Nov. 12, 1998: A Special News Report and Analysis by 'Yinka Vidal
Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Nude Pictures: A Painful Lesson in Humility
On November 3, 1998, Dr. Laura Schlessinger read an emotional statement to her radio audience regarding the placement of her nude pictures on the internet. Immediately my heart bled for her. I questioned how can somebody do such a despicable thing to such a noble woman who has the audacity to stand up for the moral conscience of America? I investigated the story and other mockery articles written about her. It becomes obvious that Dr. Schlessinger's response to the exposure of her nude pictures underscores the strength of her emotional position that she preaches to her audience.
Earlier, Dr. Laura Schlessinger had gone to court to block the pictures from being published on the internet after Bill Ballance her ex-lover sold them to Internet Entertainment Group (IEG) running CLUBLOVE. In Los Angeles on November 2, 1998, Judge Dean D. Pregerson awarded victory to IEG and Dr. Laura lost her case in precluding the world from seeing her nude pictures.
Dr. Laura's nude pictures
The pictures showed her in various nude poses like a Playboy spread in hallways, somewhere near the patio and in the bedroom. She was nude to the waste with a smile in most of the pictures -- bare breasted wearing blue jeans. In one pose, she was sitting on a bed totally naked with both hands between the bifurcation of her thighs as if trying to conceal her most private part. Perhaps she got bolder and had a pose in the hallway wearing nothing but a smile as she displayed all the normal body parts of a fully developed young woman in her entire glory. In the most provocative picture, she was sitting on a bed naked, with her legs stretched apart and wide open to reveal the obvious -- I will leave the rest to your imagination.
It was important for me to see the pictures before this article is completed in order not to commit the grave error by journalists for jumping to conclusions over things they have not actually observed. I was hoping they are not pictures of Dr. Laura in sexual positions with different men -- that would have been harder to defend. I was initially apprehensive due to the way she commented about the pictures on her radio show with a teary voice as if her heart was badly broken. The pictures did not catch her in sexual acts or in an orgy or robbing a bank which could have been more embarrassing to her. Although some of them are provocative, others are flattery, but none is pornographic.
What's the real issue?
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a product of the 70s where many college students took off their clothes and ran naked in the streets. It was the time of the Woodstock and the Hippies where students partied for days, got high, ripped apart their clothes, and drank themselves to madness. This was also the time for free love and some wild parties advocated for orgies and swinging. So, nudity was not the issue because people got naked all the time and husbands sometimes took their wives' nude pictures -- no big deal.
The real issue behind Dr. Laura's teary voice and what sounded like a confession was her perception of being caught with her panties down while she was having an extramarital affair. She was worried about people seeing a conflict between Dr. Laura Schlessinger's moral positions today including her political allies, and the seemingly loose image presented in the pictures of Laura Schlessinger of yester-years with her legs wide open. After all the sex scandals in Washington, most people would view the pictures in a different way contrary to the way she reacted to them. Therefore, Dr. Laura's reaction to the pictures which prompted various emotional reactions from some people was a mistake. People are not stupid, they know celebrities are normal human beings, they get turned-on, sexually excited, take off their clothes and have sex like everybody else. Sometimes the same people may do inappropriate things. However, past errors do not underscore the importance of today's moral position and judgment.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger may not be considered a moral authority since she did not live the life or graduated from the convent as an ex-nun who came out just in time to get married. But she can still be a moral evangelist. She audaciously brought moral values to the heart of America when the lines between wrong and right, appropriate and inappropriate behaviors become blurrier and blurrier. She champions the causes of moral values based on her teachings on strong family values today. Although I strongly oppose her position of condemning working women when she herself works -- it doesn't matter whether she works from home or from a trailer -- most women are not that lucky! The problem with Dr. Laura's message is not because of her ideational perspective (people are entitled to their own opinions), but because of her sometimes vicious style, harsh tone of voice, arrogance of her opinions, vulgarity of her language and her condemnation of people for making the same mistakes she already made in her life.
At the glorious moment of greatness, the painful mistake of human perception is the illusion that we are greater than life as arrogance drives our good ambitions to dangerous extremes.
According to Dr. Laura's statement, she was 28 years old, legally separated from her husband, when she was having sex with a 57 year old man -- more than twice her age and old enough to be her father! Yet, she persecutes divorced women who are pleading with her about their needs for a males's nurture and their desire to satisfy their sexual hunger. From the physiology point of view, at what time does sex drive becomes a biological need -- when a sex starved woman rapes or kills somebody? If it was harder for Laura Schlessinger to keep her legs closed from another man while still legally married to her husband, how did she expect a divorced woman to suddenly be celibate after years of intimacy with her husband? Perhaps nobody dies from lack of sex, but they can sometimes go mad without it -- as if possessed by the demon!
The painful hypocrisy of our time is the denial that people get sexually aroused no matter whether they are married or not. The target of their arousal may not even be their spouse. However, denial is not the solution as to the ways we choose to manage the behavior behind such desires. As long as we hide our perceptions and expressions behind the illusion of political conservatism, we will never be able to understand the emotional manifestation of such problems as infidelity or fornication not alone find ways to prevent them.
Instead of the tears on her show, Dr. Laura could have offered her audience a honest lesson about why a father's love and attention are very crucial to a teenage daughter -- and also a lesson about human weaknesses. From studies, when young ladies get involved with men old enough to be their fathers, they are starving for protection and reaching out for affection they did not receive from their fathers. A father is the first non-sexual male love and affection in a daughter's life, he should therefore be careful not to violate the paternal trust. If the love was violated or she felt not nurtured by her father, the young lady usually reaches out for love from older men outside the family to replace the missing affection from her father. Unfortunately, such love and nurture come with conditions of sexual involvement!Can we all learn something from this painful incident of Dr. Laura's exposure?
Wrong reaction and a lesson in humility
Dr. Laura should have played down the whole incident of the nude pictures -- instead, she played it higher than the pictures are worth, consequently attaching more importance and attention to the pictures. As a result, many people started searching the internet for the nude pictures of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She is not the first celebrity to be found naked, so what makes her better than others? After all, the pictures are not pornographic! And she was not physically deformed! So, what's the big deal?
She should have laughed over the pictures -- discounting them as one of those stupid mistakes young ladies make. But, because she has attached more importance to over-magnifying herself, she was forced to learn a painful lesson in humility.
Tolerance and compassion for others
When people make mistakes, it is important to give them guidance so they can see ways out of their predicaments, especially when they are crying out for help. When we resort to condemning people and not give them outlets, or opportunities to correct their mistakes, we might have prematurely killed their spirit. When Dr. Laura resorts to using harsh words in responding to some of her radio show callers, she doesn't realize the damage she does to the people. Perhaps, the after effect of such emotional cruelty may be devastating to these callers making it difficult for them to deal with the realities of their problems. Undoubtedly, she is not a good therapist, however, there are better ways to handle people's problems or mistakes besides making them feel very small thereby magnifying Laura Schlessinger's importance.
Need for healing
The most helpful part of psychotherapy is to guide the hurting person through the processes of healing. Prior to getting to that point, the therapist must find out more information about the problems and the patient. Sometimes patients need help in resolving conflicts, other times they want to get in touch with the causes of their pain through the processes of psychoanalysis. Some patients actually want a therapist to tell them what to do or approve their choice of decision. Part of the primary job of a therapist is to present options to the client and not make decisions for the final outcome. The patients are supposed to make their own decisions with the options discussed with their therapists. Subsequently through behavior modification, the therapist helps the patient to achieve the chosen goals. If a therapist resorts to insulting, shouting and verbally assaulting the client, it becomes harder for the patient to find the healing ground.
Dr. Laura and every hurting person need to find personal healing grounds. When we survive through painful experience, we get stronger and we learn to effectively deal with other problems in our lives. Life is filled with many challenges, our mission is to deal with these challenges without destroying ourselves or others. Sometimes out of self adulation and ego, we put so much importance on trivial issues. Consequently, money and fame become more important than the essence of life itself. Most of these issues are reflected in the teachings of Christ on how he teaches us about forgiveness, love, kindness, and the values of the essence of life.
The importance of Christ's teachings
Persecution of sinners was the primary reason why Jesus Christ was sent to give people a second chance to life. Throughout his ministry, he preached about love and forgiveness -- that was why the story of the prodigal son was so important to mirror repentance, forgiveness, and the redemption of sins. Even when Mary Magdalene was brought before him because she was a prostitute, he asked the person who had never sinned to cast the first stone. Even after Jesus had departed to heaven, he called Saul on his way to Damascus and converted him to Paul despite his persecution of Christ. Paul ended up becoming one of the Christ's powerful Apostles. However, Dr. Laura' s teachings hardly reflected the teachings of Christ. She loved the cosmetic rhetorics of quoting the Bible and talking about the ten commandments as if she was there on Mount Sinai when God gave the tablets to Moses!
The danger of extremism
Looking at the life of Christ and his teachings, Jesus Christ could be considered a religious moderate of his time. He preached to help the poor, advocated for forgiveness, and even supported the IRS by saying "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's." Even when he saw Zacchaeus who was working for the IRS of that time, he asked him to come down from the tree because of numerous accusations against Zacchaeus about how he became rich. Jesus said, "Today, salvation entered thy house." Jesus was very tough about one thing, he said, "All sins are forgivable, but a sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable." Jesus did not ask for death penalty for the abortion doctor or besieged people with condemnation and eternal damnation. Jesus could have been considered a religious tyrant of that time because, he taught tolerance and opened the eyes of people to see things differently. That was the underlying reason why he was crucified because the people of that time believed Jesus was guilty of heresy. But, that was not enough for them to arrest him leading to the continuous persecution by the church of that time. Jesus too accused the church of extremism because of their rigid rules and rituals. He defined the Pharisees and the Sadducees as hypocrites because of their self-righteousness, arrogance and show-offs. At one time he referred to them as unmarked graves because they misled people due to their self proclaimed goodness, virtues and importance. Today, we see the reflection of extremism in politics when people refuse to believe in forgiveness and always willing to persecute others and condemn them to death without giving their victims opportunities or outlets to escape. This type of political extremism and rhetorics foster a comfortable atmosphere for violence like the Oklahoma bombing or the killing of the abortion doctors by the most righteous. I have always thought that violence to express opinions is why America is always against foreign terrorism of any kind! At the moment of obsession, any good idea becomes very dangerous, and the political conservatives just learned a bitter lesson from the results of the November 3, 1998 election.
When we over-stretch our sense of self importance for the joy of self adulation, and gratification, we will eventually be humbled by the same people who had admired us so much.
We should not live in a moraless society as we teach our children to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. The beauty of America is, there is always a second chance for anybody willing to try again after making a mistake. Extremism is not only undemocratic, it is very un-American. With the same reasons, we believe in the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. We all need to exercise tolerance, develop compassion for others, and negotiate with those in disagreement with us -- otherwise we will defeat the real essence of our existence.
We are on a journey of life as we continue to search for the purpose of our existence and the essence of life. The value of our existence defines the essence of life -- it is not to persecute others, or to drown in self adulation because of our greatness. Supposedly, our talents are expected to be used to make the world a better place by touching somebody's heart with kindness. That's when we will be embraced by our Savior, Jesus Christ saying, "Well done ye faithful servants, enter into eternal joy of thy Savior."
Lara Publications, St. Louis, MO.