Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oprah, again

It's no secret that I loathe Oprah. When I read this article in Newsweek I was thinking, "Yes! Finally!" This article specifically focuses on the outlandish health claims Oprah's experts have made and the tremendous influence Oprah wields in general. My favorite paragraph:

In real life, she (Oprah) has almost nothing in common with most of her viewers. She is an unapproachable billionaire with a private jet and homes around the country who hangs out with movie stars. She is not married and has no children. But television Oprah is a different person. She somehow manages to make herself believable as a down-to-earth everywoman. She is your girlfriend who struggles to control her weight and balance her work and personal life, just like you.

This is true despite the fact that Oprah often appears distracted in her interviews with real people on her show (the non-celebrities), looking over their shoulders and sort of zoning out during their responses to her questions (and then magically summoning tears at the climax of their story). If she is everyone's girlfriend, she is the girlfriend that talks about AWESOME SHOES while you pour out your heart in the mall food court.

I know she has spearheaded some incredible charity projects. She is certainly a talented entertainer. I just don't relate to the conflicting values her show promotes: obsessing about body image /Girl Power, SHOPPING!/schools for impoverished children, living your best life/worshiping celebrities. I don't get it. But I am glad that she encourages reading, or used to. Does she still do the book club segments?


pianogal said...

I read that same article and had the same feelings! I have even quoted the two-sides-of-Oprah part in conversations! It was like I was reading a post from my own blog! (Only in that you echoed my sentiments; not that I actually wrote anything - I have been a blogging slacker.)

Lindsay said...

I was ambivalent about Oprah until I read that Newsweek story. Then I fell off the fence and decided I am not a fan. I understand her show is strictly for entertainment, but her viewers trust her opinion, and she makes no effort to ensure they are receiving valid information.

This may be a little strong, but whenever I think about false gods, I always think about her and Dr. Phil.

Patty O. said...

I agree that she definitely promotes many conflicting values. I used to wish I could access her fortunes (maybe even just the amount of money she spends on clothes and shoes for a month or two) so I could get my students some decent books and computers.

It is incredible to me the impact she has on people. I cannot believe how much they believe and listen to her. It scares me a bit, frankly. I don't really think anyone should have that kind of power. I agree with Lindsay about her and Dr. Phil. Anytime someone says something that begins with "Oprah says..." or "I read that Dr. Phil said..." I automatically chuckle to myself.

B1L said...

I finally got around to reading that Newsweek article and was totally appalled. I had heard about the autism segments with Jenny McCarthy and the Secret hoopla, but didn't have a whole lot of specifics, since I don't watch the show. I cannot believe the whole hormones and Susan Somers stuff.

My aunt got into the Secret and gave my mom the video while she was undergoing chemotherapy. You know what that did? Just made her feel guilty that she didn't have a more positive attitude about the fact that she could barely move from the couch she was so sick. Some secret.