.
With your ethical, no-nonsense approach, do you think your callers may feel victimized?
Oh, some might be. If there's somebody who wants to hold on to their victim status and adds me to their list of victimizers, sure—but they might call me [again] in five years. The kind of person who has the guts to face me with what they're struggling with, I think, will eventually do something more positive about it. Because some part of them has good sense and guts. Some part of them does, or they would have a hard time calling me.
Do you have any messages for our readers who aren't listeners?
I'd want them to just listen and go see the show. They probably don't listen because they've heard a lot of b.s. I don't have a lot of respect for people who form an opinion based on somebody else's opinions. If somebody has an opinion, let them come see the show, let them read one of my books, hear one of my shows and have their own opinion. I have a lot to offer, whether you agree with it or not, because I am the ultimate in reality reality. I am the epitome of reality, because real people are calling about their real lives: their parents, their children, marriages, death. This is real life. And I think everyone can benefit from understanding the pain, the need, the aspirations of other people, and be inspired by their work that they do.
DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER PRESENTS DR. LAURA: IN MY NEVER TO BE HUMBLE OPINION AT THE IRVINE BARCLAY THEATRE, 4242 CAMPUS DR., IRVINE, (949) 854-4646. FRI.-SAT., 8 P.M.; SUN., 3 P.M. SOLD OUT. CALL FOR CHANGES IN AVAILABILITY.
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