Every so often I’ve noticed there is an article or twelve published in the mainstream media that seeks to chop Oprah Winfrey down from the very pedestal her criticizers have placed her on. Everything from her comments about beef to her choice to put a plagiarizing author she mistakenly backed on full blast have been placed under a microscope to be heavily scrutinized with her loudest detractors crying, “Just who does she think she is?”
This time, people are whining over the talk show deity’s (well, that’s what that make her out to be anyway) decision to stump for Democratic presidential contender, Barack Obama. There are a couple of articles, namely, “Is Oprah backlash gathering steam?” that speculate for the millionth time if this will be the thing that leads to her downfall.
I wouldn’t bet your money that it does, but it’s funny to see how far this might go. The aforementioned article is particularly funny, because it features quotes from Oprah’s most avid viewers: suburbanites.
Some of these women have taken to Oprah’s official website, making comments like, “I cannot believe that woman all over this country are not up in arms over Oprah’s backing of Obama. For the first time in history, we actually have a shot at putting a woman in the White House and Oprah backs the black MAN.” This comment was made in a thread entitled “Oprah is a traitor.”
I think this person wanted to cap another word, because if this were so solely an issue of gender politics, then there would be no need to preface “MAN” with “Black.”
Then there are others, who dub her support to Obama’s campaign “a manipulation and abuse of power and influence on the American culture.” Pressed much? So basically some people don’t like that she’s used her clout, others hate that she didn’t use it the way they would prefer her to. Because of this, those positive superlatives always thrown before her name have turned sour among some of the faithful, with a few angered fans now calling her narcissistic, power hungry, and sanctimonious.
Has it ever dawned on some of these people that maybe it’s their own fault for having such unrealistic perceptions of who she is? Take blogger, Lisa Ferris, who has spent a lot of time following Oprah’s every move.
On Oprah, Ferris says:
“Oprah is like the girlfriend who comes into your home and chats with you while you fold laundry. Lately she has imaged herself into some spiritual angel mother high priestess…that has made her seem infallible and above reproach.”
Translation: “I like Oprah when she’s talking about her favorite things, or when Tom Cruise is jumping on her couch like a retarded monkey, not when she’s talking about anything of substance.” That type of self-indulgence is fitting for people whose life is fixated on tiles, towels, and tots, but Oprah grew up poor, encountered all forms of abuse, including sexual, and as a perpetual overachiever, managed to build her own media empire, so if she wants to use her money and influence on matters important to her, what’s the big deal? Besides, she’s a talk show host; they’re typically full of opinions anyway. Why are people surprised she’s decided to have one now? If people want to fold laundry and chat, don’t they have Martha Stewart? Yeah buy her towels, just skip the stock tips.
I don’t think Oprah’s narcissistic, but if she were, I wouldn’t be surprised given she blows her nose and the stock of Kleenex shoots up.
Before I’m asked, of course I fear Oprah, and indeed, if she offered me the position of the new Stedman, I’d accept, and contemplate pushing Gayle down a flight of stairs so I can get on her level, but that’s not why I’m taking up for her. I am not a regular Oprah viewer. I don’t know what her favorite things are, but I’m certain I can’t afford to even say them out loud.
Oprah is not above criticism, but criticism over her political convictions, how she spends her money, and how she views herself is annoying. I don’t need Oprah to tell me to pick up a book. I don’t need Oprah to tell me how to vote. I don’t need Oprah to tell me that I should try to do good in the world. Do I appreciate her trying to do that over her leading a Britney Spears death watch like some other media personalities? Uh huh.
As a person with her own mind who has earned her own fortune, she should be free to think and spend as she pleases. She may be using her celebrity to generate public interest in Barack Obama, but she’s not making demands as if she co-wrote the Ten Commandments. She’s enticing people to look further into him, and come to their own conclusion. Apparently some people have yet to process that. Those who feel “betrayed” by Oprah backing Obama need to latch off her bra strap and go finish folding their clothes.
And before it’s implied, no this is not a race thing. It’s more so a you can’t complain about the very power you gave her simply because she’s not using it the way you want her to, you dimwitted sheep thing.