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Oprah - Great article in Newsweek today.
Posted: 01 June 2009 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I saw this great article in Newsweek today titled “Crazy Talk- Oprah, Wacky Cures and You”. Its nice to finally see someone in the mainstream media publish such a well written article and take on the garbage that this ignorant woman parades on her show as legitimate medicine. Its available on line HERE for anyone who’s interested. I’ve already sent Newsweek a letter praising them for the article. By tomorrow I plan to have a bound copy of this issue in every exam room.

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Posted: 01 June 2009 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This is great! Finally, a mainstream mag speaks some sense to the people. Oprah is out of control, and people will die believing they can “wish themselves” free of cancer.

Regarding the Suzanne Somers part , I have to mention a joke I saw on TV about that. Comedian Joel McHale played a video clip of the Susanne Summers interview where she was taking her 60 vitamins and talking about how great they were. Then Joel McHale quipped in a female voice, impersonating Suzanne Somers “And then, my husband and I relax at night and read by the light of my urine…”  LOL Can you imagine - 60 vitamins?

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Posted: 01 June 2009 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes. One hopes that Oprah herself takes it to heart ...

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Posted: 01 June 2009 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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dougsmith - 01 June 2009 06:10 PM

Yes. One hopes that Oprah herself takes it to heart ...

Isn’t Oprah the richest woman on the planet? I think she’s taking it to the bank, not to the heart. grin

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Posted: 01 June 2009 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Great article. A drop in a huge bucket of CAM propoganda and marketing, but every little bit helps.

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Posted: 01 June 2009 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m afraid the Cult of Oprah will win out over a news magazine article.

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Posted: 06 June 2009 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think that Oprah is incapable of self examination, and her multitude of fans will drown out any letters we send to Newsweek to praise the article. It’s about time someone wrote an expose’ about this cult.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I don’t want to single out Oprah, she just happens to be one of the more famous and visible examples of an essentially US phenomenon of celebrity as expert. 
Jenny McCarthy is one that I find particularly egregious and entirely lacking in knowledge since joining in the crusade against vaccines.
What is it about the psychological makeup of significant portions of our populace that lead them to the conclusion that an entertainer/talk show hostess and a mediocre actress/former Playboy model have the answers to difficult medical questions?

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Posted: 07 June 2009 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hawkfan - 07 June 2009 08:23 AM

I don’t want to single out Oprah, she just happens to be one of the more famous and visible examples of an essentially US phenomenon of celebrity as expert. 
Jenny McCarthy is one that I find particularly egregious and entirely lacking in knowledge since joining in the crusade against vaccines.
What is it about the psychological makeup of significant portions of our populace that lead them to the conclusion that an entertainer/talk show hostess and a mediocre actress/former Playboy model have the answers to difficult medical questions?

It isn’t a US specific phenomenon. It is a “phenomenon” that is occurring in every nation that has mass communications. T.V. Internet, News, Movies,Commercials, magazines etc.
But rewind to a time before electricity and the printing press. The person, regardless of their knowledge, who had the Lectern, or the high ground in which to speak from was the one who guided the masses. Just like now. Only it is more complicated and stratified.
The vast majority of leadership, isn’t “leading” at all. It is just a mouthpiece representation of the masses. Leadership by reaction to events. As opposed to leading the social group towards goals.
The vast majority of leadership is embodied by people who overwhelmingly just want to fill a position of status, a paying “gig”, a good paying “gig” with perks.
These leaders are savvy at learning-and knowing what the people want to hear. So by providing them with what they want to hear, they can instill a feeling of security. In the mega complicated society of the US or other Industrialized nations, the role of leadership is widespread into quasi-leader roles. Figureheads, celebrities, Heroes, sportsheroes. These are all parts of the leadership strata, which are totally essential in maintaining a society. The contents of their deeds and rhetoric, are secondary only to the soothing, and bonding characteristics of their purpose.
This should fully address your question about the “psyhcological make-up of society.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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VYAZMA - 07 June 2009 08:46 AM
Hawkfan - 07 June 2009 08:23 AM

I don’t want to single out Oprah, she just happens to be one of the more famous and visible examples of an essentially US phenomenon of celebrity as expert. 
Jenny McCarthy is one that I find particularly egregious and entirely lacking in knowledge since joining in the crusade against vaccines.
What is it about the psychological makeup of significant portions of our populace that lead them to the conclusion that an entertainer/talk show hostess and a mediocre actress/former Playboy model have the answers to difficult medical questions?

It isn’t a US specific phenomenon. It is a “phenomenon” that is occurring in every nation that has mass communications. T.V. Internet, News, Movies,Commercials, magazines etc.
But rewind to a time before electricity and the printing press. The person, regardless of their knowledge, who had the Lectern, or the high ground in which to speak from was the one who guided the masses. Just like now. Only it is more complicated and stratified.
The vast majority of leadership, isn’t “leading” at all. It is just a mouthpiece representation of the masses. Leadership by reaction to events. As opposed to leading the social group towards goals.
The vast majority of leadership is embodied by people who overwhelmingly just want to fill a position of status, a paying “gig”, a good paying “gig” with perks.
These leaders are savvy at learning-and knowing what the people want to hear. So by providing them with what they want to hear, they can instill a feeling of security. In the mega complicated society of the US or other Industrialized nations, the role of leadership is widespread into quasi-leader roles. Figureheads, celebrities, Heroes, sportsheroes. These are all parts of the leadership strata, which are totally essential in maintaining a society. The contents of their deeds and rhetoric, are secondary only to the soothing, and bonding characteristics of their purpose.
This should fully address your question about the “psyhcological make-up of society.

While I don’t doubt this celebrity as expert happens in other parts of the world, I would argue it is much more prevalent here.
I do agree in part with your argument that they are filling a need for leadership, but I disagree that in any way explains why people choose to believe what Jenny McCarthy says about immunizations as opposed to the people that study them as their life’s work.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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While I don’t doubt this celebrity as expert happens in other parts of the world, I would argue it is much more prevalent here.

It is not “much more” prevalent than in other parts of the world. Yes, more prevalent than say…in New Guinea, but other than that it is all relative in regards to Population size, Technological levels. They have these same “talk shows” in Canada, Switzerland, China, Russia, Japan, and everywhere else. Using the Talk Show as an example.
And aside from all that, the specification of nationalistic parameters doesn’t address the phenomenom.

.... but I disagree that in any way explains why people choose to believe what Jenny McCarthy says about immunizations as opposed to the people that study them as their life’s work.

How you could disagree with a “way” in which this explains this phenomenom is….is…hiding your head in the sand? What you expect of peoples perceptions is irrelevant to what peoples perceptions actually are.

[ Edited: 07 June 2009 09:08 AM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 07 June 2009 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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VYAZMA - 07 June 2009 09:05 AM

While I don’t doubt this celebrity as expert happens in other parts of the world, I would argue it is much more prevalent here.

It is not “much more” prevalent than in other parts of the world. Yes, more prevalent than say…in New Guinea, but other than that it is all relative in regards to Population size, Technological levels. They have these same “talk shows” in Canada, Switzerland, China, Russia, Japan, and everywhere else. Using the Talk Show as an example.
And aside from all that, the specification of nationalistic parameters doesn’t address the phenomenom.

.... but I disagree that in any way explains why people choose to believe what Jenny McCarthy says about immunizations as opposed to the people that study them as their life’s work.

How you could disagree with a “way” in which this explains this phenomenom is….is…hiding your head in the sand? What you expect of peoples perceptions is irrelevant to what peoples perceptions actually are.

Really, so there are Russian, Swiss, Canadian, German equivalents of Oprah that have the same influence in their societies?  I’m completely unaware of any such individuals, but I can’t claim any expertise on international media.

And no, your stating a proposed mechanism by which significant segments of the population accept their science from Oprah as opposed to scientists does not explain the rational of why they make that choice if they are presented with the information from both groups.  And, no I’m not hiding my head in the sand of I disagree with your characterization.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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It seems that people have a hard time recognizing complexity.  If a person is highly regarded and popular in one area, it doesn’t matter what, his/her views on all other areas are more easily accepted by many. 

Why a boxer should have any special expertise in grills is beyond me, but George Foreman is getting quite wealthy because people buy them from his company.

I happen to agree with many of the positions Einstein took, but his views were often quoted as authoritative, even though they were way out of his field of expertise.

If a person is incapable or uninterested in investigating the work done in an area, s/he will tend to accept the ideas of anyone who s/he likes and who radiates any kind of power.

Occam

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Posted: 07 June 2009 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Really, so there are Russian, Swiss, Canadian, German equivalents of Oprah that have the same influence in their societies?  I’m completely unaware of any such individuals, but I can’t claim any expertise on international media.

Yes, there are equivalents of those shows, and worse. Countries such as Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and Japan, have far higher amounts of CAM too…if you didn’t know that either.

And no, your stating a proposed mechanism by which significant segments of the population accept their science from Oprah as opposed to scientists does not explain the rational of why they make that choice if they are presented with the information from both groups.  And, no I’m not hiding my head in the sand of I disagree with your characterization

.

You obviously had trouble digesting those practical tenents of social-tribal behavior in humans.And how that translates into the present day manifestation through technological advancement. In other words, Oprah has more visibilty than doctors, and scientists.(That relates to what I originally stated about Leaders having the platform, the Lectern so to speak)
The reason Oprah has the Platform, is she tells people what they want to hear- This goes back to what I said about the leaders talking points have more to do with Charisma, than they do with facts. Can you grasp that? It’s pretty simple.
Judging by your attempt to pigeonhole this as a uniquely American Problem, and your points in a neighboring thread, concerning the stupidity of +90% of all people, I would say you lack cogent ideas about human behavior. Perhaps you’d do best just to stick with calling Oprah Viewers stupid. That’s a convenient out for you.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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It seems to me that Occam is on the right track. People look for authorities, and they don’t make rational discriminations about who is a reliable authority. esearch has shown, for example, that the degree of certainty you feel about your memeories of an event are not correlated at all with theliklihood that your memories are accurate. But this same degree of certainty does correlate with the liklihood that other people will believe you. Confidence in the speaker instills it in the listerner even when it is unjustified.

There are many other such examples of why people believe the wrong wources of informatgion. I think it’s a human brain problem more than a cultural phenomenon, though of course cultural factors can influence the expression of it, and the mass media certainly provides a more influential platform than a soapbox in the local park.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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mckenzievmd - 07 June 2009 01:41 PM

It seems to me that Occam is on the right track. People look for authorities, and they don’t make rational discriminations about who is a reliable authority. esearch has shown, for example, that the degree of certainty you feel about your memeories of an event are not correlated at all with theliklihood that your memories are accurate. But this same degree of certainty does correlate with the liklihood that other people will believe you. Confidence in the speaker instills it in the listerner even when it is unjustified.

There are many other such examples of why people believe the wrong wources of informatgion. I think it’s a human brain problem more than a cultural phenomenon, though of course cultural factors can influence the expression of it, and the mass media certainly provides a more influential platform than a soapbox in the local park.

It’s definitely not a human brain problem. Unless you are suggesting that there is some kind of inherent defect in the brain for all people.(of course this isn’t true). Cultural “problem” sort of. In the sense that “cultural” is an outcropping of sociological/human behavior.
And this is meant as “normal behavior”. That is evidenced clearly by the study of humankind, and it’s activities concerning Sociological issues.
In any event what you and Occam have outlined is pretty much what I was explaining concerning the why’s and how’s of people and their apparent lack of wise decisions.

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