Oprah Winfrey: Love-Child or Bastard Spawn Of Mediocrity- Does It Matter?
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 1/24/04
As I embark
on this essay my wife, Jessica, warns me not to come off as a bully in my rebuke
of the mononominally known subject of this essay. I retort, ‘How in the hell
can I bully a billionaire who outweighs me by several 100 lbs.?’ As I finish
typing the 1st sentence my wife enters, reads it & recants,
‘Bully away!’ Such confusion is rare in me or my wife, but rife in the
addle-minded viewers of Oprah Winfrey’s reprehensible talk show. How can
you decry Oprah? Easy, she’s the living embodiment of the dumbing down of
American discourse. Granted, I do not subscribe to terminal Golden Agism-
where the past is always filled with virgins, flowers, & great Twilight
Zone episodes- but 1 simply cannot argue that the pre-Oprah talk shows were
far more intelligent, & dealt with substantive issues that now are ghettoed
to Sunday morning, PBS, & cable tv talk shows.
I will list just a few of the innumerable sins that OW has committed, & start with this 1st 1. The king of pre-Oprah talk was Phil Donahue, who dealt with many substantive issues, as well as occasional pop fluff. It was not until the exploitative OW arrived that PD started wearing dresses & interviewing vampire lesbians who slept with their brothers. People seem to forget that it was OW who brought topics like sexual deviance, sensational murders, the KKK, & other now classically ‘white trash’ subjects to the fore. This is how OW became a billionaire. It was only because of her success as Black America’s vengeance on bourgeois White America that the parade of even more shameless & exploitive talk shows sallied forth- Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Montel Williams, Jenny Jones, & Ricki Lake among the more successful of that ad nauseam bunch. Then, just when her 1st ‘gimmick’ ran out of steam, & she was overtaken by her imitators, OW turned to an even sicker, & more diabolical version of exploitation. Having shaken America’s closets free of sickos & perverts destined for later appearances on tv court shows, OW decided her new schtick would be to ‘get religion’. Not just that old-time brimstone mind you, but an odorless, colorless fart of a brand of New Age Spiritualism of the sort shilled by Madison Avenue carnies like the soulless Deepak Chopra & brainless Marianne Williamson. Instead of exposing how sexually fucked up your average American tater tot was OW would now detail how lacking in brains & self-esteem U.S. spuds were. All that carnality, 1 presumes, was too much for the lonely billionaire who still could not get her a man to love- save her appendage of an escort, Stedman Graham, who slickly parlayed his ‘association’ with OW to prime time gigs as a lecturer, author of banal self-help manifestos, & magazine writer for Inside Sports magazine. Others also palled up to the seemingly limitless personal desperation of this media titan to save their careers, or shill their dubiously uplifting wares, diets, or books on her show. Even though it was nice to see others blatantly using OW the way she had used & abused others, I for 1 preferred the older, baser, lucre-hungry OW, if only that she was more ‘honest’ about what she was doing & why- exploiting others (willing others, I grant) so she could remain the phattest sister on the planet!
Now, so many people seem to buy in to OW as a modern Messiah it’s both sickening & genuinely bizarre. Aside from her Christ-like delusions OW, a few years back, foisted upon the already banal American literary scene her nauseating Book Club- basically a slickly designed & heavily promoted marketing vehicle for Junior High level confessional dreck, written mostly by women, about how ‘inspirational’ it is to simply breathe in a world where every man alive merely seeks to deposit coinage into your ‘holy’ box. Things got so surreal that many a narcotized hausfrau would wander down to their local Barnes & Noble in the late 1990s & mindlessly ask for the latest Oprah book- regardless of its content, title, or author! After a handful of bad male writers publicly complained that OW was being literarily & financially unfair to their self-determined birthright to poison America’s literacy alone, she backed down (in the exact ways she counsels others NOT to do when confronting bullies), axed the book club, leaving a void in asinine celebrity book endorsements of PC novelry that was swiftly filled by almost-as-vapid talk show host, ex-soap star, & bleached blond Kelly Ripa of Regis & Kelly shame. The lone upside to this disturbing development was that when 1 now wanted to strangle Kelly, for her selections, by pulling her skirt over her head & wrapping it about her nape, the view from below would not induce the projectile vomit that action would previously do when administered to OW! In retaliation OW relaunched her Book Club, focusing only on dead white male writers, so not to offend Academia. This has now led to OW misinterpreting & debasing classic American literature for a whole new brood of cyber-morons grown fat on Super Mario, Sim City, Barney the Dinosaur, & Teletubbies.
With such near-omnipotent wealth & power 1 might hope OW would put both to good use. Surely I jest. Why encourage intellectual discourse, rationalism, & responsibility when OW does not practice nor understand the tenets of such fundaments? Even worse, for someone so well-regarded & iconic it’s amazing how little OW knows about day-to-day America. Yes, she knows that men like to masturbate & women like to talk. Wow! But she is clueless as to how ‘little people’ really live. I’ve concluded that she is just 1 of those freak things that pops out of nowhere, & for no discernible reason takes ahold & slowly destroys- like AIDS, locusts, or Rush Limbaugh- the equally clueless, despicable, & popular pale, fat, betesticled radio Oprah for the Right Wing ½ of America who loathe the real Oprah not for her sins but for her being an uppity jig who likes gay celebrity gossip. Oy! In truth, neither Oprah nor Rush could tell you the average price a gallon of gas or milk cost in their respective neighborhoods! That’s because mansions do not exist in neighborhoods- they are entities unto themselves- just like OW.
OW’s latest sin was that she rooted out the even more moronic Dr. Phil from obscurity. This monotonous, balding, Lurch-like monstrosity of an addle-minded shrink has an even lower opinion of his audience than OW has- probably because he’s smarter, but it could be he’s even more resentful that he needed OW’s help to succeed. Together, with OW, he has accepted OW’s passing of the torch to convince another generation of obese middle-brow women that, despite constant appeals for them to empower themselves, the only way out of their dull routines is to whine & blame others. OW raised this doling out of inane homiletics to her audience to a near-scientific skill; an audience which ever seems filled of Prozac zombies, ADHD’d brats, & incest ‘survivors’ so mealy-mouthed & pathetic that 1 wishes a Saturday night with drunken Hell’s Angels who’ve spent 3 weeks out in the Mojave upon them as proof that no good victim goes unpunished.
The proof of OW’s evil, for lack of a more true or apt qualifier, is that no competent psychiatrist nor sociologist would tell you that encouraging 2 decades of whining & hand-wringing in public can do any good. Instead, OW could use the massive influence she wasted on making the inane Toni Morrison & despicable Maya Angelou household names & feted authors on higher pursuits, like attacking the real hard issues & sinister institutions that make possible the very oppressions she hypocritically bandwagons upon- corporate oligopolies, organized religion, & exploitative media outlets, to start. But, that would require 1) real effort, unlike her highly touted gift-giving sprees to starving 3rd World children & 2) risking daily ego-stroking by ticking off powers that could actually stand up to her. & why would OW actually want to effect real change since she has gotten so much from massaging & bilking the status quo for all it’s worth? The masses manifestly prefer her ultimately apathetic poseur handwringing, & they are as responsible for her hideous rise as she is. So, I guess when OW starts foisting her latest diet scam guru upon her stooges it should be no cause for alarm- after all, they want it, & I’m not that dumb. Still, I viscerally hate that sort of exploitation- to me it’s little better than those phone scammers who bilk senior citizens out of their savings by playing to their fears that their banks are in imminent bankruptcy status. This is a woman who has literally made her fortune by targeting a specific marketing group (women 18-49), surveying their vulnerabilities, & shamelessly pandering to the worst aspects of it. When Madison Avenue targets that same demographic & feeds them images of anorexic supermodels as role models OW & her minions cry foul & label the bloated white middle aged mullahs as all that’s wrong with the age, yet when she feeds them equally odious messages that incessant whining & impotent prayer are the answers to their failures, well that’s okay.
You see, OW well knows that her future earnings are dependent upon her audience ‘knowing’ they are failures in need of a role model like her. The proof of this maxim OW suckles to her engorged bosom is the latest lowest common denominator tripe to excrete from her bowels- the odious ‘O’ magazine- a sort of postmodernly unintended spoof of earlier generations’ women’s magazines. This mag has featured such edifying topics as what failure can teach a woman, how to ease the need to please, & how to learn to say no. Ironically, OW- herself- seems to never have learned a thing from these, & other inane, articles. The subtle (only to her George Romero zombie-like fans) tone behind all of these articles, & her shows, is that her audience is worthless & needs OW to show them the way. OW has thus made herself the Mother Superior for her bratty minions by fiat, yet deceived them into thinking it was all their idea. Such actions, when applied in political revolutions, are called ‘cults of personality’. Oprah is the media equivalent of Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, or Saddam Hussein- the lone difference that OW kills slowly- a neuron at a time, rather than a bullet to the head. Which method of self-annihilation is worse is debatable.
What is not is that this self-loathing, yet oddly egomaniacal, media whore seems poised for a long run even beyond tv, vamping on the weaknesses of feminine America. Would that I, or this article, could live up to my wife’s fears I would take small solace. Instead, I am left to sly parody. & Sisyphus dared to bitch?
[An expurgated version of this article originally appeared on the 1/04 Hackwriters website.]
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