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Monday, November 23, 2009

Love And Death In The Age Of Oprah

My Mom is a big Oprah fan, but I've only seen clips of her show that have been cut and posted since way back when Carl Sagan was browbeat by the Queen of daytime for his skepticism about the local god or gods. That must have been twenty-five or thirty years ago. Don't get me wrong. Oprah is generally a force for good for a large group of people, mostly women. In a society that dumps all over women as a matter of course Ms Winfield offers a powerful symbol of succor and success. Her tendency to go off the edge with magical thinking of the self-help book genre is unsettling, but tolerable. She hasn't gone all Glen Beck with her popularity, and uses her considerable fortune to fund help for the least of our fellow humans. I think of it as populism with a heart.

Far right populism fueled at least eight murders of innocents in the first six months of the Obama administration. One doctor, four policemen, and three legal Chilean students.That doesn't count the museum guard killed by an old Nazi. Oprah has inspired none to commit homicide. The same can't be said for Operation Rescue, Glen Beck, OReiley, or Lou Dobbs. Militia recruitment is way up while Oprah continues to form book clubs and encourage people to read. No evil in her soul that I can detect, but she is retiring soon. The cheerleaders of rage show no sign of packing it in. Rupert Murdoch has brought his European style of tabloid hysteria to the mass American market and feeds the resentment of the angry and pasty. Do we go down his road or Oprah's? In Europe football (soccer) drives fans to distraction, but some teams play to empty stadiums because class, parochial and race hate make the fans too dangerous to allow filling the seats. The current flap here over H1N1 shots is nothing compared to the panic of the Old World. You can't even buy a Dorito in Paris because of their irrational fear of genetically modified crops. I don't know for sure, but I think Oprah's only entry into the food crazy field was against Alar, a ripening agent for apples and an oft seen crossword puzzle word. I know some jerk rancher in Amarillo had her charged on some blatantly unconstitutional "slander of a crop" law because she said that folk shouldn't eat so much beef. Should Obama sue the birthers?

I've always considered Oprah a lightweight, but the harm she does is just in encouraging women to seek new age solutions for problems that probably won't be solved down that path. Sort of like praying for rain.

I think I've wandered off the fairway at some point in this post. Oh well................