Published on May 21st, 2011 | by tomkolovos8
MEOW: “Oprah,” Television for Dummies and Six Degrees of Graduation
“As a glimpse of talk show history, “Oprah” does illustrate how the braver and classier Phil Donahue was eventually rendered obsolete by bottom-feeding competitors like Ms. Winfrey and Jerry Springer.” Janet Maslin, The New York Times
In case you’re already tired of Oprah Winfrey and the orgy of self congratulation and delusions of grandeur that only Benvenuto Cellini had, up until now, been capable of, here’s a guilty pleasure for you.
It’s in no worse than almost all of the books Oprah chose for you to read–books which were often turned into lousier movies.
Oprah was the one who you told you that it was important to read without any regard to what you were reading. You know, like correspondence school for remedial community college students. You remember when she took it upon herself to teach you the classics. Cause she moonlights as a literature professor from Princeton, right? Oh wait, that’s Toni Morrison. Who’s he?
Congratulations. You now have a BS. in BS.
Year after year you kept coming back for more. You fell for the liquid diet. And the fat free cookies which made you and Oprah fatter. And angels. Remember the angel craze? Mood rings for baby boom moms.
And wasn’t every woman being raped in America? Every 4 seconds apparently. Or at least every other day on “Oprah.” Until of course they just stopped one day when Camille Paglia came on an ridiculed that notion and Oprah ridiculed Camille. Turns out wasn’t it Camille who ripped Oprah a new one in retrospect?
And you ran out and bought all of Oprah’s favorite things. Bet you wish you hadn’t. Wasn’t it odd that she told you that you didn’t need any of the stuff she kept telling you to buy when she would capriciously turn spiritual on you. But you bought it anyway. And she bought more and more lavish real estate compounds while you were getting sub prime mortgages. “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public,” unless, of course, you were the public. And” Oprah” went for broke underestimating all you little people out there in the dark.
A PR executive, who had very good reason to know, once told me that in order to get on “Oprah” you had to be in “The Sun Times” because all of the producers over there read “The Sun Times.” I was honestly shocked. People read “The Sun Times?” I thought they just looked at the pictures. Honestly.
Congratulations. You now have an MBA in BS.
And then came the new and improved “Oprah,” you know, the “Live your best life” one. Curiously, she showed up just as the real Oprah was getting richer and richer and attending fancier and fancier parties, while she was getting bigger and bigger and telling you weight wasn’t an issue any more but started doing makeover shows about you looking as thin as possible.
These were eventually taken over by the most flamboyant of gay men–rejects from Bravo, to be exact–who she glommed onto like gay pets. The more outlandishly gay the better. “Stepin Fetchit Affirmative Action for Flaming Queens brought to you from the Queen of Talk.” Thanks. I mean really, thank you, from the bottom of my Big Gay Heart. (That’s our musical selection of the day. If you’re preaching to the choir, you gotta have a choir, I say).
Because the egregious stereotypes of gay men in the “fashion” business did nicely to fill the void of banning inner city blacks—you know, the kind that the black bourgeoisie give a lot of lip service to but the kind they don’t see any of because they don’t put their money where their mouth is. You know, the one’s over on “Maury.”
And then she started giving away things. Except they weren’t hers to give away. They were advertiser tax write offs. But you didn’t care because “Evita”, I mean “Oprah,” in her greatest role since “Sophia” in “The Color Purple,” was so generous with other people’s money that it didn’t seem so bad when you got caught up in the excitement. Except this wasn’t a game show.
Until you thought about it. Then you realized you were getting gamed. It started to look more like “The Color of Money,” and you started to blanch. “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers” took on a whole new meaning while you were blanching , didn’t it? And then you came to realize that if you found enough people so oblivious to being manipulated, little ole insignificant you could look “impotant” too if you were in charge of the bait and switch. (“A Street Car Named Desiree Rogers,” anyone?)
And then she switched!
She really started getting spiritual on you and brought you the time tested philosophy of “The Secret.” You know the idea that you if work hard enough at imagining what you want, it suddenly materializes? How’d that work out for you around September 2008? How’s that working for you on the unemployment line right now? How’s that working with your mortgage lender and your impending foreclosure? And if the secret works, why is Oprah still fat? Shhhhh.
Congratulations, you now don’t have a Masters in Sociology. You have a Masters in Scientology.
And then she built that school for girls in South Africa because black poor people in America were not grateful enough for her to bother. “I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there,” she said. Oh really? Funny, she never tired of visiting celebrities with something to hawk. Or even fashion designers whose revenue she depends on to make her magazine profitable, now that magazines are a dying breed. Yes, I mean that infomercial, sorry interview, she just did with Ralph Lauren.
So, back to Laqueesha and Shaquanda and all other kids with the funny screwed up ghetto French names–you know, those who were curiously never inspirational enough or, like Ralph Lauren bath sheets, aspirational enough to be worthy of any attention on your show; who were so beyond your scope of inspiration as a “phenomenal black woman,” that you had to go a continent away, throw on a “Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend” fuschia gown and some Graff earrings–the price tag of which could have built a few more schools– so you could school us in vanity.
“Eat, Love, Pray that no one catches on.” But mostly eat. Ah, the road less traveled for the well heeled and gluttonous who prey among us.
Of course “time wounds all heels,” as the great American songwriter Nick Lowe once wrote. And given enough time and rope to hang herself, the school became famous for one scandal after another and the learning was limited to learning experiences for dogooders who are up for good press and nothing more.
Congratulations, you now have a BS in Education.
But wait Tom, you say. What about all those testimonials I’ve seen lately from people whose lives “Oprah” has changed over the last 25 years? Well, in the span of a quarter century, what are the odds that these people’s lives would have changed regardless? Isn’t that what happened for several thousand years before “Oprah” and will continue long after she’s gone?
I have a brother who has Down Syndrome. Every day “tomorrow” for him is Tuesday. So, once a week, on Mondays, Theo is exactly right. In the last 25 years Theo has been right 25 x 52 = 1,300 times. Did I mention “Oprah” does not have Down Syndrome? No, she does not have an abnormality on her 23rd chromosome. She’s got an abnormality on her 25th year. That’s called Up Syndrome.
Congratulations you now have a BS in Special Education.
So you’ve invested 25 years of your life watching “Oprah” and you’re no better off than listening to my retarded brother. Really!
You’re still fat. You still read bad books. You still believe in angels. You still think Oprah and Gail and Steadman are really, um, close. You still feel good about spending your time watching Celine Dion 27 times. She impoverished your intellectual life and you kept making the woman rich.
“The Wizard of Dr. Oz.” told Dorothy, for 25 years, that all she had to was believe.
And Dorothy and every friend of Dorothy’s might have believed if only they hadn’t a left brain left to speak of and the courage and the heart to spit out the Kool Aid they were being served.
Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain call that she will take this coming week.
Congratulations, you now have a PhD and the commencement speaker this week at your graduation is none other than that certain “someone who can affect as many different personae — high, low, black, not so black, tearful, bullying, tawdry, lofty — as Ms. Winfrey can.”
Congratulations, you now have a PhD in Economics and Domestic Engineering from the Bernie Madoff School of Architecture.
Tom Kolovos is Editor in Chief of aControlledSubstance.com and he would like you to know it’s pointless to blame the messenger.