Friday, April 18, 2008

A’ ‘ight. I have a confession to make...

I have been sucked into the vortex that is Oprah. It all started with the puppy mill show and since then I’ve been compelled to watch more. Not every day, mind you. Just more than usual.

The reason this bugs me is that television in general, while soothing and seductive, is a gigantic waste of time. And it Gets. Into. Your. Head. Not that getting into your head is a bad thing, if it’s something productive or positive. But what am I to do with Blondie shrieking in my head about dusting my floor?

But my opinion of television is well documented elsewhere. But Oprah, specifically?

Well, you all know that it bugs me when any one person has so much say over our culture or society – that’s one thing, and really not Oprah’s fault. There are other books out there, People. There are other voices and other opinions. And then there is Your opinion, which – believe it or not – is just as valid as Ms. Winfrey’s.

Actually, I find my fascination with watching certain shows (I avoid her celebrity shows) is that I can’t figure out which one of us is out of touch with reality.

For instance, yesterday’s show was about families who volunteered to “scale down” their consumption. This was Oprah’s idea of “hardship”: No computer (except for homework), no shopping, no cell phones, no iPods, no video games; only one hour of television; thermostat kept at 70; and no bottled water. They were required to eat home cooked meals together and, in one family’s case, were required to eat the same home cooked meal together, because apparently this was a family who thought the mother was a short order cook (and I use the word “cook” loosely since her “cooking” involved heating up prepared foods).

My reaction was, What’s the big deal? The families’ reaction? You’d have thought they’d been banished to the middle of the desert with nothing but toilet paper and a spoon. The whining from their kids alone made me want to give Heir 2 a big kiss when he walked through the door. (Ya know – I’m all about allowing my kids to verbally express themselves and understand that sometimes you don’t want to be chirpy and cheerful. However, I do demand a certain amount of civility, particularly when I am treating them civilly. If my kids talked me like these kids talked to their parents, their bedrooms would resemble a cell block on Rikers Island instead of a suite at the Sheraton.)

I can’t believe that this is a fair representation of families everywhere. And if it is, then we deserve to blow ourselves up into extinction. Come and get us, gigantic asteroid.

The day before that featured Maria Shriver who wrote a book about the obvious. Apparently it occurred to Ms. Shriver that who she Is, is not about what she does for a living. That this concept is available in any Philosophy 101 textbook is beside the point. She’s Oprah friend and has a book to ply.

Oprah, however, was absolutely incredulous that Maria Shriver had an existential crisis. “Didn’t that just shock you?” she kept prodding her audience.

Even they were too polite to point out that we’re talking “Kennedy Family” here – the family that on their own supports every rehab clinic in Massachusetts. Just Winfrey’s description of being a guest at Hyannis Port made you realize that Shriver may need more than her little (112 pages) book to find herself.

“You would never let my mother catch you just sitting watching TV,” Shriver shared.

Oh. My. I mean, I hate TV, but talk about control issues…Well, at least it’s good for the figure. Maybe a little too good, if you ask me...

I could go on and on, particularly the juxtaposition of the “scale down and go green” shows with her celebrity “fabulous luxury bathroom that helped her lose 15 pounds” shows; her “the dysfunction of accumulating ‘things’” shows with her “Oprah’s favorite things” shows.

But I’ve gone on long enough. I know this is longer than usual and would even be too long for Spot-On. Besides, I've annoyed Spot-On with my Oprah and television rants enough. I'll save my opinion about the New Earth thing for another day. (Is that an audible sigh of relief I hear?)

7 comments:

Dark Garden said...

...I saw where Oprah's guests stay.

Sisiggy said...

In that case, drop a sandwich by Maria Shriver's room.

Meg said...

Yikes, I think Oprah & her peeps are living in a different reality than I. Yet another reason for me to not watch her show. I probably would've reached into the TV and slapped those families. Step away from the tv.....

Gwynne said...

Oh, no! Not you too?! At least it sounds like you haven't quite yet crossed over...but I hear one word commanding that "everyone needs to read this" and it's over between us. ;-)

Leslie Shelor said...

Well, anyway, Oprah made me change my shoes....

Sisiggy said...

Meg: I made it a point today to stick to old movies -- "The Uninvited", to be exact.

Gwynne: Doesn't it occur to everyone that if Oprah has to read all this self-help stuff, she's just as screwed up as the rest of us and WHY IS IT WE KEEP TAKING HER ADVICE?

Leslie: I've gotta know. How or why did Oprah make you change your shoes?(And here's hoping your shoes weren't so bad it required her personal attention. Oh, wait, that would be Dirtman's shoes...)

Dark Garden said...

...they were shooting an ER scene where Ophra's guests stay. Opra wasn't there. I was gonna buy her some gumbo and a shot.