The merry old land of Dr. Oz – The Spectator World – The Spectator World

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America’s politics and celebrity culture blur together yet again as a TV doctor runs for Senate
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The long preen through the institutions continues. The latest celebrity to decide his presence is desperately needed on the political stage is Mehmet Oz, the famous TV doctor, who is running for Senate as a Republican in Pennsylvania. Dr. Oz’s candidacy is expected to be less a tonic for what ails us than a ginseng extract supplement paired with an omega-3 multivitamin.
Oz’s detractors have accused him of using his popular daytime TV show to peddle junk cures, a charge that’s certain to be front and center if he makes it out of the GOP primary. Oz has promoted “miracle” weight loss solutions, including claiming that green coffee extract can burn off the pounds. He’s touted a tropical fruit called the garcinia cambogia as a great way to slim down. He’s been the target of angry open letters from his fellow doctors.
Which is why, if Oz is elected, it won’t be his first trip up to Capitol Hill. In 2014, he was hauled before a Senate committee to answer for his supposed flimflammery. “People want to believe you can take an itty-bitty pill to push fat out of your body,” warned Senator Claire McCaskill, though “the scientific community is almost monolithically against you.” (Not that Congress is in a position to lecture anyone about trimming any kind of fat.)
Having duly shot the messenger, though, it is worth pointing out that McCaskill has a point. There exists in America today a rather flabby sector of the economy dedicated to telling people that losing weight is as simple as popping a pill or swallowing a vitamin-fortified subatomic particle extracted from the bosom of an earthworm. Anyone who’s ever been around this stuff knows how scammy it is — and how attractive it is to those who need a little hope.
Oz, in fairness, doesn’t go nearly this far. His own “ultimate diet plan” is big on healthy foods and exercise. But then he’s also turned his hawking of various cures into a sales model, called the Dr. Oz Effect, by which the products he mentions on his show leverage his endorsement to boost their profits. And while there’s no evidence of any kind of quid pro quo, ProPublica reports that during a five-month period between 2013 and 2014, Oz made more than $1.5 million off of various pharmaceutical companies.
All of this needs to be addressed if he’s going to be in the Senate. And preferably in the fine print of one of his campaign commercials. Picture him grinning psychotically and running in slow-motion through a meadow. Then: “side effects of Dr. Oz may include conflicts of interest and revulsion from the scientific community. If symptoms persist for more than four years, contact a primary challenger.”
Yet who are we kidding? The main reason the left is after Oz today isn’t his herbal remedies but his COVID heresies. In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner announcing his candidacy, Oz wrote, “COVID-19 became an excuse for the government and elite thinkers who controlled the means of communication to suspend debate. Dissenting opinions from leading scholars were ridiculed and canceled so their ideas could not be disseminated.” He added that “arrogant, closed-minded people” had “closed our parks, shuttered our schools, shut down our businesses, and [taken] away our freedom.”
He’s right about that. Yet for a left that imagines itself wielding Science™ like a great golden scepter, this is unacceptable. And it’s here that we must give Oz his due. Not only has he taken a broader-minded approach to COVID, he’s a doctor in real life, an incredibly talented surgeon. He’s so talented, in fact, that he’s won awards and still practices even while maintaining his TV show.
Loop in Ben Carson and the GOP stands poised to become the party of genius surgeons who occasionally say suspect things on TV. And there are worse things than that, really.
Yet the biggest takeaway from Oz’s candidacy isn’t about fat people or sick people; it’s about beautiful people. Oz is yet another example of that aforementioned conflation of entertainment and politics, of self-promotion and statesmanship, of “I can read off a cue card” and “I can make Medicare policy.” He might not have any governing experience, but then neither does Howard Stern, who’s floated a presidential run in 2024, or Caitlyn Jenner or Kanye West or a fella by the name of Donald Trump. Before he was mediating lawnmower races between nymphomaniacal strippers, Jerry Springer served on the Cincinnati City Council.
Should this continue, it makes sense to prepare for the worst. Consider: the year is 2032. Dr. Oz is running for president and has just emerged from a brutal primary contest against Sally Jessy Raphael and Bubba the Love Sponge. In the general, he barely ekes out a win over a Wendy Williams/Ryan Seacrest ticket, but there are inconsistencies in the state of Florida. The election goes to the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Maury Povich is about to hand down a decision, as well as the result of his own child’s paternity test, when the entire program is suddenly canceled and cuts to blender infomercials.
This is why I’m an opinion columnist: because I think of these things. If you’d like to be as smart as me, let me tell you about a certain brain-enhancing supplement that I am so hot on at the moment…
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