Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rein in the TV “Experts”

Mass killings, infanticide, torture, robberies with shootings, hijackings, cruelty to animals, you name it and the TV “experts” will be almost slobbering over their fashionable outfits for a place at the table. Time to dig in, friends, because we are going to hear some of the most ridiculous reasoning known to man or woman, for that matter. Call’em “doctor” and they’ve got to know what they’re spouting forth on, don’t they? Oh, no, they might not?

Tell me, have you heard the shooting-from-the-hip speculation about the incredible tragedy in Isla Vista, California? This guy was called everything from narcissistic to, but of course, someone harboring latent homosexual tendencies. Ah, yes, that’s why he hated woman because all gay men, out or not, hate women. Sorry, but I didn’t get that memo and I’ll have to run this by all the gay men I know. It might make for pretty interesting conversation.

The “expert” who mouthed this unfounded opinion has what type of experience in their background? Okay, let’s get right to the point and let me ask the question that should be on all your minds: Is this person a psychologist and are they licensed to practice in any state? Gee, I’d sure love to know what their actual background is and how they came to be so knowledgeable about latent homosexual tendencies and criminality toward women. We do know, of course, that having a degree in school administration, sociology and lots of other disciplines awards you the honorific “doctor” before your name. Too bad they don’t say “Doctor of…(what).”

What is the effect of espousing this hogwash? How about fueling the fires of people who were just waiting to hear this as “expert validation” of their beliefs. Do we need to look forward to more brutality against anyone who is openly gay? Are some young toughs going to take it upon themselves to be the defenders of women and feel they have an obligation to roam the streets looking for prey? You bet there will be some of them.

Do we really need some irresponsible, time-grabbing TV slump to stir up this fire just so they can get their four minutes on the tube? They’ll say anything you ask them to just so they can get up there with their nicely combed hair and careful make-up (guys included here). How low can you go?

Ah, yes, you may have written one mass market book on something psychological, so you must be an expert on just about anything thrown your way. Forgot that. That is included in which of the personality disorders, doc? Hmm, I can think of one or two, but I think you already know that because you just may have a DSM around somewhere to give that appropriate professional look to your home or office. Nice little coffee table book, isn’t it? And it makes for such wonderful cocktail party conversation.

I guess we in the field haven’t done a very good job of helping people understand that we don’t go around 24-hours a day analyzing everything anyone says or does. A man seated on a plane next to me recently, once he found out I was a psychologist, wanted me to tell him about himself. I told him I’m just traveling like he was and I don’t engage in that type of activity in my free time. But what he really wanted to know, I found out, was how to approach the subject of his sister’s cancer and he didn’t know how.  The first request had just been an ice breaker to get to the real concerns he had and how upset he was about the cancer diagnosis which came out of nowhere. We did talk a bit, but it certainly wasn’t therapy and I tried very hard to allay any thoughts that I felt I was an expert and he had to sit at my knee to receive my incredible font of knowledge pouring forth into his dear little ears.

No, we can’t do much about these hacks. There are too many hours that require content and if dragging out dismal old theories espoused by people who just love to call themselves “doctor” is needed, so be it. At least I’m sure that’s how the bookers feel.  But we don’t have to believe what they’re saying and that’s where all of us come in. No, I’m not talking about psychologists but anyone who watches TV or goes on the internet to get their news. Let’s not make gods of these boobs. There are already far too many in the world and we don’t need to add any more.