I accept that Dr. Phil exists, and thrives, in an America that can reelect the president it reelected (and don't tell me W.'s approval rating is down -- nothing's more American that electing someone who doesn't deserve it and then getting down on him when you refuse to take responsibility for your choice). And what's more Bush-like, after all, than suggesting a stick-it-out-and-learn-to-love-again-strategy to a loveless married couple of unadventurous scaredy cats that admits they only got together out of convenience in the first place. But what drives me batty about Dr. Phil--and I actually have stopped watching him to nurture my rage; I only ocassionally catch him now when a certain psych Ph.D. forces me to watch with her--is his son, Jay. Jay McGraw, author of books meant to mindfuck teens out of bullying, overeating, and just generally being "Bad," is the Youth Example: the oh-so-hip voice of reason that can speak to kids at their level about how to get through life in this terribly complicated, sense-bereft country that his parents have helped build, you know? The question is: What qualitative behavorial decision has Dr. Phil Jr. made now that we kids should follow? Why don't just get rich and famous off your dad's ability to manipulate red-state America. And don't just marry a Playboy playmate who's latest film appearance was a movie called "Nudity Required." Marry one of a set of identical triplet playmates who apparently don't mind "bad-touching" each other onscreen for money. Who says America's in trouble when you can write a book about child psychology without a Ph.D., ride the coattails of your celebrity father, and then buy yourself a shiny new girl-robot (with two anatomically identical backups to replace her if the first one, um, breaks) with which to indulge all your American Dream fantasies? That, my friends--not a feeling of "warmth" or "wholeness" or "community"--is what stopping the bullyin' and bingin' will get ya. So get on the train. Stop telling Jimmy and Johnny they're fat and stupid. Get writin'. Move to L.A. And by all means, when Hef invites you to the grotto for a little R&R after a gratis "motivation talk," do NOT say no.
Bonus *glassShallot game: Which one of these new toys is Jay's? (Answer below)
(Answer: Does it matter?)