Because I don’t get it.
Look, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Oprah. And to be fair, I’ve only watched a few episodes, recently, because I wanted to understand the phenomenon since she’s in her last season. And I know about the weight issues, and her childhood issues and how nice it is that she seems to genuinely invested in helping people. Basically, I want to make it clear that she seems like a good person. I’m not jumping up and down screaming “I hate Oprah!” And I think that the results of her work are terrific – I think she gets people talking about topics that might have been considered taboo, and inspires more people to read, and watch The Way We Were on the OWN channel, which is a very enjoyable movie.
All that said, I just don’t get why every woman in America loves her to an extent that Liz Lemon – my imaginary friend – says that she worships at the church of Oprah.
When I watched these episodes, I was really ready to be swept off my feet by this lady with the nicely coiffed hair. I mean, Ellen DeGeneres can sweep me off my feet just by doing a fun little dance. But I wasn’t swept away by Oprah, and I’m really confused about why one of my junior high advisors is suddenly the most famous woman in America.
Interesting deviation into my personal life:I once had a junior high teacher. Full stop! No, she was fond of sitting very close to people and saying things like “you need to let your potential soar like a bird!” and “you have all the possibilities in the world inside of you!” I found her terrifying and overwhelming. I never knew how I was supposed to respond to any of that. I believe I said “oh, okay, that’s…yay. Good. I like birds.” I always felt like saying “what if I have some of the world’s possibilities inside me, but not the scary ones? Not the ‘becoming a serial killer’ ones?” Other than that, I just don’t believe potential is a thing that soars, so much as kind of galumphs slowly and trips a lot but, at best lumbers on relentlessly, like a zombie or yeti.
I keep feeling like the “soar like a bird” lines are the sorts of things Oprah says, with wonderful, sweeping music behind them that makes them believable. But I’m not sure these statements are believable. I really think a lot of it might just be the soundtrack. Basically, I’m reluctant to believe in drastic alterations of of human nature that occur from appearing on television and crying. I’m sure there is some kind of catharsis that people derive from being in Oprah’s presence, but I sort of think that it would be better for some of the people on Oprah’s show to be in therapy, working through their issues with a professional over years.
I also feel like there are some contradictions going on – say, doing shows on the topic of poverty, and encouraging women to spend less, but then showcasing products in a way that makes women… want to go out and buy products.
Maybe I’m just too cynical to be into Oprah, though. Because I believe in a slow slog rather than magical transformations. I feel like this woman is selling the “love yourself because you’re courageous and everything will be okay!” line of logic that sets off all my skeptic alarms.
I really do want to understand why other people seem to love her as much as they do, because I know I’m in the minority. Is it her personal struggles? Her giveaways? Her inspiring messages about potential?
That said, the OWN channel. Elizabeth. The Way We Were. Gosh, that’s just an enjoyable channel.