The Mr. Nice Guy Show Blog

Listen to The Mr. Nice Guy Show podcast, too.

My thoughts on what's goin' on in the world,

just like years ago on the radio.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Profound or Dopey???

This is what I found in my fortune cookie today:

"You need only to understand that it is not necessary to understand but only to enjoy."



Dr. Laura Explains It All

I'm not a fan of Dr. Laura's.

This radio shill got my attention back in '99 when she seemed to have decided that giving simplistic advice to callers on her syndicated radio show - heard in over 400 markets at the time - was just not enough. I'm guessing her handlers looked at Rush Limbaugh and other angry, yelping, conservative hosts and decided Laura should be more like them. Sooo, she went after librarians...because we have the nerve to believe all people should have free access to a world of information, learn, and draw their own conclusions - themselves - rather than have a circus clown on the radio do it for them.

Long story I won't get into here.
Anyway, Laura's star quickly dropped like a stone. Her syndicated TV show bombed and nobody really talks about her much these days. Well, always one to capitalize on the misfortune of others, Laura was in the news this week, as we learn in this brilliant Los Angeles Times piece. Enjoy!!

Is She Dr. Laura or Dr. Strange Love?
Robert Scheer

December 24 2002

Some family values. Your 77-year-old mother lies dead and decomposing for two months in a condominium not far from the radio complex where you sternly hector millions about how to live a moral life while attacking those who "deviate."

And you never bothered once to inquire how your own mom was doing? Maybe send a minion over to knock on the door once in a while? For two months, the mail piled up, the condo fees went unpaid, and you, successful syndicated radio advice guru "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger, never noticed these and other worrying signs that, as the police suggested, your mother may have been murdered?

Of course, when you finally found out, after the building manager called the police, you were "horrified by the tragic circumstances" of her death.

But was it really appropriate to add, self-servingly, that she "died as she chose to live, alone and isolated." You said, "My mother shut all her family out of her life over the years, though we made several futile attempts to stay connected."

Those are not kind words to speak of one's dead mother. Ties it all in a neat little bow, doesn't it? Italian-born Yolanda Schlessinger was "Sophia Loren-like," and you found her difficult. In a 1998 interview, you claim a childhood "that would curl your hair."

Welcome to reality: Good family values don't come easily. Problem is, you've made it sound as if they do. You are one of the leading conservative sloganeers who arrogantly claim a lock on the moral high ground while deriding those, such as homosexuals, who dare to "deviate" from your "norm." Using the title "doctor," earned in physiology rather than medicine or psychology, has lent a false credibility to your depictions of homosexuality as a "biological error," a "dysfunction" and a "deviancy" -- words that encourage hate crimes.

Worse, honoring and caring for one's parents is at the heart of your philosophy, as spelled out in your own presumptuous 1998 book, "The 10 Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life." You wrote: "God's commandment of honoring parents is basically the message that parents are a conduit of God. Any profanity or harm to the parent is as if we've profaned God."

You wrote, "By honoring our parents, we learn to honor God. By honoring God we become decent human beings."

You obviously failed that test. "Even bad parents deserve to be honored if only at a minimal level," you wrote. Thus surely "honor thy father and thy mother" intends something more than letting a septuagenarian woman go months at a time without even a drive-by visit from her daughter.

You also wrote: "There is often a profound unwillingness to give anything to a parent perceived as being unloving or undeserving.... That avoidance is part of the mentality that says, 'If it doesn't obviously serve me, I won't do it and I shouldn't have to!' " Apparently, that is your mentality.

But you, whose shallow perceptions are laced with bursts of meanness and contempt for others, will no doubt continue as a hot media product and a darling of the religious conservatives. "A positive voice for positive values without equal in our time," gushed the Rev. Robert Schuller.

What can we draw from all this? That family relationships are exceedingly complicated and often painful. That maintaining true "family values" is not a matter simply of attending church, being heterosexual and mouthing platitudes, but demands humility, resiliency and deep compassion. That religious texts like the Bible can provide inspiring lessons in the hands of sincere teachers and also can be used as clubs by the cynical and ambitious.

And finally, that the "Dr. Laura" show typifies the dangerous hypocrisy of those who build profitable and politically potent empires on the basis of claiming a monopoly on simplistic answers to complex problems. The guilt and shame they induce in those who might resist their nostrums is loathsome, made more so when they themselves so casually ignore them.


(See Fair Use Notice)

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Making CBSs of Themselves

CBS used to be "The Tiffany Network." It was the great broadcast entity. William S. Paley wanted it to be classy and dignified, informing and entertaining America, something he could be proud of when he went to cocktail parties and sipped martinis with his gazillionaire friends. So it was for many years. Not anymore.

Survivor #5 - Thailand - just concluded with a used car salesman and former soft-core porn star winning the million bucks. He gets to spend it seeking comfort from troubles with his wife - also an ex-porn star - who, according to the New York Post, "has been ordered to undertake six months of anger-management counseling to settle spousal abuse charges, authorities said Thursday. Charmaine Heidik has told authorities she plans to divorce her husband after three stormy years of marriage. But the judge ordered her to stay 100 yards away from her husband." How nice.

Then comes this fun story from the New York Daily News...
A couple is suing CBS after taking part in the pilot of a new reality game show in which they agreed to reenact "a Native American rite-of-passage, wherein a young man was pierced twice through his [pectorals] with a pole and left suspended," claims a lawsuit filed in California. (The late Richard Harris famously simulated the chilling ritual in the 1970 movie "A Man Called Horse.")
The show, entitled "Culture Shock," pits couples against each other. In this case, contestant Jill Mouser allowed herself to be strapped into something called a "Harness of Pain."

According to papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this week, Mouser was suspended in the contraption by her partner, Marcus Russell.

The device did not actually pierce her, but she was in so much pain paramedics had to inject her with morphine and drive her to the hospital, reports

The couple's lawyer, Brian Grossman, told us Mouser suffered "a herniated disc in her back" - and that the "pain and suffering" effectively ended their five-year relationship.

Also named in the suit is the show's production company, Rocket Science Laboratories, which was sued in March by another couple who claimed they were defamed on the Rocket-Fox reality show, "Temptation Island."
A CBS rep referred us to a spokesman at Rocket Science, who didn't return a call.

Do these execs at CBS have no conscience at all?
How do they look in the mirror or sleep at night??
Aren't there other ways to make a lot of money on TV?

Shame on them.


Ya Got to Have Friends?

Wow, what a surprise! After everyone in the world having concluded that the TV show Friends would end after wrapping-up the '02-'03 season - its eighth on the air - NBC announced this week that the cast has signed on for a ninth season, after all.

I'm not exactly sure when the show "jumped the shark" for me, but I gave up on it a couple of years ago. It was so good, so well written and acted, I just couldn't bear to see it disintegrate. Even after a reported revival of good writing after a terribly written '00-'01 season, I had no patience for the show the one or two times I peaked in. I'd rather just read a book or go for a walk.

And the cast changing their minds about coming back for one more...
What a shock!! $22 million for each cast member for 22 weeks of work. Cast members who really have not had any great success in movies or anywhere else. Nice gig, why bail?

Hopefully, they can end on a semi-high note, without wringing every last bit of creativity out of it...but, in the TV biz, I wouldn't bet on it.