Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oprah's Greatest Mistake-Dr Phil

"This guy Fousesquawk has some serious issues, Dr Phil"

In case you haven't noticed, Dr Phil (McGraw) is back in the news again (When isn't he?) The self-agrandizing TV psychiatrist recently had a sit-down with troubled singer, Britney Spears-and promptly shared his diagnosis with the world. Even though Ms Spears seems determined to share her breakdown with the public, the question still remains about the ethics of Dr Phil's public comments.

This is not the first time that McGraw has counseled a celebrity and then gone public. A couple of years back, TV celebrity show host Pat O'Brian got caught making inappropriate,late-night drunken phone calls to women. Before O'Brian could even hang up the phone, Dr Phil was on the scene counseling O'Brian and going public with his findings.

Whatever happened to doctor-patient privacy?

Dr Phil burst on the scene in the 1990s as a result of his assistance to Oprah Winfrey in Texas when she was being sued by a bunch of cattle farmers for bad-mouthing beef. Oprah had to go to Texas personally for extended periods. She was so impressed by the long, tall Texan that she gave him a weekly spot on her TV show in Chicago. Once a week, Dr Phil would appear on the show and share his wisdom with troubled members of the audience who were having family problems. Next thing we knew, Phil was in Hollywood with his own show, "getting Real with Dr Phil", or something like that. As if that isn't enough, his wife appears on the show giving advice to women while son, Jay is running around giving advice to teenagers. It seems everybody but the family dog has their own gig now.

Not content with having his own TV show, McGraw works hard to promote himself as a celebrity. Like Jesse Jackson, he seems to have a nose for public trainwrecks, even inserting himself into the Natalie Holloway disappearance in Aruba by meeting with the Kalpoe brothers.

I have caught segments of McGraw's TV show since my wife used to watch it regularly. While his advice seems to make good sense, it strikes me that this guy has the perfect answer for everything. In other words, he is a know-it-all. Like Dr Laura, he can listen to a problem for 30 seconds and immediately hand out the solution. Folks, one thing I have learned in life: No one knows it all.

To sum it all up, there is something unseemly about a mental health professional using his profession and practice to promote himself while violating the confidence of public figures, all for the sake of his own publicity.

Hopefully, this guy's star will burn out quickly.


Anonymous said...

You just barely scratched the surface as to what a windbag Dr. Phil is. I actually used to watch his show until it occured to me that it was pure schadenfreude. I enjoyed him telling people things that were so obvious, but they were too stupid to figure it out for themselves. It really appeals to the basest instincts of us human beings, as we like to watch people screw up so we can say, "Man, I'm glad I'm not THAT guy!"

Once I realized this, I felt pretty lousy about it and can't watch his show without shouting a "Oh, come on!" (I don't watch him, but sometimes my inlaws have it on.)

I actually work this whole concept into my lesson plans. This pleasure in other people's errors also explains where tragedies come from. However, in the case of something like Hamlet, we see a great man filled with potential throw it all away, and there is a lesson learned. The only lesson from Dr. Phil is, "Don't be stupid like this person that I have on right now."

Don't even get me started on Oprah. She's been pushing woo-woo science and philosophy (like "The Bible Code" and "psychic" con-men like John Edward) for years now. It should come as no suprise that she'd promote a hack like this guy.

Can you tell that I don't like Dr. Phil?

Gary Fouse said...

I guess I did go kind of easy on old Phil. I really have a problem with these characters who turn their counseling into entertainment. But, as you said in another comment, it's a free country.