Loyalty to a former boss is certainly commendable, but for columnist Steve Smith to compare Dr. Laura Schlessinger's recent "eleven n-word rant" to that of the legendary social critic and humorist Lenny Bruce boggles the imagination ("City Life: Another lesson learned," Aug. 17). Superficially there is a relationship, because Lenny was given to including all the racial epithets in his shtick — we found a Dustin Hoffman rendition of the famous and profane Lenny doing stand-up on YouTube — with the express and stated purpose of softening their sting.
But in her radio show last week, Dr. Laura — who was reacting to a black female caller, in a troubled biracial marriage, where the n-word is regularly and, one assumes, hurtfully used — spoke in that tonal mix of the caustic and the imperious for which she's well known, repeating "n-bleep, n-bleep" over and over, louder and louder, to the mutual consternation of everyone listening. It didn't come off as racist, but rather, it was full of scorn for the poor woman. Missing completely was any shred of the empathy and compassion for which Lenny continues to be remembered.