Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chamorro, Chamorro, we love ya, Chamorro...

What distinguishes regular medical and psychological experts from their celebrity counterparts?

Apart from the obvious - the former group is rich, while the latter group is probably a tad richer - the main difference is in the form of address. Sleb medics and shrinks attach the title "Doctor" to their first name, whereas real quacks connect the prefix with a surname. At a local surgery, therefore, you see Dr Smith or Dr Jones. On the telly, you meet Dr Rosemary or Dr Gillian.

Big Brother's resident psychologist is Dr Tomas, a rather good-looking lecturer from Goldsmiths College in London. We'll forgive him for using his first name, as his surname - Chamorro-Premuzic - is unlikely to trip off the tongue anywhere east of Buenos Aires or west of Zagreb. His early analysis of the BB9 household suggests that he is able to slip out of the conventions of academic discourse with relative ease. Luke, for example, is described as a "geek" (which Dr Tomas admits is a "non-psychological term"). Mario is the "non-Italian stallion", while Rex is a "tough cookie".

No doubt we can expect further probing analysis as the series develops. And perhaps a paper at a symposium in Vienna? Redefining psychological paradigms through the prism of the mass media: a study in popular culture, voluntary incarceration and stuff that helps fill web pages.

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