Saturday, June 08, 2024

Mr. McGraw

Tweeter asks an important question, easily answered:

This tweeter, with a similar view of Dr. Phil McGraw, consciously or not is on to something:

The answer to "why does anyone care what Dr. Phil thinks about anything?" can be discerned by the antics of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose both malice and savviness are underappreciated.  When Greene's opportunity to question Dr. Anthony Fauci came around

 the Georgia Republican refused to call Fauci “doctor” and instead referred to him as “Mr. Fauci.”

 “Do you think that’s appropriate? Do the American people deserve to be abused like that, Mr. Fauci, because you’re not ‘Dr.,’ you’re ‘Mr. Fauci’ in my few minutes,” she said, before adding, “No, I don’t need your answer."


"You're not 'Dr.', you're "Mr. Fauci'" asserted the congresswoman, who understands how to undermine the credibility of a witness she loathes (and how to raise campaign cash). 

Fauci is a real-life, educated doctor who was testifying before the House Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. (Say that three times fast.). Before retiring, he was head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and was public health spokesman for the federal government under President Trump and chief medical adviser for President Biden.

Whatever controversies pertain to Fauci, he arguably is singularly qualified to speak of Covid-19 and was doing so as an expert in immunology and public health. Thus, he was legitimately referred to as "Dr. Fauci." Nonetheless, failure to show enhanced respect is not a felony, nor is characterizing him as "Mr. Fauci."

Greene's motivation was both to vent her hatred to him and to erode his cache. As a "doctor," Fauci is owed respect and the benefit of the doubt in his area of expertise. As "Mr.," he's merely the guy down the street, at the home improvement store on a Saturday morning, or at the end of the bar who always has an opinion about everything,. Think Cheers' Cliff Clavin without the postal uniform.

And yet, when it comes to Dr. Phil McGraw, tweeters on the left, as well as virtually everyone else, refers to the bloviator as "Dr. Phil,"  whatever he's opining about.  A trained psychologist and Biden hater, McGraw has no special knowledge of legal, political or cultural matters. In those contexts, he is best referred to as "Mr. McGraw" or "Phil," though he'd undoubtedly prefer the latter. 

Worse yet, McGraw has come to be known less as "Dr. McGraw" than as "Dr. Phil," a double gift. He is accorded not only the honorific of "Dr.," but the easy familiarity of "Phil." We're expected not only to respect the doctor but like him personally as the good friend Phil.

As with Anthony Fauci or anyone else, "Mr." is not an insult.  But in contrast to Dr. Fauci, Dr. McGraw does not confine his opinions to an area of his expertise. He has no particular insight into the Biden presidency or a future Trump presidency, which he would like to see. Whenever he speaks of matters outside of psychology, he should not be referred to as "Dr. Phil," an appellation he has not earned and does not deserve.

No comments:

This "R" Stands for More than "Reprehensible"

He's not insane but if Jim Steinman was right that "two out of three ain't bad," three out of four is quite good. Th...