Monthly Archives: February 2011

I’m Over Oprah

I’m reading a book from the Oprah Book Club.  It’s a sad book, the story of misfits and misguided fits and the consequences of their actions, which are tragic – beautifully described, but tragic. In fact, it’s a lot like other Oprah Book Club books I’ve read. There’s a sense of obligation almost, like the reading lists in college or on Facebook. But you read it at arms length, letting in only tiny bits and pieces – turning on NCIS in the background so you don’t completely fall under the spell, the shockingly fascinating spell of people completely screwing up their lives and their children’s lives. Not really reading it, but unable to put it away – quickly forgetting as soon as you’ve turned down a corner and spread it on the side table, breaking the spine. Needing a break. 

  I blame the Chicago diva. She who creates millionaires with the wave of her Book Club wand. Then that made her feel guilty and she stopped it, but not really, so it’s still out there. The power is unimaginable. Power Oprah. With favorites.

The thing is – I used to love the gutsy, robust woman with the country phrases and the big laugh.  I loved the magazine – finally a publication that made me feel good about myself instead of bad about myself!  I loved the search for the spiritual, the center, the new norm, the love of self.

  But somewhere along the way the contradictions have become too much. The little school for the “right” African girls – again the life-changer waves a wand. That hasn’t gone too well. The advocacy for simplicity juxtaposed with the lavish gifting. Who are we kidding, girlfriend? And the scourge of existence – body image – going on and on and on and on in endless, belly-button-examination about eating and exercising and denial and freedom and getting coaching and doing it on your own, liking yourself, but changing your belt. This never-ending dance around self-loathing. Please stop. Step away from the navel.

  So, what is the Oprah Winfrey Network except taking it all to a deeper level?  Behind the shows? Show business about the reality behind the show business? Does anybody still care that much? OWN?  No, Oprah, what happened to Let it Go? Dr. Phil? Nate Burkas? Gayle? Do we really have to see everyone cash in this last year?

  I happened to be home today at the time the show comes on. Thought about it. But couldn’t really bear the thought of twirling on that merry-go-round for an hour. In the end, it’s all been a phenomenon. There will never be another Oprah.  And I don’t think there should be.

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