Friday, January 18, 2008
Oprah does a "Dr. Phil" style program with Suze's intervention on a mooching sibling
Oprah Winfrey’s show today (Fri. Jan. 18) dealt with the problem of needy relatives, and advocated a tough love approach. The URL is this.
In the first episode a woman who owns two homes has to deal with a sister who lives in one of them rent free, asks for money, and apparently spends careless and has a poor credit score. The tradition of “loyalty to blood” in the family among siblings was so strong that what was one’s belonged to everybody. Sharing was a “proof of love.” The stronger sister had a hard time saying no because of fear that this was lack of love. A staff person (“Suze”) from Oprah intervened, and refuted that idea with counseling in what turned out to be a formal intervention or “smackdown”. "Money is the medium of life," she said, or something like that. Fiat money, indeed. Of course, there are intangible assets in life, like what the sisters experience as family ties. Finally the stronger sister decided to sell both houses and move to Texas, and help her sister for only a month to get into an apartment.
It’s worthy of note that a number of states (28) have filial responsibility laws, and for a few of them the close relatives can include siblings as well as parents or grandparents.
The rest of the show was a little less controversial. One mother of six children was spending the family broke, and had failed to provide health insurance for her children. Another married couple insisted on separate bank accounts and lives, but their lack of awareness of each other’s spending was driving apart the marriage.
This Oprah show as a bit like a Dr. Phil episode. I recall that one of the characters in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is named "Wesley Mooch." (Actually, I'm told it's "Mouch".)
Update: Jan. 21, 2008
Oprah did her Martin Luther King's Day show today, link here. I was not aware that the Loving v. Virginia case, resolved in 1967 (interracial marriage) took 25 years to resolve.