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I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Phil (2009)

I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Phil (2009)

©2009 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2009). I do not like thee, Dr. Phil. Unpublished short essay.






I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Phil

By Dallas Denny


I do not like thee, Dr. Fell

The reasons why, I cannot tell

But this I know, and know full well

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell

—Nursery rhyme written by the British poet Tom Brown in 1680


I despite the Oprah  protégé and television talk show host Dr. Phil. He just rubs me the wrong way.

When I read of his numerous ethical violations as a licensed psychologist, I was  predisposed to dislike him—in part because I am myself trained in psychology and abhor those who violate the trust of patients, in part because of the nature of the unethical things he did.

I dislike him because, under Oprah’s tutelage and with her seal of approval, he became an overnight sensation—not because of what he did or who he was, but as the focus of a sudden cult of personality.

One of the unfortunalities (is that word?) of moden-day America is people can be famous for being famous— and that’s just what Phil is.

Perhaps it’s the American analog of royalty, which results in fame due to accident of birth.

Perhaps it’s our desire for heroes in an age in which so many heroes disappoint.

Real heroes do something.

Davy Crockett was a hero. He wrote. He ran for and was elected to congress. He traveled to Texas and died at the Alamo.

And Phil? What did he do? He fooled around with the patients he had taken an oath to protect.


No wonder I don’t like him.