Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dr. Phil

I came home the other day and my wife was watching the Dr. Phil program. She'd actually TIVOed this one particular episode so she'd be sure to see it. She invited me to watch it with her; I made a face and left the room.

After the show she sought me out and asked me point blank why it was that I didn't like Dr. Phil. You know, I had to think about it for awhile before I could construct a cogent answer but this is it:

Dr. Phil is a psychologist. Nothing wrong with psychologists - they make valuable contributions to society.

But psychology isn't like medicine. Heck, it isn't even really like psychiatry; psychology is much more 'art' than 'science'. Basically it's opinion. It may be informed opinion or educated opinion but - push comes to shove - it's opinion.

Dr. Phil doesn't present it like that.

The way he talks you would think he was telling you 'facts' rather than his opinions. Maybe informed opinions or educated opinions but - push comes to shove - still just opinions.

It strikes me as egotistical and condescending.

It strikes me very much like those fundamentalist evangelical preachers who present things as facts that really are just opinions; maybe informed opinions or educated opinions but - push comes to shove - just opinions.

Now, there are lots of people who don't like subtleties, don't like nuance, aren't comfortable with grey areas. There are lots of people who like things to be presented to them as certainties even when they're not - that's why fundamentalist evangelical preachers and people like Dr. Phil find audiences. Because there are lots of people who like to be told things that way.

But for many people - like me - it doesn't take very much of that to become a burr up our butts.

So much so that we may tune out what is being said - even when the opinions being expressed might agree with our own opinions. We don't want to be like the person doing it - egotistical and condescending - even if we happen to agree with them.

That's why I don't care very much for Dr. Phil - he strikes me as being just like one of those preachers who don't know the difference between what they believe and what is provable reality.

And they can be dangerous.

And so, too, can Dr. Phil be dangerous - even when he's right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always thought DR. Phil was a quack.

Dangerous indeed.

keep shinin'

jerm :)