The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called “repulsive.”
The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned “My Sweet Little Habib”; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.
The site is credited to and includes many photographs of Deryk Schlessinger, the 21-year-old son of the talk radio personality known simply as Dr. Laura. Broadcast locally on 570 KNRS, “Family Values Talk Radio,” the former family counselor spends three hours daily taking calls and offering advice on morals, ethics and values. She broadcast a show from Fort Douglas, in Salt Lake City, last week.
…”Yes . . . F—ING Yes!!!” said one blog entry on the Schlessinger site. “I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don’t.”
…The site indicated Schlessinger’s team has survived numerous mortar, rocket and roadside bomb attacks. It also included several graphic cartoons. In one of the stick drawings, a top-hatted man laughs as he rapes a bound and bleeding woman in front of her family. In another depiction, a man forces a boy to perform oral sex at knifepoint as the child’s mother pleads for her son’s life.
It’s unclear who created the cartoons, but Army spokesman Robert Tallman said the drawings “are repulsive and not anywhere near being acceptable,” for a soldier’s personal Web page.
The Tribune learned of the Web page earlier this week from a former schoolmate of Deryk Schlessinger. Army officials said they were unaware of the site until alerted to its presence by the newspaper Thursday.
For someone who hands out family advice like she does, Laura Schlessinger seems to have some pretty twisted familial relationships.
Back in 2002 her mother was found dead in her apartment, having expired some two months prior to being found by police after a neighbor called out of concern over not having seen the 77 year old woman for weeks. Laura issued a rather terse response to news of her mother’s death that spoke volumes in spite of its brevity.
I am horrified by the tragic circumstances of my mother’s death, and so sad to learn that she died as she chose to live — alone and isolated. My mother shut all her family out of her life over the years, though we made several futile attempts to stay connected. May God rest her soul.
That just scratches the surface on the family issues of this “family values” maven.
On her radio show, she advocates the basic “family values” — no sex outside of marriage, moms shouldn’t work, divorce is wrong, abortion is wrong, living together without marriage is wrong, getting married too young is wrong and foolish, a marriage without children is hardly a marriage at all, homosexuality is destructive and “a biological error”, gay marriage is wrong, girls should not dress like “sluts”, and the family unit is of paramount importance.
Her own “family unit” has been dysfunctional at best. She describes her childhood as “difficult,” due to the rocky, “unloving” marriage between her father, a Jewish US citizen, and her mother, an Italian Catholic war bride. They later divorced. Schlessenger never got along with her father, and she and her mother had been estranged for at least 14 years before her mother’s odd death in 2002. (Her partially decomposed corpse had been on the floor of her apartment for several weeks before being discovered, and police initially suspected foul play.) Schlessinger has also been estranged from her sister since the mid-1970s, and has reportedly told friends she is an only child. She says it was her family that shunned her, not the other way around. “My door is open”, Schlessinger has said, on those rare occasions when she mentions her sister. On her show, however, she has often advised listeners to break off contact with troublesome family members. “I love shunning”, she says. “It reminds people they have an obligation to others”.
Dysfunctional would be an understatement, but that wouldn’t make her much different than, say, Tom Delay or Newt Gingrich.
When it comes to her son, you can’t help but wonder how well Laura did at passing on her “values” to him. Back in 2004, he was going into business opening a hookah bar. And here he is at the 2004 Republican convention, making mom proud, kicking some young woman in the head.
Hmm. DIstant relationship with mother, raised an apparently disturbed son. This from a woman whose many famous quotes inlcude:
“The people and circumstances around me do not make me what I am, they reveal who I am” *
“Children are our second chance to have a great parent-child relationship” *
Boys are slobs… One reason is that mothers let them get away with it. Mothers are notorious for spoiling male children. **
Decent responsible parents are a royal pain: that’s how you know when you have them [such parents]. **
Men are very easy: You treat them well, and they behave right. You don’t treat them well, and they don’t behave right. **
The worst thing is the world is a defensive my-kid-can’t-do-anything-wrong parent. **
That last quote may be the kicker, because Schlessinger has yet to speak about her son’s MySpace page. And, according to all she’s said about parenting she probably should speak up. Because, after all, first and foremost she is her kid’s mom.
56-year-old Schlessinger says her passion for children and their welfare was ushered in by the birth of her son Deryk in 1985. Parenthood vastly changed Schlessinger’s political and personal perspectives, she says. The quiet reverence with which she addresses this subject leaves few questions about her dedication to her own child. She says becoming a parent is a pivotal event for most.
“It’s probably the first and foremost thing, outside of marriage, to learn to be unselfish. To learn to live for something outside of yourself and your own gratification.”
Schlessinger daily identifies her show’s staff by name and job description and then finishes by saying, “I’m Laura Schlessinger, and I am my kid’s mom.”
This self-defined role has caught on with many American parents and the Web site sells a slew of “I am my kid’s mom” and “I am my kid’s dad” T-shirts and coffee mugs. And Schlessinger emphasizes the most important part of truly being your kid’s parent is simply in showing up.
“(The most important thing is) that parents be there,” she says emphatically. “Really. More important than where they live or what car they have or how much the bank account is or how happy the parents are, the kids just want their parents there.”
Actually, given the kind of verbal bullying she dishes out on her radio show, maybe the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree at all.