Dr. Drew Pinsky's New Focus: Famewhoring vs Helping

Dude, step away from the camera!

By , Contributor

Back in the day, I used to really respect Dr. Drew Pinsky. Unfortunately, these days Dr. Drew is everywhere, and I feel let down and embarrassed. Sadly, as Bill Hicks once said about artistic sellouts, Drew is now “just another whore at the capitalist gang bang.”

In the beginning, there was the radio show Loveline. It was a great public service and, thanks to co-host Adam Carolla, a hilarious good time. Pinsky spoke honestly to teens about their sexuality, overcoming past physical abuse, and provided an honest view of drug use that was thankfully absent of hysteria and hyperbole. By his side, Carolla would teasingly prod the kids to be smarter and heroically admit to his own chronic masturbation. I could have used a Loveline during my own sexually confused adolescence.

Pinsky was also a strong advocate of the “morning after” pill and educating young people about birth control and other vital issues. The show was funny, informative, not preachy, and I was really happy that there was a guy like Pinsky around to combat the semi-licensed charlatans who usually flood our airwaves (Dr. Phil, I’m talking to you).

Then came Celebrity Rehab, and its seemingly thousands of embarrassing spin-offs. Admittedly, Pinsky’s real specialty is treating drug addiction patients, and he ostensibly had a legitimate reason for choosing to work with celebrities: “My goal was always to be part of pop culture and relevant to young people, to interact with the people they hold in high esteem.”

Granted that all sounds reasonable, but Celebrity Rehab is, was, and will always be nothing but a sad, cultural train wreck for our voyeurism-addicted semi-culture. More people will learn about addiction if celebrities are involved; I get it, but honestly, is there anyone out there watching this show to learn or are they just waiting for the brain addled Gary Busey to do something sad and outrageous? Do any kids really hold Michael Lohan or Bai Ling in “high esteem?”

This year’s show is no different. Why is Steven Adler back on the show after physically assaulting one of Pinsky’s assistants?  Is the need to help a guy who did too many drugs to remain in Guns ‘N Roses really more important than his assistant’s ability to feel safe in her work environment?

It’s an ugly reflection of society that we need to watch the pain and suffering of others in an effort to do some measure of social "good." Plus, is bringing Amy Fisher back into the world’s consciousness helpful in any way? Dr. Drew is now everywhere, still doing Loveline, he has his own television show on HLN, and he supposedly is still out there treating drug addicts who didn’t notoriously shoot their lover’s wife in the face. Hell, he’s even been doing commentary on the Casey Anthony trial, itself a sad indictment against America’s lurid need to know everything tawdry and unclean for the sole purpose of whiling away a few hours.

Drew, take a good hard look at yourself. You aren’t Chelsea Handler.  It’s okay to not have a televised opinion on every single celebrity mishap in the world. Just let the need you have to comment on the Charlie Sheen madness go. We all know he's in meltdown - we don't really need an expert opinion. Even Socrates would have started to sound like an ass if he were on television a hundred hours a week. Look in the mirror and reclaim your soul before it’s too late.

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Brad Laidman has been a freelance writer since 2000. His work has appeared in Film Threat, Perfect Sound Forever, and Rock and Rap Confidential. His defense of The Kinks' Dave Davies so moved the legendary guitarist that Davies labeled Brad his hero and he has the email to prove it.

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