Star magazine and its ilk are always asking "experts" like "New York-based psychologist Dr. Cooper Lawrence" to weigh in on the pressing tabloid issues of the day. With Britney Spears just now apparently checking herself out of rehab, AGAIN, WTF, we wanted in on the action! So we called up Robert Wolski, MD, an honest-to-goodness Manhattan-based board-certified psychiatrist, and asked him to explain the people who explain Britney. Our conversation with Dr. Robert actually ended up helping us work through a few of our issues; we hope you'll find reading it equally therapeutic.
Gawker: So I guess what I'm calling about is, you know how Star and Us Weekly and the Today show are always asking pyschological experts to analyze celebrities who they've never met or treated?
Dr. Robert: Yes.
Gawker: Well, I was wondering if you could tell us why the doctors do this.
Dr. Robert: I really think it has more to do with their ratings. It's mostly for entertainment value. [Britney's breakdown] has been blown completely out of proportion.
Gawker: Well, yes, totally. But I am really more wanting to know why doctors — you know, board-certified, practicing psychiatrists, like yourself — share their speculative assumptions about celebrities with gossip magazines and entertainment news TV shows. Why do they do it?
Dr. Robert: These people offer some semblance of respectability...
Gawker: But what motivates them to offer it?
Dr. Robert: Wellllll, they're probably fulfilling some need of their own, for fame. They're seeking the attention of the public at large.
Gawker: [excited] And what are some reasons that a person could engage in fame-seeking behaviors?
Dr. Robert: It's their own insecurities — their lack of a sense, probably, of fulfillment in their own careers. [Pause.] It's funny because, that's what I'm doing right now, speculating. I don't know these people!
Gawker: Oh, but it's okay because this is different! So what's up with Dr. Phil? I hate him!
Dr. Robert: Dr. Phil is a very special man. He likes the recognition. I mean, what makes an actor enjoy being in public? Some say it's the art. But it's approval-seeking. I have a feeling that Dr. Phil has always been sort of extroverted. But I don't know his birth order or anything. See, I don't know anything about him! I shouldn't speculate.
Gawker: [Sigh.] Well, thanks!