Thursday, December 13, 2007

With Oprah Now Campaigning Hard for Obama,
This Brilliant "O" Deconstruction is a Must-Read

Last year, I read and admired this brilliant deconstruction of the tiresome Oprah phenomenon and what her meteoric popularity--which I would argue is more than a little baffling to most men--says about the country, and more specifically about the state of American womanhood. Now that the Daytime Diva is stumping the country on behalf of her fellow O, Obama, it seems like a good time to look back at this piece and study it again. "Winfreyism is the expression of an immensely reassuring and inspiring message that has, without doubt, helped millions of people carry on with their lives. And it is also an empty, cynical, icily selfish outlook on life that undercuts its own positive energy at every turn." That sounds about right to me.


At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

I admit Oprah isn't my cup of tea. But she tries to make a positive difference with her wealth, where other billionaires (excepting Gates and Buffett) spend their time lobbying Congress for lower taxes.

Wikipedia: "In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America's top 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $303 million. Winfrey was the 32nd most philanthropic."

Writer Jonathan Franzen was some ingrate. He enjoyed the sales engendered by the selection of his book by Oprah's book club, but worried that his work might be regarded as merely middlebrow as a consequence. I was all for Oprah giving him the boot.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Hey, good to see you back here in comments. We've been wondering how you're getting along with those awful ice storms in your part of the country. Do let us know about that, when you can. And of course you're absolutely right about Oprah. I can't argue with that. She does try her best to do good. What I think men (and no doubt many women too, at least the more discriminating ones) tend to have a problem with is her drama queen aspect, turning everything into a huge deal, always having to be at the center of all the trauma drama. Of course, as that piece explains, that comes from her childhood and the abuse. So I try my hardest to give her the benefit of the doubt.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John: I don't watch "Oprah"...but like other media figures, her influence seems exponential, and the fact that she exemplifies achieving one's dream as a human ...and as an African American incredible. Have you ever read her magazine? I bought it twice (pricey on my budget), wondering what I'd find in it--but misplaced it both times. I do remember one page of (tear-out?) positive affirmations and lots of pink and red ink. I'll have to buy one again some time.

At 8:10 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I have skimmed over her mag occasionally, and I think I'd have to observe that there's not a whole lot in there that would ordinarily be of interest to men. Actually, that's putting it mildly, but then that's my bias, and some men might well dispute that. I do think the magazine is more intelligent than her program.

My wife does find her magazine interesting, however, and only a month ago I bought her one to take with her on a flight (along with a copy of Real Simple, another mag that seems pretty female-intensive).


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