It's been said that a political gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Dr. Laura Schlessinger, despite not being a politician, has accomplished something similar this week - though in her case, it was mostly intentional.
The scandal du jour is, of course, the titillating tale of soon-to-be-ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer's princely romp with some of New York's finest prostitutes. One would never know from his behavior that he had a perfectly attractive blond wife at home, to say nothing of a family of children ostensibly in his care.
So, the news shows deal with the news; and the views shows deal with the views. Tuesday's edition of the Today show dealt with the fascinating topic of "Why Men Cheat," and who should be invited to appear but Dr. Laura, who covers just this topic daily on her radio show.
According to the transcript, her observation was as follows:
Men need validation. When they come into the world they are born of women and getting their validation from mommy is the beginning of needing it from a woman. And when the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like a hero, he's very susceptible to the charms of some other woman making him feel what he needs. And these days women don't spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give a man what they need.
Now, as the good doctor hastened to point out on her blog, "I was not talking specifically about the governor of New York's current alleged problems with money transfers and a $5,000 an hour call-girl ring." Nevertheless, after all but turning white and reaching for the smelling-salts, all the leading ladies of the commentariat began to decry the horror of hearing that, as the Huffington Post put it, "Dr. Laura Blames Spitzer's Wife."
Who knows what was actually going through Dr. Laura's head at the moment she made that statement? Obviously she was not speaking personally of the specific private actions of Mrs. Silda Spitzer over the past two decades or so of her marriage; few if any of us can do that, and none ought to. But intentionally or not, Dr. Laura made an observation that is of such blinding truth, such obvious truth, it's no wonder that the feminists wilted in its glare.
According to Dr. Laura, husbands seem to have some sort of delusional mindset that their wife ought to be, let us say, accommodating in bed; and when they aren't, they get huffy and may be inclined to stray. Shock! Horror!
What are we to think? Meredith Vieira, hostess of Today, is reportedly married (for some decades, no less); are we to think that this proclivity of men has never crossed her mind? Do we not hear the constant refrain "men are animals" coming from the bra-burners and "men are only interested in one thing" coming from the women's liberationists? What, pray tell, might they be referring to?
If a woman truly believes that she needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle and she is happy to go it on her own without a man, that's her business. But if, as a free, independent adult, she chooses to enter into a marriage relationship, then it hardly takes the brains that God gave geese to understand that her husband may have certain, eh, expectations of her - just as she has certain expectations, perhaps in different areas, of him.
Not to discuss these before marriage is foolish in the extreme; not to recognize them afterwards is idiotic. If these female commentators that so many millions watch each day are truly such fools as to be so stunningly ignorant of the most basic truths about men, no wonder our divorce rate is the highest in recorded history.
But this reaction is not only the opposite of objective reality, it denies the foundational principle of feminism itself: namely, the independence and equality (if not superiority) of the woman.
Once upon a time, so the feminists daily remind us, women were looked upon as chattel - property, owned and for the use of whatever male was sufficiently wealthy and powerful as to obtain, maintain, and retain them. Daughters were married off by permission (if not arrangement) of their fathers, having little if any personal say in the matter. At any time, a lost battle or lost war might result in an abrupt change of spouse, again without the women having much influence on events.
But today, women are recognized as fully the equal of the man, and entitled to all the same rights. Women choose their own husbands (or, increasingly, simple bedmates); have children on their own as Murphy Brown so famously illustrated; and certainly are able to have successful careers. Insofar as they enter into a marriage, it is as a partnership between equals, freely chosen.
How then can wives avoid responsibility for what becomes of their partnership? If a business partnership fails, then both partners are to blame - not necessarily equally, but at least to some degree. Even if one partner is committing fraud and the other isn't, the non-fraudulent partner is still guilty, at the least, of lack of due diligence.
So it is with marriage, and Dr. Laura hit the nail spang on the head when she said so: if a man is satisfied at home, that doesn't make it impossible that he'll stray, but surely it makes it far less likely and far less frequent. That being so, if a husband does stray, how can it be unreasonable to at least consider what the wife might have done via contributory negligence?
Today's popular culture demands that the "wronged wife" always be considered to be as pure as the driven snow, the unsullied victim of evil and debauched Man. How is this view any different from the "shrinking violet" view of women of the Victorian era, so long the target of feminist scorn, where pure and spotless Ladies were in need of protection, guidance, and sheltering by strong Gentlemen who were equipped to handle the rough bits of life, while the Ladies sat demurely at home?
With rights come responsibilities. Women have demanded their rights of independence as intelligent human beings; that's fine and proper. But if you wish to claim your individual rights, you have to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions, and at least share the blame when things go south.
Dr. Laura says this every day to her listening audience of millions. Maybe more people should listen to her; they and their spouses might be happier, and divorce lawyers and hookers poorer.