Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Don't Speak Oprah

This afternoon while doing a web search I noticed a headline screaming at me and couldn’t help but click the link.

“The Divine Ms. Winfrey”

Now, those of you who know me know that Oprah is far from my favorite person. I often lament her broad influence over our culture as well as the way her politically correct language has woven itself into our everyday vocabulary. In fact, I’ve been known to respond to such “new age-y” talk with the simple phrase “I don’t speak Oprah”. Scratch that, I usually respond “I DON’T SPEAK OPRAH!!

I know, I know… she’s done so much to put the spotlight on African Americans, poverty in Africa, New Orleans, blah blah blah… She single handedly revived the book industry in America. I get it – she has power and she’s not afraid to use it. Occasionally that will fall on good causes or good ideas.

A couple of weeks ago I was on the Radiant website (sister magazine to Relevant, which I like much better) and there was a feature article by the author of The Church of Oprah. “Oh,” I thought, “A scathing analysis on how Oprah is the figurehead for so much of what is wrong in America.” Um, wrong. In fact, it seemed to celebrate her do-good philosophy and willingness to throw money at good causes. This, Radiant, is why I won’t subscribe to your magazine.

So, this brings me to today’s article. I read it in stunned silence. I know, I know… I shouldn’t be shocked. I shouldn’t be surprised. But Oprah’s vapid inspiration (I don’t think I can even call it spirituality) as religion? A spiritual leader for the new millennium? Are people that blind to the truth that they are willing to exchange it for a lie? Wait, I think I read that somewhere. And not in an Oprah book of the month.

"She's a really hip and materialistic Mother Teresa," says Kathryn Lofton, a professor at Reed College in Portland, Ore.

Ummm… Am I the only one who sees the problem here? Again, I’m thinking rich men and the eye of a needle. Taking up your cross. Need I go on? Mother Teresa wouldn’t have been Mother Teresa if she had gone home to her villa every night.

"She's a moral monitor, using herself as the template against which she measures the decency of a nation," Lofton says.

Wow – that’s pretty scary! Oprah as the ruler and judge of morality over all of us?

Winfrey has become proof that you can't be too rich, too thin or too committed to rising to your place in the world.

I had better stop quoting or I’ll scream.

One of my favorite quotes (from one of my favorite bands) from Casting Crowns is:

“What if the family turned to Jesus and stopped asking Oprah what to do?”

At one point (many years ago) I saw Oprah as a harmless distraction for housewives stuck at home and yearning for something better than soap operas on the television in the afternoon. That’s just the problem though, she isn’t better than soap operas. Because she generally so inoffensive (until articles like this), we just accept it and don’t take much notice as language changes and she slowly tells us what to read, what to care about and what morality is. Slowly God is gone and good deeds and personal morality comes in. Except, that I hear that God is actually BIGGER than Oprah.

Storkbryght sent me a great verse this afternoon:

II Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

I love the line “what their itching ears want to hear”. Yes, you can be rich and still be a really good person. Yes, it’s all about finding your personal moral space where you feel comfortable. Except, you know, not!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to put anyone on a pedestal, but the thought of Oprah and Billy Graham lumped together as great spiritual leaders makes me want to vomit.


Blogger Janet said...

I guess we should at least be thankful that 82% of the more than 10K folks who answered the attached poll question on "Is Oprah Winfrey a spiritual leader for the new millenium?" said NO.

She is definately NOT on the same level as Mother Theresa or Billy Graham.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous jane said...

My manicurist cringes when I make an appointment at 4 o'clock, because she knows I will yell at the idiotic pseudo-psychobable spewed by Oprah and her inane guests. This was the mindless drivel I was exposed to this week. UGH!

8:24 PM  
Blogger TechnoGeekGirl said...

Oprah doesn't quite annoy me as much as Rosie used to, but then she might be scarier, because she's not nearly as divisive. She sneaks up on people. Alot of what she says makes sense on the surface, and she's good at riling people up. Too much power on ANY one person is a bad thing.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Highlighting Bono... cutting up Oprah... you're starting to sound like someone...

10:50 PM  

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