1. taikonotaiko says

    I have held a special loathing for Dr Phil (is that him? I am not in the USA so he has no TV presence here) ever since I found an article on his site that blamed the victims of emotional abuse. Considering some of those reading it might have been emotionally abused as children, it doesn’t seem fair to say that it’s their own fault for not standing up to their abusers. The guy is scum.

  2. stroppy says

    Phil’s mansion went up for sale not long ago. Pictures on the web.

    Looks nice on the outside, but inside… As a reflection of the interior of his mind, it’s disturbing. Actually nauseating.

  3. janicot says

    Aren’t those the Smothers brothers? I used to have a copy of their video showing how to do yoyo tricks. I’m almost sure that’s them.

  4. stroppy says

    They are doctors chosen by Oprah to fill influential show biz platforms ripe for quacking. And now they advise Trump.

  5. stroppy says

    (Oprah is a shameless self-promoter adored by millions.
    “I’m not religious, I just do whatever Oprah tells me to do.”
    Liz Lemon, 30 Rock)

  6. dorght says

    Does Phil McGraw flaunt convention by using the Dr. honorific here in the US? He has a PhD but isn’t licensed in any state to practice psychology. In the US I thought that using Dr. outside of academia or their immediate practice was reserved for MDs and DOs. Is there anything more definitive about this rather than just my fuzzy observations?

  7. says


    In the US I thought that using Dr. outside of academia or their immediate practice was reserved for MDs and DOs. Is there anything more definitive about this rather than just my fuzzy observations?

    it’s not reserved for MDs/DOs in any official way. It’s common practice, but there aren’t any real penalties for calling yourself a doctor when you have a PhD. Also, a non-physician taking on the “Dr _____” label is more common among media personalities to the point where it’s considered a trend. “Dr. Laura” had a radio show using that name without being a physician (IIRC). Others have done it as well.

  8. chigau (違う) says

    janicot #6
    Bite your tongue, er, fingers.
    The Smothers Brothers were brilliant comedians, these two are just clowns.

  9. microraptor says

    One of my coworkers watches both of them religiously. She gets the majority of her medical advice from Oz.

    She started using essential oils in place of real cleaning products, so now we all have to clean everything after she “cleans.”

  10. christoph says

    @ Crip Dyke, # 10: I remember some dialogue from a movie years ago (can’t remember the name) in which the main character was explaining to someone that he had a PhD, not an MD degree. The person said, “So, not a real doctor?” The reply was, ‘That’s right-the fake kind.”

  11. wzrd1 says

    Heh, I remember when pharmacists were referred to with the honorific of doctor.

    As for Phil, a psychologist who’s been reliably wrong in nearly every public viewing, I shudder to consider what any patients of his went through!

    Oz, alas, Turkey won’t take him back. Oz backed down first, after nice folks like me asked him to volunteer his grandchildren for that 2 -3 percent death toll in those luscious school opportunities. He immediately backed down.
    I suspect Phil backed down out of concern that he’d be charged with practicing idiocy without a Trump license. Of course, it also could’ve been due to his former friends and neighbors joining in in the inevitable death threats that I’m quite certain swiftly followed his comments. Of course, these days, Fred Rogers would get death threats just for saying good morning on the air…

  12. says

    I have long been in awe of the ability of “Dr. Phil” to get by with facile platitudes and an earnest expression on his face. But I found him fairly easy to avoid and ignore (although I enjoyed his being devoured by a monster on “The Simpsons”; I suspect he didn’t suspect he was being mocked). Unfortunately, Dr. Oz is broadcast on the region’s most popular news station and his over-promoted mug keeps appearing on the screen during the plugs for the network’s shows. Ugh. And now he’s being put forward as the ideal source of coronavirus information. Pray tell, Oz, are you going to have any mediums or seers provide us with vital information from the “other side”? He revolts me.

  13. wzrd1 says

    @anthonybarcellos, I’ve successfully avoided Phil, Oz, turned the channel on the one occasion I was watching when he called his witch doctor to wave his magic hands over a patient.
    I did put in a request to Turkey for them to take him back, but they declined – loudly.

  14. Matt G says

    There was a study published in Nature (I think) several years back in which researchers took five shows’ worth of claims made by Oz. Can’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like: 30% supported by evidence, 50% not enough evidence either way, and 20% contradicted by evidence. A former colleague had a friend who was an intern for Oz. She just had to find enough material to fill a show, it didn’t have to be well supported.

  15. HidariMak says

    #8 Dorght — You might be surprised by how many PhDs there are, with medical statements from many of them to be filed under “Piled higher and Deeper”. They even offer PhDs in interpretive dance, last I’d heard.

  16. chuckonpiggott says

    I had a coworker whose wife was a nurse practitioner. She was an instructor at George Mason U and was a Dr of Nursing Practice. She was a nurse who could then use the honorific Dr.

  17. microraptor says

    @14: I have no idea. I honestly am frightened by the thought of what her house is probably like.

  18. numerobis says

    wzrd1: maybe cool it with the sending the American citizen “home” language? It’s pretty fucking offensive.

  19. nematoady says

    @9, @10. Ohhhh, this one always gets me going.
    “Doctor” is Latin for “Teacher.” it has NOTHING to do with medicine. It’s the same word root as in the word “doctrine.”
    So Ph.D.’s are real doctors. M.D.s formally aren’t, unless they teach in a medical school.
    Examples: In France, a medical practitioner is a “medecin” while a Ph.D. is “Docteur.” Columbia University’s medical school is the “College of Physicians and Surgeons” not “College of Doctors”.
    When someone insists on being called “Doctor” the correct reply is:
    “You’re a doctor? Then where’s your thesis?”

    The flim-flam quacks of the early 19th century (not unlike Dr. Phil) started calling themselves “Doctor” as a way of puffing themselves up to the general public, and that usage took hold.
    To be fair, becoming a specialist in medicine these days is difficult and requires a great degree of training, and if the practitioner spends a lot of time explaining what’s wrong to a patient, that certainly counts as teaching and deserves the title “Doctor.”

    But saying that Ph.D.s are “fake” doctors is insulting, and demeans the profession of learning, doing research, and teaching (though demeaning knowledge is a long-time practice in the U.S.); it’s a Republican thing to do.

  20. JustaTech says

    @nematoady: That’s why the protected term for a medical doctor is “physician”. Only an MD or DO can be a physician (DOs being basically the same as MDs for the past ~50 years in the US; in other countries this is different).

    I thought, and I could be totally wrong, that the title for someone with a PhD in Germany is Professor, even if they don’t teach, so if you have an MD and a PhD you’re Herr/Frau Doktor Professor. Much clearer.

  21. wzrd1 says

    @ numerobis, I forgot that my age old joke in regards to myself isn’t well established here.
    It involves either donating my body to science or the US being forced to accept me back.
    The punchline being, “We don’t accept joke gifts”.
    My apologies for the offense, my humor tends to the dark side and references objectionable behavior of my fellow citizens.
    But, that has made me realize, the US Department of State does not have any sort of sense of humor…