Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oprah Winfrey: Fly Like An Ego

“All thru' the day I me mine, I me mine, I me mine.
All thru' the night I me mine, I me mine, I me mine.” - George Harrison

The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special
O: The Oprah Magazine
Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special
Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day
Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy
Oprah After the Show
Oprah's Guide to OWN
Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes
Oprah Presents: Master Class
Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Color Purple
OWN - The Oprah Winfrey Network

“All thru' your life I me mine.”

“Think like a queen.”
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.“
“When I look into the future, it's so bright it burns my eyes.”
“I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself.” – Oprah Winfrey
(Yes, Oprah, that’s surely what you’re lacking, sufficient self-love.)

“All I can hear I me mine, I me mine, I me mine.”

While scrutinizing the seemingly, inestimable array of questionable, quality programming available from the boundless bounty that is the cornucopia of contemporary cable, I happily happened upon OWN. Excited by the possible prospect of round the clock presentations of adroit, astute and intelligent English theatrical adaptations, imagine the distress and disappointment upon the reveal that OWN was not the Oscar Wilde Network. But remote control still un-clicked and faith still in tact, there certainly would be nothing particularly pernicious about enjoying an evening of light escapist fare featuring the quirkily appealing star of today’s most popular and most ribald romcoms. Alas, as in the lyrics of the great Jackie Wilson’s, “Higher and Higher, “ disappointment was my closest friend, for neither was this the Owen Wilson Network. So then, what had I stumbled upon? What was the true nature of this cable phenomenon? Was I instead destined to discover much about Olivia Wilde or perchance Oliver Wendell Holmes? Or perhaps I had been fortunate to find a network dedicated to Oliver Wendell Douglas, one completely devoted to the work of Eddie Albert. And then it happened.

Onto my light emitting diodes exploded a promo for a new program, “Oprah Winfrey: Master Class.” While the tone of said commercial suggested nothing less then a coronation or even conceivably the hotly anticipated arrival of end of days, what we were actually being presented with was truly far more significant than either. As explained by the “voice of God” delivered copy line, “Oprah turns the camera on Oprah!” Then in a close-up much too tight for anyone’s large screen HDTV, except for maybe Gayle’s, the anointed one looked sincerely to camera and expounded upon her philosophies and the overall wonderfulness that is Dame Winfrey. In what was indisputably the most momentous half minute of any of our unessential existences she assured us of how blessed we are to have her among us. As Cole Porter would intone, from this moment on, Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, wars, births, weddings and deaths would all be rendered thoroughly meaningless, for now we were consecrated with a show in which Oprah would explain the everlasting ecstasy that is Oprah. We are not worthy. Our country, our society, our world as a whole - nay, our solar system, galaxy and universe - need more Oprah. Her underexposure is the thing of tragedies. For indeed, she may have her own 24 hour television network about herself, her outlook, her crucial consequence in our lives, but sadly, she is not on every television network 24 hours a day and we are genuinely poorer for that.

It’s entirely possible that somewhere in one of the more remote sections of the world where they have the misfortune of not having being exposed to the snuggie or the thigh-master or to Snookie, someone from the cast of The Gods Must Be Crazy may someday turn to a compatriot and forlornly express that what their civilization is missing, is more Oprah. But, on a planet that houses the likes of Donald Trump, William Shatner and Sarah Palin (sorry, snarky, forced and often unrelated Palin references are a contractual obligation) one would be hard-pressed to think of a more self-absorbed, more self-important personality, and one less in need of more television time than hers truly. In reality, wouldn’t it be healthier for both Oprah and ourselves, as a reasoning and independent peoples, if we gave each other a little “me“ time, a little time apart? Aren’t we all really enablers to Oprah’s need for constant attention and public validation? Isn’t it time to explore life on our own and sever those apron strings? And is there really anything more we can learn about Oprah? For example, I have no interest in her life yet, despite that, I know about her troubled childhood and her recent discovery of a lost sibling, I know about Gayle and Steadman. She’s omnipresent, omnipotent, and seemingly completely void of any desire for privacy.

If Oprah went on the air and proclaimed it “Stab Your Spouse Day” then, excitedly and exuberantly, told the audience to reach under their seats for their own personal and gratis stiletto, no doubt within hours the streets would flow crimson. From whence does such power and influence rise? To have such persuasion, such control over people’s habits, purchases, behaviors, yes and sometimes, very thoughts – she must hold some mighty and critical office. She must have been born into royalty. She must possess some rare and unique ability and talent, perhaps even some form of a superpower … or maybe she’s brightened the formerly bleak landscape of television with such imperative and urgent fair as -“Secret Crushes,” “How to Get the Man or Woman of Your Dreams,” "When Your Best Friend Steals Your Man" and its popular follow-up, "When a Family Member Steals Your Man,” She hosts a pop psychology/gossip/celebrity chat daytime talk show. Like Ricky Lake and Jenny Jones and Sally Jesse Raphael and Richard Bey. Well done, and completely deserving of a Kennedy Center Honor. And what of unfortunate, founding-father Phil Donahue, the founder of the feast, now relegated to irrelevancy and unremitting reassurance by Marlo that he is free to be, you and me?

Oprah Winfrey is a powerful woman, some say even more powerful than a locomotive, and to finally give her some much deserved credit, she uses that power to do a lot of good and worthy and charitable things. She gives much of her time and her fortune. She has helped to enrich the lives of many people. She is well known for her immense generosity. And how is that generosity so well known? She makes sure she tells us. Some generous gentry approach philanthropy in a more dignified, quiet manner while others are more “self-horn-blowers,” if you would, and bring camera crews, produce multi-part special episodes, make TV documentaries and narrate books-on-tapes about their magnanimity. She should be praised but is there room for others to praise her when she spends so much time and energy doing it herself?

“I always knew I was destined for greatness” - Oprah Winfrey.

The Beatles perform the George Harrison composition, “I me mine.”

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