Monday, March 20, 2006

newsflash! Dr. Phil makes you stupid!

The under 30 crowd has known it all along, but proof has just been offered that watching Dr. Phil makes you stupid. According to Reuters, a recent study at our sister-campus Brooklyn College (Go, CUNY!) has found that watching a lot of talk shows and soap operas on afternoon TV prompted older women to score poorly on mental acuity tests. Talk show fans are at greater risk of mental impairment and dementia. Soap opera fans are seven times more likely to develop an impairment then women viewers who prefer to watch news, while talk show fans are 13 times more likely. Researchers called the risk "alarming." No kidding. Dr. Phil makes you stupid.

Who really cares--other then Kevin Federline--whether Britany Spears is fat or pregnant?

Sarasota Florida has been named the meanest city in America. No surprise there: have you seen some of those old ladies after ten years tanning on the beach? Their skin looks like oak-tan leather and they have a permenant grimace baked into their faces.

So Tom Monaghan of Dominoes Pizza fame is founding a town in Florida to be called Ave Maria which is supposed to be a Catholic haven. The businesses will be restricted from selling pornography. Television will be censored. So will print media. Everyone in the town will attend the same catholic church, and the main employer will be the new Ave Maria catholic university. Civil Libertarians have gone ape-shit. They scream that it is unconstitutional. But is it? At first glance the whole thing certainly seems un-American. Seperation of Church and State is (at least in the America I grew up in) supposed to be absolute. But we all know that's changed a lot in the last twenty years. Jefferson was always clear on what he meant by no religion in government, and the establishment clause means exactly what it says. But Monaghan apparently is going to own all the land himself and lease it to people. While there are laws against discrimination in housing based upon religion, those laws are somewhat bendable in certain situations. Monaghan also has the backing of Governor Jeb Bush, a practicing Catholic. But more then that, while I find this idea a bit disturbing, I find Monaghan repulsive, and I certainly wouldn't live there, this is absolutely *not* un-American. American history is full of this type of religious utopianism; attempts to found "the shining city on a hill" in a small village where only people of like faith live. The second colony, the Puritans of Plymouth Rock, were only the first example of people trying to found their own religious community so they could worship and live as they saw fit, away from what they saw as the sins and persecutions of greater society. The Amish and the Menonites practiced the same sort of "build a wall to keep the world out and God in" living. And, of course, the Mormons founded Utah specifically to get away from it all. So the idea of founding a Catholic only community built around a church and a university is not really that far removed from American main stream thought. If what they end up with is a kind of a Catholic commune, wherein the rules are maintained by some sort of community association and not by the local chartered government, I'm not at all sure what the ACLU can do about it. Are they going to go around and close down every Ashram in Oregon, because in the end this is all we are talking about, a big Catholic Ashram that happens to be financed by a big time Pro-Life billionaire. And lest my brethern at People United for the Seperation of Church and State forget (and believe me, they haven't) there are now five Catholics on the Supreme Court.

Like I said, I wouldn't live there (have you guys read *the Handmaid's Tale*, by the way? Or, for that matter, *A boy and His Dog*?), but it is a very American ideal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get me started about Ave Maria.
He plans to only allow in pharmacy chains that don't offer the pill anywhere.


Stupid misguided rich guy. Spend your stupid money in third world nations that can't afford medicine.


6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well of course.....isn't that the church's position? the point of a religious community is to observe and practice religious faith, right down to the question of to pill or not to pill. Here's a is not ice cream, where you can pick your flavor. "I'd like this, but not that" isn't faith at all.

Stupid misguided rich guy probably watches way too much Dr. Phil.

6:10 AM  
Blogger MAC said...

"faith is not ice cream, where you can pick your flavor. "I'd like this, but not that" isn't faith at all."

It is for me. My mother raised me to be a Unitarian. --mac

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"faith is not ice cream, where you can pick your flavor. "I'd like this, but not that" isn't faith at all. "

You may quite possibly be right, however, almost everyone I know chooses which part of a doctrine to follow. I don't personally know anyone who completely follow's their faith's doctrines 100%.

I suppose it is senseless for me to rail at other people's choices of faith when i've got none of my own.


7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe this is a correlative study, not a causative proof. The question is "how much mental acuity is required to begin watching soaps and talk shows in the first place?" There just could be a little initial predisposition for diminished capacity, don't you think?
But,oh, it is jolly fun to skewer Dr. Phil.

8:28 PM  

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