Sunday, December 26, 2004

The New Republic Online: Daddy Knows [Dr. Phil == Dr. Evil]

The New Republic Online: Daddy Knows [Dr. Phil == Dr. Evil] "Since launching his daytime talk show two years ago, Phillip C. McGraw--Oklahoma native, Texas transplant, and self-described "country boy"--has taken the American psyche by storm. His syndicated program is watched by an estimated 6.6 million viewers. (Only Queen Oprah, his mentor, ranks higher in the pantheon of talk-show gods.) CBS/LandovIn the past five years, five of his books have hit number one on The New York Times best-seller list. He publishes an online newsletter, writes a monthly column for O magazine, and has done celebrity endorsements for weight-loss products. When he goes on speaking tours, tens of thousands of fans, mostly women, often pay upward of $100 apiece to bear witness. He is greeted like a rock star; gals have been known to mail him their undergarments. In 2001, People magazine named him one of its sexiest people--quite an achievement for a lumbering, middle-aged bald guy with a silly moustache. The following year, he made the magazine's list of "25 Most Intriguing People" as well as Barbara Walters's list of the "Ten Most Fascinating People." In the midst of this year's presidential race, McGraw scored sit-downs with both President Bush and challenger John Kerry (and their wives, of course) to discuss the joys and horrors of modern parenting. Around the same time, in an arguably more impressive display of clout, McGraw made a guest appearance on "Sesame Street" with his puppet alter ego, Dr. Feel. If having a Muppet created in your own image doesn't signal cultural dominance in America, what does?
But, whatever else they achieve, Dr. Phil's grand interventions sell the idea that what we all really need is a rich, well-connected fairy godfather to swoop in, reorder our lives, and keep us in line--perhaps not the best message for most adults to internalize."

Looks like TNR has a new Web site strategy; you can now download entire issues in pdf.

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