Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Dr. Phil, Medical Theaters, Freak Shows, and Talking Couches

The Talking Stage as Pedagogical Site

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2014), 8, (1), 67–80.

Abstract

The article explores the ways in which contemporary popular talk shows, like Dr. Phil, mark a shift from a freak show culture previously fascinated with physical differences to an infatuation with the exhibition of mental disabilities. The article suggests that Dr. Phil, which combines the discourses of the freak show, psychoanalytic couch, and medical theater, produces a particular relationship with a viewer that moves beyond entertainment and produces a hybrid pedagogical site conceived as a talking stage. As such, the show reproduces and affirms rather than diminishes the stigma associated with nonvisible disabilities such as bipolar disorder. It is argued that to fully critique and understand the impact of the talking stage, an embodied understanding and approach to mental disability is necessary and mind-body dualities must be disrupted.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Bracken, Patrick, and Thomas, Phillip. "Time to Move Beyond the Mind-Body Split." British Medical Journal 325 (2001): 724-27. Print. Time to Move Beyond the Mind-Body Split British Medical Journal 325 724 27 Google Scholar

Chemers, Michael M. Staging Stigma a Critical Examination of the American Freak Show. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print. Staging Stigma a Critical Examination of the American Freak Show Google Scholar

Crang, Mike, and Thrift, N. J. Thinking Space. London: Routledge, 2000. Print. Thinking Space Google Scholar

Crary, Jonathan. Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, MA.: MIT P, 1990. Print. Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century Google Scholar

Dennett, Andrea Stulman. "The Dime Museum Freak Show Reconfigured as Talk Show." Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. Ed. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. New York: New York UP, 1996. 315-26. Print. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body 315 26 Google Scholar

Ellsworth, Elizabeth Ann. Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy. New York: Routledge Falmer, 2005. Print. Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy Google Scholar

"Extreme Highs and Lows." Dr. Phil. 7 Mar. 2006. Television. Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. Print. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie, ed. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York UP, 1996. Print. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body Google Scholar

Gilman, Sander L. Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to Aids. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1988. Print. Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to Aids Google Scholar

Haag, Laurie L. "Oprah Winfrey: The Construction of Intimacy in the Talk Show Setting." Journal of Popular Culture 26.4 (1993): 115-22. Print. Oprah Winfrey: The Construction of Intimacy in the Talk Show Setting Journal of Popular Culture 26 115 22 Google Scholar

Kennedy, Barbara M. Deleuze and Cinema: The Aesthetics of Sensation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2000. Print. Deleuze and Cinema: The Aesthetics of Sensation Google Scholar

Kuppers, Petra. Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge. New York and London: Routledge, 2003. Print. Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge Google Scholar

Price, Margaret. Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2011. Print. Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life Google Scholar

Wilson, James, and Lewiecki-Wilson, Cynthia. Embodied Rhetorics: Disability in Language and Culture. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP. 2001. Print. Embodied Rhetorics: Disability in Language and Culture Google Scholar

Winnicott, D. W. Playing and Reality. London and New York: Tavistock, 1982. Print. Playing and Reality Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Richardson, Jack

Eisenhauer, Jennifer