Friday, June 20, 2014

I Can Haz Cheezburger Too (as long as I take my green coffee pill)

I can't be the only person who finds Dr Oz to be another creepy member of Oprah's legion of medical professionals (Dr Phil, Dr Oz and Dr Pepper) who really seem like people you don't want to be sitting next to at a banquet.  Dr Phil, leader of the Jubilation T. Cornpone School of Homespun Psychology ("What part of 'you cain't cheat on your husban' don't you understaaaaaaaaan'?") is bad enough, messing with people's minds.  He knows good and well that emotional issues take a lot more than one hour, minus time for commercials and Eyewitness News promos and teases, to heal.

Likewise, Dr Mehmet Oz, who likes to refer to himself as a respected surgeon and man of serious medicine, knows very well that weight loss is accomplished chiefly by a) eating less and b) exercising more.  But that requires sacrifice and self-denial, so let's just tell them to eat these magic beans and soon they'll have the body of Angelina Jolie or Tim Duncan!

Readers of The New Yorker saw a great article in the Feb 4 edition about Oz, how he himself darts from the hospital to the TV studio gobbling almonds and blueberries for lunch, while insinuating that "miracle weight loss pills" are all you need to get rid of that excess avoirdupois.

Back before the Pure Food and Drug Act, any snake-oil salesman could dupe the public with spurious medicines, but now we have government agencies to protect us from people like Oz, so Congress invited him to take off his custom-tailored scrubs, put on a suit, and come on down for a good listening-to about his role in pushing bogus remedies for real problems. 

"The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles,'" said Senator Claire McCaskill, (D, MO), questioning the "false hope" his rhetoric gives viewers and asking about Oz's role, "intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams."

"I don't get why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show?... With power comes a great deal of responsibility" is how she put it.

Like any other hustler, the doctor admitted to using "flowery language" to sell his ideas, but insisted that he has given the products he touts to his own family, adding, "My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don't think they have hope, when they don't think they can make it happen, I want to look, and I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them."

The Federal Trade Commission has sued the sellers of "Green Coffee Beans" for fooling people by using phony "news" sites and made-up health claims. Oz was pumping up the "benefits" of taking these magic weight-loss coffee beans on his show, and the next thing you know, coffee bean companies were selling their pills and linking them to the "miracle" promised by Dr Mehmet Oz.   

That's right!  A miracle fat-burning pill!
Believe me!  I'm a doctor!
Oz was shocked, shocked! to find that someone took his words about green coffee beans being good for weight loss and then sold green coffee beans by saying that Dr Oz said it would help them lose weight!  He denies any connection with these people, but he did promise to exercise "an abundance of caution in discussing promising research and products in the future."

See?  I knew he'd mention exercise eventually!

I suggest that someone rein this charlatan in as quickly as possible. Well-meaning people are swallowing too much of his nonsense, along with too many green coffee beans.

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