Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Am Not A Fan Of.........

I am not a fan of Oprah Winfrey. Surprised?

How can the guy who wept when Ted Kennedy died (it was my 50th birthday) and continued to weep throughout the entire funeral process, not be a fan of Oprah? How can the guy who gets emotional at good campaign events or the guy who wiped a tear at the Bethlehem Skateboard grand opening not be a fan of Oprah? Coffee commercials make me sad, Lana Turner movies break my heart, I cried along with Halle Berry when she won the Oscar, I was almost overcome with emotion as the Spanish players accepted their awards at the World Cup and when Maury say’s” Marvin you are not the baby’s father” I cry along with the trampy girl running off stage.

So how can this guy not be a fan of Oprah Winfrey?

She is a beloved by millions of women and men around the world. She is a successful business woman, actress, producer, writer and a noted philanthropist. She is friends with the high and mighty. She opened school for girls in Africa. It was her interview that helped Michael Jackson begin the long climb back and it was her interview that almost destroyed the career of Tom Cruise. She has tried to teach us how to accept people of all walks of life and when she speaks out on an issue she speaks with such moral clarity that people listen. In the early days of the 2008 presidential primaries Hillary Clinton was gathering up most of the endorsements of the African American elites. Once Oprah came out to endorse Barack Obama his support in the African American community exploded and it helped him win the crucial battleground state of South Carolina and break even on Super Tuesday. People are already beginning to mourn her departure from TV next year.

Why don’t I like Oprah?

There is fine line between what Oprah does on her TV show and what Jerry Springer does on his. They both exploit people; they both hold people up to judgment and scorn, they both encourage people to debase themselves in front of a national audience, they both think that humiliating people will teach them and us to be better people. Both Jerry and Oprah end their shows with mini lectures sometimes with a finger wagging in our collective faces. We are told what we learned from our past hour together and that if we are smart we will follow their sage and wise advice.

Granted Oprah does it at a much more classy level than Jerry but exploitation is exploitation.

My detractors on this topic, and I have many; always talk about all the good things Oprah has done. I ask for examples.

She gave away all those cars to her audience: She did not give away anything and never has. All the things she gives away are provided by the marketing departments of the product they are pushing. Do you really think she paid for all those cars or even those Carrie Underwood CDs? The car company paid for the cars and the audience members had to pay the taxes, fees and the cost of transporting the car back home. It cost some of these women well over $1,000 to accept this “gift” from Oprah.

The school she built in Africa is the other prime example given as to the future sainthood status of Oprah Winfrey. She did build a school and if it is successful will benefit the most underserved population on the planet; African women. This school opened with great fanfare, all of which was generated by the Harpo media machine. When Angelina Jolie opened her complex she invited a few press people along to document it, when Madonna built hers the same thing. Brad Pitt moved to New Orleans so he could over see the rebuilding of the neighborhood he adopted and there was little fan fare. Sandra Bullock was the first to give a million dollars each to the 9-11, Katrina, South Asia and Haiti funds and there was never even a press release from her people.

But, When Oprah opened up her boarding school she flew multiple plane loads of celebrities, talking heads, media types and anyone else who worship at the altar and drink the Kool-Aid of all things Oprah Winfrey to Africa. She housed, fed and partied with some of the wealthier people in the country all on the dime of her foundation and we got to share in all this largesse because she filmed the entire thing and broadcast it not only on her show but on ABC prime time. Imagine if she used some of that money to do a background check on the violent predator she hired to run the school.

We have become a nation of whiners, victims and cry babies. We do not accept responsibility for our own actions nor the results of those actions. We feel the need to wear our hearts on our sleeves. We have no secrets; we have to share everything with everybody. We think it’s OK to discuss the size of our breasts and penises and we are compelled to tell everyone our innermost secrets. We have become a culture where dignity and honor are not valued. People have no manners or ethics. People think if they go on the Oprah Winfrey show and confess the burdens of their lives all will be forgiven and Oprah thinks that all this dirty laundry airing results in teaching moments. Sorry oh mighty oracle of Chicago not everything needs to be discussed and not everything results in a teaching moment.

What lesson did we learn from the woman whose face was chewed off by a monkey? What are we learning from the whole John Edwards saga? Bringing Monique’s brother in for an hour to discuss the effects of his raping his sister was a teaching moment? Oprah asks her guests and audience to bare their souls but she threatens her family members if they discuss their history or their memories of her life.

The Oprah Winfrey Show has led to the dumbing down of this country; she makes our women feel like victims and she makes our men feel weak and undeserving. Only two people have benefited from the Oprah Winfrey reign of terror; Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey. I suspect Stedman is regretting the day he met this wonderful woman.

I had no idea that texting while driving was a bad idea, thank you Ms. Oprah Winfrey for telling me.

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