The Deification of Oprah
Am I the only one who just doesn't get it? It would seem that even the cynical and wry David Letterman has fallen prey to the social inertia that is steadily moving Oprah Winfrey towards sainthood. And I'm not talking our kind of Saint. First, I must openly admit, I do not watch the Oprah program anymore. There are many reasons I stopped tuning in, not the least of which is a busy life full of children and family things in the late afternoon. But that isn't the only reason- even if I sat around doing nothing all day (ha ha ha!), I still would not be interested in most of her programs. See, I just cannot relate, and don't believe a career woman, who has never been married, has no children, and enough money to support the GNP of a small nation, can relate to me. She might be able to read about me, to nod empathetically, to bring on some expert on "stay at home moms", but all this does is turn me into a caricature, a shadow of myself. And really, it's not her job to represent me- she is an entertainer; and herein lies my problem. I think Oprah believes her own press- and tries to be every woman. She is not- and never will be. The philanthropic work is great, the charity work is great, the donations and school-building in Afghanistan are great. But every time I think I will give her another shot, maybe tune in, maybe read an article out of Her magazine, the same thing happens. Every show is a celebration of Her, what is happening in Her life, what is on Her bookshelf, and what she is wearing on the cover of Her magazine this month. And it just turns me off. I can't go for the Rah-Rah, pseudo feminism and celebration of Her Oprahness. Women like me don't have personal trainers, personal chefs, a make-up artist, a hair stylist, and the finances to support and carry the careers of my nearest and dearest. Women like me don't go out and buy the fabulous new Prada diaper bag and the 4" heels to match- nor would most of us, even if we could. When I watch, which is seldom, what I see is pop-psychology, a propensity toward over-consumption, a misunderstanding of traditional families and an overabundance of dysfunctional families, subtle and ever-so-slight reverse racism, discontent, and tiny undercurrent of hostility towards men who are not exactly John Travolta or Dr. Phil. So I simply cannot understand why so many women seem to rabidly love her. And David Letterman gave new meaning to "Obsequious Toad" during his at-long-last recent interview with her. I cringe just thinking about it. What am I missing?