EDITOR’S NOTE: Today National Review Online continues its new series of exclusive contributions from the most eminent figures of our age. Drawn from all the proverbial walks of life–even your own!–our contributors will reveal themselves as never before to you. The rich, the powerful, the influential, the famous, the really smart, the vulgar…they will all be here only at National Review Online. Celebrities, authors, journalists, TV stars, politicians, international statesmen, top CEOs, rock idols, will unbutton themselves solely for your pleasure. Imaginatively invented and edited by Alexander Rose, It’s All About Me’s contributors represent the grand comedy and faintly depressing tragedy that is American life as we know it.
‐Here’s an empowering story with a truly uplifting message. A man, a brilliant man, a nuanced man, a man with love in his heart and the caring soul of a Massachusetts machine-politician, rises to fame and fortune by hitching his wagon to an accomplished, sophisticated billionairess who controls a successful corporation, owns a dozen houses, and fearlessly says the wackiest things in public. What’s the formula here? Answer: Money is a spiritual thing, a nourishing and life-affirming focus-point that draws individuals closer to generate opportunities for verbal interactions, profitable investments, and positive internal dialogues. But that’s enough about Oprah and me.
‐I hate psychobabble, the “Five Simple Steps” kind you see “Dr.” Melfi discussing with Anthony Soprano, who once came on my award-winning, nationally syndicated show to talk about how he conquers anger-management issues with his friends by clipping them. Reality Check: With me, you either get it or you don’t. I keep things real smooth, as anyone who follows my One Step Plan to a Vast Disposable Income will tell you. All you need to purchase are my exclusive Dr. Phil books and motivational tapes outlining my 7 Tools of Self-Empowerment, the 10 Defining Moments of Self-Actualization, the 7 Critical Choices for Life-Fulfillment, and the 5 Factors for a Phenomenal Family. It’s as easy as that. I accept all major credit cards, but no cash, please.
‐I preach the gospel of common sense according to the Good Book of Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D, graduate of the school of hard knocks, student of the university of life, substitute-teacher at the community-college of transformative tough love. On my show and in my books–my newest bestseller, Family First, is on good airport bookstands now–I say, Get Real! Get Smart! Get Going!
‐I have no time for the touchy-feely pop psychology of Jerry Springer, whose segment, entitled “Hellraisin’ Hillbillies,” I watched as an object-lesson in personal spiritual awareness. A man, Travis, is caught in a “love triangle”–Note to Jerry: there are no triangles, only three-sided circles–with Tanika, a transvestite call girl, and her best friend, Fragrance, a stripper. He can’t choose between them, but little does Travis know, Tanika is secretly two-timing him with his brother, Wayne, and his other brother, Wayne! Tempers erupt and passions collide when Jerry reveals that Travis is bisexual and is also in love with Fragrance’s stepbrother. It was obvious to me, a trained expert in psychology, that there were some subtle psychological issues playing out here. But Jerry–who I admire and respect–assumed the role of the Permissive Parent and allowed these unruly half-adults with negative feelings of self-esteem and self-worth to throw chairs at one another while the audience laughed. I believe somebody needs to tell-it-like-it-is, and that’s where I come in: I turn the floodlights on a dilemma, quarterback the issue to completion, and sell hot dogs to my audience. Work the problem, not the person, that’s Dr. Phil’s motto. Travis, Tanika, Fragrance, Wayne, and Wayne need to unlearn their self-defeating internal Responses to Power, take my trademark Authenticity Litmus Test, and learn to “quilt,” a term I use to describe family interactions involving a common activity. Building a tree house together would be a great start. Not mixing liquor with firearms would be another.
‐In my capacity as America’s foremost behavioral psychologist I am often asked to provide strategic guidance. I told one recently married couple, who had become shut-ins, that they needed to kindle their relationship credo by venturing outside. “Never!,” they cried, “We will die here. There is nothing for us out there but shameful defeat.” Look, people, I said, life is managed, not cured. Stop with all the negative self-talk! Just because things seem a little depressing in the real world, I told “A. H.” and “E. B.”, doesn’t mean you need to arrange a mutual suicide pact for when the Russians storm the bunker. Why not have a romantic dinner amid the smoking ruins of the Reichstag and relive those happy days when you burnt it yourself, I suggested, or how about throwing a slumber party for those mischievous Goebbels kids? They looked joyously relieved, but I haven’t been able to follow-up with them for my next CBS Prime Time Special.
‐I only wish the same could be said of the Saudi royal family, where the 39 sons of King Fahd constantly fight over the remote control–and the world’s largest proven oil reserves. “Get real, damnit!”, I exclaimed to the king when I did a Dr. Phil “Saudi” special on Wahhabi TV, “You have strapped on a tool belt holding the power tools of parenting. Now drill some holes!” And then I turned to his children. “This dog won’t hunt until you princes guys start connecting with your authentic selves by finding your way back to the no-kidding, real You that existed before the world started crowding you out and laughing at your vulgar pseudo-royal family.” They looked surprised, yet interested in what I had to say. “You need to challenge your beliefs to unlock your personal failures and rebuild trust. Now, gimme a bourbon–straight–as my dad would say.” That show was unfortunately never broadcast, but when I fled Riyadh at least I escaped with both hands and my moustache intact.
‐Lastly, as for this Dr. Frasier Crane I’ve heard so much about, his radio show (broadcast from Seattle, says Robin, my unique and cherished wife whose personhood fills me with laughter and celebration) hasn’t even been turned into a syndicated TV show. How good could he be?