Why I hate dislike Oprah

I started this entry with a lot of good arguments to support my anti-Winfrey sentiment. Like a good journo should, I went to research the facts before spitting them out. What I found, put me to shame. I have therefore abandoned the pseudo comical yet invidious entry inspired by recent viewings of the show. I’ve changed tack slightly.

Oprah Winfrey, born Orpah Gail Winfrey adopted the now infamous brand name (Oprah) due to the difficulty in pronouncing her original name. The ‘p’ and the ‘r’ were interchanged. A lot of people love her. The hype surrounding her is unbelievable. Unfathomable. A black woman has managed to stay on the airwaves, celluloid and now in print for almost 2o years, and given her personal history deserves all credit due her way.

My only beef with her (and this is a recently raised sentiment, I used to be an avid Oprah-er (short for Oprah lover)) is the commodotisation of self awareness, spirituality, love, guidance and even religion. I take personal issue with the fact that she has an opinion on EVERYTHING and find her shows have now become self serving entertainment. I mean how awesome would it be to get people and issues on your show that interest you, couple them with some fun props, activities and gift bags and just sit around to have a good ‘ol yarn. Really, do we not have anything better to do with our time?

I’m also never a big fan of people worship. Which is what I find a lot of the Oprah audience do. There seems to be a communal/global (?) attitude toward Oprah that invokes a sort of sacred reverence of this deity like character-enterprise. Stupid shows breed stupid audiences, or do stupid audiences instigate the creation of stupid shows? A new twist to the “chicken and egg” debate.

I used to find Oprah interesting, informative and insightful. Not to mention humble and genuinely interested in bringing “real issues” to the fore front. I’ve not found her to be this lately. And those are my objections to the enterprise that is Oprah (her charity missions not withstanding).

Respect where its due, Oprah has over come severe personal, social and economic hardships. She’s set up charities and done tonnes of good, and continues to do so. Not to mention the personal lives of people she’s improved. But I just find hero worship and audience cues to ooh, ahh, hold solemn minute of silence, clap, cheer and cry trite and really rather insulting.

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11 thoughts on “Why I hate dislike Oprah

  1. Good post, Maryam!

    All the Americans I know are Drama Kings/Queens. I find them to be overtly emotional and a bit exaggerated. Unfortunately, Oprah does that too. I prefer a stiff upper lip over this drama. Most of the ‘mock’ audience she has in her theatre is the same. They are supposed to do their oohs and aahs to win the goody bags.

    I also think that it is not easy to run a show for this long so maybe these are her new tactics/techniques or maybe she’s just lost after so long; she doesn’t know what to do to appeal to public.

    But I love that woman!

  2. I agree with a lot of what you said. The 5 minute scream/clap/ooh-ahh thing in the beginnings is a little much… I think her show could be much “deeper”, but that isn’t really what viewers like. We want to see shocking things (rapes/kidnaps/survival/’plights’) or just plain old celebrity gossip.

    She does a better job than any other talk show (compare Maury [“Who’s the Daddy?”], Montel [“Sylvia Browne…”], or Tyra [“omg what’s she wearing”]) in bringing real issues to viewers, but I think she said this on her recent DVD set (yeah, lol) that the show is tailored to the “moms watching tv while they prepare dinner at 5 in the evening” … what can we expect from a show made for the average pastel-top-and-capri-length-pants American woman?

    I love her, too! πŸ˜›

  3. Hey Leena, welcome aboard.

    Looking at the target audience yeah, you’re right, these shows would appeal to the mum’s at home audience. I just find her a bit over done.

    Saly: Fanx! And yeah give me Parkinson any day!

  4. haven’t seen that one but i’m not a Dame Edna fan, that guy CREEPS me out!

    i should probably clarify that i’ve no personal feelings towards Oprah the person, its more the Oprah the talkshows.

  5. A few years ago, she asked an author to appear for her “book club” and he said no. Being featured by Oprah is worth millions and he said no basically because he thought her whole “scene” was warped and he couldn’t fit his writing into her world. So not everybody praises her.

  6. that was jonathan franzen for “the corrections” right? the book attracted opes because it was about family dysfunction, but it was also about commoditisation and corporatisation of american culture- which oprah and the book club hoo ha epitomises so i can see his quandary. However! critics were like- if shes getting people to read- isnt that good? So yeah she’s an megalamaniacal business woman intent on world domination but she’s my megalamaniacal business woman intent on world domination πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Lola, welcome aboard πŸ™‚

    I dont think her plot’s as sinister as all that. I just feel that she’s got very little grasp on matters. Ok basically right, you can’t keep doing this for so long and keep it interesting. Its tried and tired. The other thing is, her shows dont make me love her personality, it jus irritates me more. She looks BORED on her own shows! And its just like an afternoon treat for her… I read on a blog once that she handed out the “chutzpah” award to Irshad Manji and that pretty much sealed my growing dislike of her and the opinion that she’s an over rated hack. Realising this shocked me muchly as I too was part of the crowd that actually respected her. Then last week she was reciting a poem with some other black woman who had written it. And it was about christmas, or christ and peace and harmony and loving the world. I’m like, suddenly you’re christian?

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