Okay, the title of this post might be a *little* incendiary. As I have learned, there are a LOT of rabid Oprah fanatics out there who love, love, LOVE her and won’t stand for some half-wit in the blogoshpere talking smack about their best girl.
Which sort of proves my point.
Oprah scares me. Not the woman herself – I’m sure she’s very nice - but the amount of POWER the woman herself clutches in the palm of her hand. The amount of INFLUENCE Oprah has on the general public is kind of a scary thing.
Now, there are a lot of things I admire greatly about Oprah – she’s taken a life of poverty and disenfranchisement and turned it into an impossible success story, which is admirable and amazing and all of those “a” words. And I appreciate the fact that her show can be empowering (if sometimes a little sensational) and has gotten a lot of women talking about issues they might otherwise not have discussed or learned about - and reading books again, which is wonderful.
(I also have to admit that I really enjoyed it when she essentially gave the finger to the beef and cattle industry in Texas. Those good ole’ boys had it coming, and who better to give it to them than a black woman from Chicago richer than all of them put together? Ha!)
So yes, Oprah’s great. She’s smart, independent, kind to animals, you name it.
What scares me is the level of blind loyalty she inspires; the number of people who hear Oprah’s opinion as fact. Oprah fans are more than just fans – they are Disciples.
So far, we’ve been lucky. Oprah has chosen to use her power for good and not for evil. She’s endorsed a great candidate for president (Go, Barack!), started a school for impoverished girls in Africa, and rewarded her faithful viewership with lots of cars and merchandise.
But what if one day she turns? What if, one day, Oprah wakes up and thinks to herself, “You know, Mike Huckabee really has some good ideas”? Will the people listen and follow suit? I think they might.
What if she decides to run for political office herself one day? Will the people elect her because of the Oprah brand, even though she has no diplomatic skills or economic know-how or national security or political experience? Again, I think they might.
I’ve got to hand it to her, Oprah has marketed herself brilliantly. People all over the world, from every walk of life – black, white, rich, poor, woman, man – look at Oprah and think, “She’s one of US.” She’s made herself RELATABLE – even if she isn’t, really. Everyone seems to have forgotten that this is the same woman who once spent $25,000 to fly in her favorite champagne for a birthday party, who has reportedly willed $30 million to her dogs, and who didn’t know how to pump her own gas on a road trip. We’re all so blinded by her image of being one of US that we can’t see she’s really one of THEM.
Can you really trust someone who can’t even pump their own gas?
But the biggest, and by far the most important reason why Oprah scares the hell out of me is this: She is responsible for unleashing Dr. Phil on the world. That injustice alone balances out any good she might have done.
Let me just pose this worst-case scenario: What if Oprah decides to “discover” another Dr. Phil or Rachael Ray? Can we really withstand another one?
The thought makes me shudder.Stumble it!