Appealing Talk | Futility | Gossip | Sin | Talk | Value | Values | Vice | Virtues

Daytime talk shows, where pedophiles, Nazis, and husband-batterers roam free, may have social repercussions costlier than the entertainment value. The parade of deviants who hop from Oprah to Phil to Sally are corrupting our sense of normalcy, argues Vicki Abt, Ph.D., a Penn State social psychologist who scrutinized 60 episodes each of all three shows. She lived to describe it in the Journal of Popular Culture and on Oprah live. By showcasing abnormality, whether child abusers or mothers who sleep with their son’s best friends, TV inures us to real tragedy. “If you keep speaking the unspeakable, it becomes speakable,” Abt insists. In this twisted take on show-and-tell, the triple D-cup exhibitionist carries the same weight…

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