So Long, Oprah. We Hardly Knew Ya.

Let me get this straight.  Oprah Winfrey is Loved and idolized by millions of people around the world.  This week, the Oprah Winfrey Show leaves the airwaves as the most successful daytime TV series in history.

But I just don’t get it.

In her second-to-last show, in front of thousands of audience members, Oprah was idolized by dozens of her best friends.  They included Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Madonna, Beyonce, Dakota Fanning, Diane Sawyer, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Rascal Flatts, Stevie Wonder, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jerry Seinfeld, Simon Cowell, Rosie O’Donnell, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Gayle King, Maria Shriver, Alicia Keys, Usher and Josh Groban.  In some cases, these celebrities actually worshipped her on the show.  Aretha Franklin even sang Amazing Grace in praise and honour of the poor girl from Mississippi.

Sure, I can see how celebrities might befriend and be attracted to other celebrities.  But why is she so popular amongst us peasants?

Is must be because people can related to her, right?  Sure, she’s overcome adversity, sexual abuse and poverty in rural Mississippi and made herself one of the most successful people in the world.  But can we really relate to her?  She makes $315 million a year with a estimated net worth of over $3 billion. She has a half-dozen homes across the world, including a spectacular mansion on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  Her yacht there is bigger that any one of our homes.  It’s true.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Sadly, Oprah’s idea of happiness is excess – surrounded by plenty of her “friends”, extravagant spending and material wealth.

Perhaps we Love her because she is a renowned philanthropist?  Sure, she’s established a foundation that has given over $300 million to charity, but she raises that money.  She hasn’t been known for giving her own money, except letting money “rain” in spectacular ways for her TV audience.  That always makes for great TV and PR.

But what about that all-girls school in Africa?  Oh yeah, I forgot about that.  But why did Oprah decide to establish the school in Africa rather than in her home state of Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the union?  That amount of funds would have made two or three tribal schools in any number of impoverished Indian reservations.  Amid claims of abuse and sexual misconduct, the Oprah School seems to be benefiting the local corrupt government rather than the 150 students hand-picked by Mama Oprah.

But Oprah shouldn’t have to give her own money because she works hard and has earned it, right?  Right!  She’s a consummate workaholic.  Spends most of her time on business dealings, investments and working on her production company.  But one of the big criticisms of the new Oprah Winfrey Network is there is no Oprah on it.  And her last big business deal with Sirius-XM, “Oprah and Friends”, didn’t actually require her to do much.  How does this benefit her fans, if they only get the Oprah name?  Although, it made a great platform for her friends, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Gail King.

That’s it!  She is a great friend.  Well, in reality, she has trouble showing her emotions to her friends, including her BFF Gail King.  And poor Stedman, he’s been hanging, waiting for marriage since the mid-80’s because Oprah is afraid of commitment.

Sure, she has conquered her weight problem… again and again and again and again.  No criticism there, she’s just like the rest of us.

But how much is real about Oprah?  She doesn’t leave the house without her entourage of personal staff, assistants, publicists, producers, hairstylist, make-up artist, security, drivers, personal trainer, her pilot and aircrew.  Once again, lots of “friends”.  Everything we see from Oprah on TV, in the news, in her magazine and on the radio has been carefully scripted, to manipulate us: the consumer, the viewer, the reader and the listener.  Do we really know the real Oprah?  Who does?

Admittedly, I don’t get Oprah.  I’m not a fan at all.  The show is a bit too touchy-feely, for someone who has emotional troubles herself, and whose idea of therapy is buying an $8000 handbag and jetting off to Atlantis on a moment’s notice.  The show is far to manipulative when she can make bestselling authors out of plain ole frauds.  But I’m really not much for celebrities and their manufactured, sanitized world.  I think they have the same problems as the rest of us, and as we can read, they may have even more.

My guess, is she will spend the whole of her last show with her true, best and only friend…  Oprah herself.

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One Comment

  1. Roberta Bailey says:

    Very well said Bob..