At the supermarket check out stand, I see that Dr. Phil’s wife is reportedly fed up with their marriage. Surprise! These so-called relationship experts are about as lucky in love (or lust), I suppose, as the head shrinks who make millions correcting the alleged (and very billable) psychic disorders of others. My late cousin once worked for a psychiatrist in Santa Rosa, who defined his job to her as “a paid friend.” Dr. Phil may be paying for “professional” advice for himself shortly. And did radio's reigning queen of morality, Dr. Laura, not also once suffer a set back or two in the boudoir of life?
It’s all about entertainment. Even PBS (Pledge Break Society) has turned itself into just another midway of life-advice expects, some of whom, who knows, may be only a few convictions short of malpractice. And on afternoon television, of which over the years I have watched a collective total of maybe an hour, you can witness, among other sordid modern-day spectacles, teenagers cheering on teenage infidelities. Adultery, once shunned, is now a spectator sport. It sells products, mind you.
San Francisco, of all places, gave birth to talk show lunatic Michael Savage, a theoretically brilliant Berkeley educated man who veers way off course too often in his irrational outbursts of hate and intolerance. His most recent attack was charging autistic kids with the crime of impersonating autistic kids. I’ve listened to many talk hosts from all ends of the polarized spectrum; Not even the best among them is intellectually honest all the time. The ratings war and job security drive them all now and then, I am sure, to the feigned advocacy of extreme positrons in order to jack up flat tire ratings.
We seek out the counsel of “experts” in hours of need — or for the chance to be seen by millions letting all of our problems hang out — between commercial breaks — on some silly and mindless TV program. And then some of us are genuinely in pain and close to the edge, and sadly vulnerable to another magic remedy offered by another self-proclaimed guru. No, the snake oil salesman never left town, did he? But America seems to have talked itself into one gigantic fit of collective depression. It’s hip to be manic! Hip to work out your differences with others on a television set before a fake audience.
Dr. Phil: go take a pill.
Due Next: Showbiz David’s Inaugural Ring of Shame Awards