Today on Blogcritics
Home » Books » Book Reviews » Book Review: Ruthless – A Tell-All Book by Keifer Bonvillain

Book Review: Ruthless – A Tell-All Book by Keifer Bonvillain

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

If you are laughing upon sight of this review of Ruthless: A Tell-All Book, I can say that I join you in your laughing. I’m going to be upfront and say that I’m no fan of Oprah Winfrey for many reasons. Yet, one would think that I’d be giving this trashy anti-Oprah book positive reviews then, right? First, a bit of background.

Keifer Bonvillain worked as an office manager at Harpo Studios when he decided to tape record Oprah and then write a tell-all book about it. I’m not going into the details as to what prompted him, since that’s not really that important, and if you really want to know you can buy the book yourself. But chances are after reading my review you won’t bother. The problem resides in so many discrepancies and so much he-said she-said gossip that one can only take this account as seriously as one does the National Enquirer. Much of the information the author provides, for example, is told second hand through a guy named “Todd.” Some of the “juicy” tidbits revealed are as follows: Oprah is a racist, a lesbian, a liar, a greedy wench, and while all or none of this may be true, even if it were true, it’s not like one can trust that the author is telling the truth.

Just to give an example, Todd spends a good deal of time discussing the many ways in which Oprah is a racist, specifically how she chooses to discriminate against black males — either by portraying them as violent “wife beaters” in the films she’s been involved in or having hardly any black men on her staff — to having very few black male authors in her book club. In the film Their Eyes Were Watching God, for example, the actor who played Tea Cake was actually a light skinned black male, rather than the dark-skinned man Hurston describes in her novel. The author then believes this to be another piece of proof in the Oprah racist puzzle. Of course, any Oprah fan could undermine his claim by the mere mention that Oprah endorsed Barack Obama for President. In fact, there were many places online that were calling Oprah a racist, yet in the other direction – simply because she backed up Obama because he was black… So which is it?

So now onto the book club. I have no problem criticizing Oprah’s mawkish, dumbed down book club selections, but if one is going to do so, one also has to have his facts straight. Bonvillain provides a list of the author names Oprah’s chosen for her club, and has divided the authors up between male and female and also into races. He lists Carson McCullers, the author of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, as a male author, when just a simple Google search could have fixed that problem. Also, his complaint isn’t that the many books she chooses are equivalent to the Beavis and Butthead of literature (many are, not all) but that she doesn’t choose enough black people.

Also, did you know that Oprah and Gayle King are lesbians? How does he know, you are wondering? Here’s what he says:

“Gay partners enjoy traveling together. Oprah and Gayle have seen the world through each other’s eyes.”

“Gay couples enjoy fine dinning [sic]. Oprah and Gayle have dinned [sic] at some of the finest restaurants in the world.”

“Gay couples enjoy going to events and parties together. Oprah and Gayle have been photographed thousands of times at events and parties.”

“Gay couples enjoy planning things together. Oprah and Gayle have planned balls, parties, charity events, trips, shows, and much more.”

Are you laughing yet? Okay, even if this were real and true “evidence”, what does that matter? I can’t stand Oprah for her phoniness, her materialism, and her New Age psychobabble, yet even if she was a “lesbian” that isn’t anyone’s business, and frankly I don’t care. And neither should you. 

Ruthless then has over a hundred pages of typed transcripts, all with hyperbolic headings like, “Oprah’s Attorney has called and he is scared!”

For as much as the author wished to “expose” Oprah as the phony and liar she is, he certainly didn’t succeed with this book. Yet he does mention the point about when Oprah and Gayle went on their cross-country trip together and “crashed” two weddings and then later aired them on her show. The book claims they had crashed four weddings – yet the pair had been asked to leave at two of them. This little point was left out when the show aired. Yes, Oprah is a megalomaniac who believes she can “crash” anyone’s wedding and will thereby be welcome simply because she’s a rich celebrity. This selfish feeling of entitlement is something that her fans continually overlook.

It is impossible to take this book seriously, and it only succeeds in backfiring, giving Oprah fans more ammo in her defense. I would invite anyone to actually write a serious anti-Oprah book that discusses the hypocrisy she represents, from her silly endorsement of “The Secret” to the spoiled brat author Elizabeth Gilbert and her childish “advice” in Eat, Pray, Love, to Oprah’s endless preaching and fluffy interviewing style, to the “promotion” of Hallmark Card doggerelist Maya Angelou. (I was sickened when I happened to see when she had Sting on her show a few years back to discuss his memoir, and instead of asking the musician serious questions about his career, she asked what he and his wife did in bed together – had this been a man asking this of a woman, you can bet there’d be complaints, but coming from a woman it’s okay).

A while back I looked up an old Donahue episode on You Tube, where Ayn Rand was a guest. Say what you want about Rand’s belief system, Phil Donahue actually challenged her, and it was an intelligent discussion. Imagine daytime television actually discussing Aristotle and Objectivism. We don’t get that anymore. We get Dr. Phil (and you know who you have to thank for that).

And yes, I know Oprah has donated much of her money to various charities, as do many rich celebrities (it helps when tax time comes along and it also gives her more padding in her defense). But this doesn’t exempt her from criticism. Yet, if one is going to criticize, one has to at least not resort to tabloid trash gossip (because then one is just lowering one’s self to her level, i.e., remember the pregnant man?)

Anyway, so don’t bother with Oprah, or this book – that’s my advice. And before you go calling me “jealous” of her “success” I’d like to mention that at least I don’t exploit people on national television – and I also look better in jeans.

Powered by

About Jessica Schneider

  • Tina

    Good review, but I disagree with some of your anti-Oprah rhetoric.

    “Exploit” is a very strong term. I don’t think anyone on Oprah is being exploited because all guests are voluntary. I don’t even think Jerry Springer exploits people, and Springer would say that it’s news that exploits people because everyday news forces people who don’t want to be on TV into the spotlight, usually for a sensational story.

    I also don’t think you should dismiss Oprah as just one of many celebrity philanthropists. She’s actually given HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of her own hard earned money to charity according to Business Week (more than any other black or performer in U.S. history). Yes she may get a tax break, but she’s given far more money than most people with twice her net worth, and she had to overcome racism, sexism, weightism, poverty, illegitimacy, sexual abuse, drugs, and teen pregnancy to acquire the wealth she so generously gives.

    And while you may have disdain for Oprah interviewing pregnant men, the book FREAKS TALK BACK by Yale sociologist Joshua Gamson argues that the tabloid talk show genre, pioneered by Donahue, but revolutionized and turned into a huge industry after the success of Oprah, did more to make gays mainstream and socially acceptable than any other development of the 20th century.

    You may dismiss Oprah’s newage psychobable, but she has brought the world a more inclusive, less dogmatic, and wholly secular form of spirituality. As for her materialism, her latest book club pick A NEW EARTH argues that materialism is the root of unhappiness.

    And how are her book club selections dumbed down? On the contrary, no one has done more to make literature accessible to the masses, often excellent literature like Cormac McCarthy, Tolstoy, Faulkner, and Morrison.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tina:

    Exploit is the correct term. Oprah got rich expoliting the dumbest white trash out there. If one uses those not as powerful not intelligent for one’s own selfish purposes, that is exploitation, regardless if consent is given. A retard can consent to let you play a joke on him in public, but it is exploitation.

    As for her wealth, running a tv show is hardly hard work, any more than any other celebrity is a hard worker. The very notion of celebrity is being known sans accomplishment.

    ‘she had to overcome racism, sexism, weightism, poverty, illegitimacy, sexual abuse, drugs, and teen pregnancy’

    As for weightism, she has herself to blame. This is not something that, like skin color, she has no choice in, and sexual abuse- this is her claim. There has never been any proof of it, and those she accused are dead. And, if prego as a teen, whose fault is that- yours?

    ‘pioneered by Donahue, but revolutionized and turned into a huge industry after the success of Oprah’

    Donahue talked intelligently of homosexuality and a myriad of other topics. Oprah made it acceptable to revive freak shows on tv, the 21st C. equivalent of carnival exploitation- what a humanist!

    And her 50th birthday bash was the most grotesque exercise in self-hagiography since the time of Midas.

    ‘You may dismiss Oprah’s newage psychobable, but she has brought the world a more inclusive, less dogmatic, and wholly secular form of spirituality.’

    She’s made the brain-dead ramblings of Joseph Campbell seem deep by comparison. Let’s see, Buddha, Ghandi, and Deepak Chopra. ‘Nuff said.

    ‘On the contrary, no one has done more to make literature accessible to the masses, often excellent literature like Cormac McCarthy, Tolstoy, Faulkner, and Morrison.’

    She only picked classics after trotting out Danielle Steel level trash for nearly a decade, then having her club implode with James Frey’s crap. And, the ‘classics’ yuo mention are not even that great. Where’s Melville, Twain, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn?

  • Tyler

    “Exploit is the correct term. Oprah got rich expoliting the dumbest white trash out there. If one uses those not as powerful not intelligent for one’s own selfish purposes, that is exploitation, regardless if consent is given. A retard can consent to let you play a joke on him in public, but it is exploitation.”

    Well it’s pretty elitist to assume that lower class whites are too dumb to know any better. Did it ever occur to you that maybe these people are proud of their lower class culture and have no problem with displaying it for all the world to see? The rest of TV reflected exclusively upper middle class values. What’s wrong with having a space where lower class culture could be visible?

    “As for weightism, she has herself to blame. This is not something that, like skin color, she has no choice in, and sexual abuse- this is her claim. There has never been any proof of it, and those she accused are dead. And, if prego as a teen, whose fault is that- yours?”

    Well her weight problem developed after the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and having a baby who died when she was 14. She also recently discovered a thyroid imbalance. The baby she had at 14 is a consequence of her being a promiscuous teen which itself is a side effect of abuse. I believe her claims about abuse. She has proven to be a woman of exceptional honesty, in addition sexual abuse happens frequently to poor girls in the ghetto. It’s believable, especially given the subsequent promiscuity and weight problem.

    “Donahue talked intelligently of homosexuality and a myriad of other topics. Oprah made it acceptable to revive freak shows on tv, the 21st C. equivalent of carnival exploitation- what a humanist!”

    Donahue talked intelligent about a lot of topics, but unfortunately he was a lone voice in a sea of traditional media. Then Oprah came along and focused the juicer topics Donahue was covering (homosexuality) and through in an element of personal confession, and quickly doubled his ratings and showed how much money and publicity Donahue’s format could generate when taken to extremes. She was quickly followed by dozens and dozens of immitators (Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, Geraldo, Jerry Springer,) eager to cash in to; each one juicier than the one before until gays, lesbians, transgender people, and transexuals were on TV all day, every day for well over a decade.

    According to the Yale study Tina cited, these late 20th century freak shows provided much needed high impact media visibility for sexual nonconformists, as they were in the living rooms of tens of millions of Americans all day, every day (the genre even spread to Europe). They broke the taboo, desensitized North Americans to gays, and made them mainstream to the point where they started appearing on shows like Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Broke Back Mountain. Gay teens began coming out of the closet younger and younger, gay suicide rates plummeted. It’s the reason Ellen had Oprah play the therapist on her Coming Out show in the 1990s, and why Time magazine named Oprah one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

    “She only picked classics after trotting out Danielle Steel level trash for nearly a decade, then having her club implode with James Frey’s crap. And, the ‘classics’ yuo mention are not even that great. Where’s Melville, Twain, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn?”

    A literary scholar named Kathleen Rooney did an analysis of all the books Oprah chose (prior to focusing on classics) and found that the majority of them got good reviews in elitist sources like the New York Times book review. The notion that she picks crappy books emerged mostly because a lot of literary elitists resented the fact that an overweight black female watched by soccer moms is the most influential literary figure of our time and thus trashed her book club at every turn. It’s nothing more than racism, sexism, weightism, mixed in with good old fashion snobbery. Same old. Same old.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    Tyler: getting a positive review in the NYT is nothing to boast about. That girl who wrote a fake memoir about being a gang member got a positive review in the NYT. So what? That doesn’t change the fact that Oprah promoted dozens of bad PC writers.

    “What’s wrong with having a space where lower class culture could be visible?”

    Nothing, except is does no good revealing them as fat slobs who engage in incest and who can’t hold down a job–it only confirms the stereotype that elitists–or in this case–those who watch Oprah have against them. The point is that Springer doesn’t take himself seriously but Oprah does, making it seem like her exploitation is somehow “good” for them and the culture, when nothing of any intellect, or greater good for the culture, is going on. It just gives people an excuse to gawk.

    What purpose did the pregnant man serve? Other than redeeming her ratings (which have been lower this year than in previous years) that’s all it did.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    TYler:

    ‘What’s wrong with having a space where lower class culture could be visible?’

    Nothing, if it does not indulge in stereotypes. Would you say the same if fat black women with head scarves were portrayed as lovin’ fried chicken and looking after young white babies?

    ‘Well her weight problem developed after the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and having a baby who died when she was 14. She also recently discovered a thyroid imbalance. The baby she had at 14 is a consequence of her being a promiscuous teen which itself is a side effect of abuse. I believe her claims about abuse. She has proven to be a woman of exceptional honesty, in addition sexual abuse happens frequently to poor girls in the ghetto. It’s believable, especially given the subsequent promiscuity and weight problem.’

    Again, there is only her claim- millions claim to be abused, but this is just a claim. Millions claim to be abused by Satanists and aliens, but it’s just a claim, and this culture feeds on people who abnegate personal responsibility, something Oprah perpetuates.
    Her promiscuity could also be because she was promiscuous, liked sex, and when confronted with it decided to find a catch-all excuse. All you are doing is rationalizing something you’ve no real knowledge of.

    ‘She has proven to be a woman of exceptional honesty, in addition sexual abuse happens frequently to poor girls in the ghetto.’

    What honesty, and the second part of your statement is a stereotype. No wonder you’re a fan.

    ‘Then Oprah came along and focused the juicer topics Donahue was covering (homosexuality) and through in an element of personal confession, and quickly doubled his ratings and showed how much money and publicity Donahue’s format could generate when taken to extremes.’

    Personal confession included lesbian nuns, women who had affairs, people involved in fetishism, and other sexual perversions? Again, this is all rationalization on your part. Oprah, as Jes points out, is a voyeur with no self-confidence. Even her billions cannot comfort her, so her weight fluctuates and she has now returned to unbridled exploitation since New Ageism has slid in the ratings.

    ‘found that the majority of them got good reviews in elitist sources like the New York Times book review’

    Romance crap and memoirs on Holocaust survivors whop claim to live with wolves get good reviews in the NY TImes. There is NO real literary criticism. And, even Oprah admitted her Book Club was lightweight, thus why she stopped picking contemporary crap for a while. Next.

  • Tyler

    “That doesn’t change the fact that Oprah promoted dozens of bad PC writers.”

    Perhaps if you actually looked at her complete book club selections, you would realize that the majority are in fact good literature. As for the ones that are not; they had other merits like giving a voice to the female and African American experience. And sometimes she just wanted to give her audience a break with some fun summer reading.

    “Nothing, except is does no good revealing them as fat slobs who engage in incest and who can’t hold down a job–it only confirms the stereotype that elitists–or in this case–those who watch Oprah have against them.”

    This reminds me of the time Oprah debated a sociologist who condemned tabloid talk shows for portraying America as a country of dysfunctional marriages and dysfunctional families and people who cheat on their spouses, to which Oprah replied “HELLO! We are!” to huge cheers from the audience. Perhaps the reason she shows were so popular is because people were tired of seeing the perfect America as it was portrayed on the Brady Bunch, the Cleavers, the Cosby Show, and other unrealistic ideals that made people feel inadequate. They wanted to see the real America; they wanted to see shows that had a common denominator for them. And one reason Oprah was the most successful of them all was because unlike shows like Springer that were voyeurs into the lives of freaks, Oprah had the marketing genius to discuss all her own problems: troubled love life, incestuous sexual abuse, poor background, black, promiscuous teen years, emotionally abusive boyfriends, weight problem. She was her own best guest.

    As for the pregnant man, the purpose that serves is to break yet another taboo, give visibility to those outside the mainstream, and to validate alternative life styles.

    “The point is that Springer doesn’t take himself seriously but Oprah does,”

    Well back when Oprah hosted a tabloid talk show she didn’t take herself seriously either. Since 1995, she has distanced herself from the tabloid talk show genre she popularized and has come to take television far more seriously, and Springer has exploited the void she left in the market.

    “She’s made the brain-dead ramblings of Joseph Campbell seem deep by comparison. Let’s see, Buddha, Ghandi, and Deepak Chopra. ‘Nuff said.”

    I think you’re kind of missing the point. What Oprah did so brilliantly was secularized spirituality, giving millions of Americans an alternative to the dogma of the church. When you consider how much ignorance, opposition to science, homophobia, war, and violence has been promoted by religious fundamentalists all over the world, and all through history, Oprah’s influence can only be seen as positive.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “Oprah’s influence can only be seen as positive.”

    The fact that we are disagreeing shows this statement is not true. She can ONLY be seen as a positive? What about the point in the article where she asked Sting to elaborate on what he and his wife did in bed together? How is this relevant to his music career? Is this supposed to “validate alternative life styles” as well? What if she had been a man asking that of a woman? What do you think the media would have done? It’s PC hypocrisies–something she has exemplified again and again, where she uses her personal woundology (as you are doing in her defense–her weight, race, being a woman, growing up poor, rape, etc) to fail to take responsibilities for her actions.

    And we haven’t even gotten into her spoiled sense of entitlement she has, though in fairness, most celebs have this anyway.

    The majority of her books are not good literature, few of them are, and as for your comment about: “they had other merits like giving a voice to the female and African American experience.”

    Actually, no, since it does no good for the African American experience to promote a Hallmark Card writing hack like Maya Angelou. This is just making an excuse for bad writing. And then there was that kid in the wheelchair who is dead now. That’s what passes for poetry these days, according to Oprah.

    Your defenses are out of Political Correctness, the whole point that you are missing is that Oprah still exploits people, though at least in the 80s she was honest about it and had no pretenses. Now she claims to want to “validate alternative life styles” by having a pregnant man on her show, and she’s managed to sucker in millions of gullible fans at her defense, getting them to believe her exploitations are really a “validation of alternative lifestyles.”

    But the worst is her dumbing down of the culture in the way she has. That’s why I much prefer Charlie Rose. At least he asks tough interviewing questions, not “What do you and your wife do in bed together.”

  • Tyler

    “What if she had been a man asking that of a woman? What do you think the media would have done?”

    True, that’s one of the few cultural advantages of being a female. But you overlook the disadvantages, especially of being a black female. One example is the backlash she got for giving her audience cars but not mentioning there were taxes. Of course a white male named Bob Barker had been giving away free cars and not mentioning the taxes for twenty years, but it only became an issue when a black woman did it. There is subtle racism and sexism when a black woman gets too big for her bridges.

    “The majority of her books are not good literature”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that point.

    “Actually, no, since it does no good for the African American experience to promote a Hallmark Card writing hack like Maya Angelou.”

    Well Oprah first read Angelou as a child and it had a profound impact on her life because for the first time her experience as a poor black girl who had been raped had been validated, and if it had such an impact on her, she felt it could benefit others. But there’s no author who Oprah promotes more than Nobel prize winning Toni Morrison, whose books have not only been selected for her book club repeatedly, but also turned into a movie staring Oprah.

    “Now she claims to want to ‘validate alternative life styles’ by having a pregnant man on her show, and she’s managed to sucker in millions of gullible fans at her defense, getting them to believe her exploitations are really a ‘validation of alternative lifestyles.'”

    How exactly was the pregnant man being exploited? By going on TV and having Oprah complement him and his wife for an hour, telling them how courageous and spiritually evolved they are? Just because the show got high ratings does not make it exploitation. You could just as easily argue that he was the one exploiting Oprah by getting public sympathy and massive publicity for the book he’s writing.

    “But the worst is her dumbing down of the culture in the way she has.”

    Well Yale sociologist Joshua Gamson would argue that she’s smartened up the culture, because the tabloid talk show genre she popularized did more to make gays mainstream and socially acceptable than any other development of the 20th century. Oxford scholar Kathleen Rooney argues that that she pioneered the use of electronic media to make literature accessible to millions of couch potatoes. And opponents of traditional religious would argue that her secularization of spirituality and weakening of the church is getting millions of Americans to question dogma.

    “That’s why I much prefer Charlie Rose. At least he asks tough interviewing questions,”

    No he doesn’t. Go to his website and watch his interview with Condi Rice. For an hour straight she evades each question by repeating one rehearsed talking point after another until Rose forgets what his original question was. Meanwhile Oprah’s an entertainer, not a journalist. She’s not supposed to ask tough questions, though she did a brilliant job of doing so with James Frey and his publisher Nan Talese. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone in media hold someone famous accountable for telling lies, and showed real respect for her audience.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    The reason people criticized her hoopla over the cars isn’t because she’s black but because there are people out there who think she’s “so generous, etc” when in reality Dodge was getting a free hour of advertising on her show. All those free vacations she gives her employees–when she advertises the resorts on her show, what do you think happens? You get hundreds of dumb housewives telling their hubbies they want to vacation in Hawaii–and stay at the same resort Oprah stayed in. It’s all marketing. People are sheep. When she gives away free Sprint phones and she says at the end of the show: “Thanks to Sprint for hosting this event.” Who do you think pays for them? Not her. Race has nothing to do with it. You’re just playing the Race Card. Next you’ll say because she’s fat.

    And I have actually read a number of those crappy books she’s recommended. Why do you think Franzen pulled the book from the club? Because he knows the books are crap and didn’t want his own associated with them (granted his own book isn’t much better). But that is the reputation she has acquired. Deadbeat housewives will think otherwise, though they’re not the literate opinions that matter in 100 years.

    “Well Oprah first read Angelou as a child and it had a profound impact on her life because for the first time her experience as a poor black girl who had been raped had been validated, and if it had such an impact on her, she felt it could benefit others. But there’s no author who Oprah promotes more than Nobel prize winning Toni Morrison, whose books have not only been selected for her book club repeatedly, but also turned into a movie staring Oprah.”

    Everything here is touchy feely. She “validated” her feelings of rape? Where is the mention of quality writing? You’re making excuses for her addle minded writing because rape = validation, oh I have suffered, etc. I don’t care if Oprah “connected” with Angelou, with that sort of power, she shouldn’t be promoting doggerel. It also looks bad for African American writers to promote such a hack. Try Brooks, Charles Johnson, Margaret Walker, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, James Emanuel, Robert Hayden and then we’ll talk.

    And Toni Morrison is very overrated. Just because she has a Nobel doesn’t mean she’s a great writer–she’s more known for being “the first black woman with a Nobel” than for her writing alone. She doesn’t hold a candle to Johnson, Wright, or James Baldwin. And to bring up that silly movie she was is pointless. That was a joke.

    “How exactly was the pregnant man being exploited? By going on TV and having Oprah complement him and his wife for an hour, telling them how courageous and spiritually evolved they are?”

    That anyone is that insecure that they need to go on nat’l tv and be told condescending things like what you just wrote is exactly the answer. The guy cut off his boobs so he can’t even breastfeed his kid. How selfish and idiotic can one be? We live in a culture where people believe they can have EVERYTHING their way–I want to be man! But I also want to have a kid! So you’re going to rid yourself of your breasts so you can’t even engage in breastfeeding? It’s just ridiculous. And then Oprah celebrates that.

    And I’ve watched far more Charlie Rose than you have, obviously. When has once Oprah ever spoken about art or ideas of depth? What passes for “depth” is this New Age psychobabble that you’re defending. And who cares if someone from Oxford or Yale defends the Lowest Common Denominator?

    “Oxford scholar Kathleen Rooney argues that that she pioneered the use of electronic media to make literature accessible to millions of couch potatoes.”

    Yes, “literature” like James Frey, Janet Fitch, Maya Angelou, and all the other books of whiney white woman’s literature about rape, incest, abuse, etc. No where do we see the Hesses, Kafkas, Twains, Melvilles, or anything to promote higher thinking.

    Those books she’s promoted have done more damage for women’s reputations as writers because people begin to think all women write about is rape, incest, abuse, etc. God forbid if they want to write about higher ideas and for once get off the self.

    “though she did a brilliant job of doing so with James Frey and his publisher Nan Talese. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone in media hold someone famous accountable for telling lies, and showed real respect for her audience.”

    Frey should have told her to shove it. 1st of all, she was dummy who chose is poorly written garbage to begin with. It was never about the writing, but “feelings” and “intent.” Oprah doesn’t respect her audience because she doesn’t treat them like adults. She babies and pats on the head saying things like: “how courageous and spiritually evolved they are…”

    That’s why other countries make fun of Americans, because they’re in constant need of a nipple to suck on, and the Oprah Cult has encouraged that.

  • Tina

    “The reason people criticized her hoopla over the cars isn’t because she’s black but because there are people out there who think she’s “so generous, etc” when in reality Dodge was getting a free hour of advertising on her show.”

    Of course they were getting free advertising. That has been the case for virtually every TV give away. His point was that it was never a problem when white males like Bob Barker were doing it. And Oprah is “so generous” by the way. The giveaways on TV are sponsored by advertisers, but behind the scenes she’s given several hundred million dollars of her own hard earned money to charity. That’s a million times more than I’ve ever given, and I didn’t have to overcome even 1% of the adversity Oprah had to overcome.

    “Why do you think Franzen pulled the book from the club? Because he knows the books are crap and didn’t want his own associated with them (granted his own book isn’t much better)”

    He didn’t pull out. He publicly criticized some of her selections and her audience, at which point Oprah politely excused him from the dinner, at which point Franzen and his publisher nearly begged to get back in but by then Oprah had moved on. Franzen seemed to think his book was far too intellectual for an audience of housewives to appreciate, he also stated that he was interested in attracting male readers and that the Oprah association might impede that goal. In addition, he didn’t want to alienate all the literary elitists, and they really resent an overweight black woman loved by housewives dictating the best seller list.

    “Deadbeat housewives will think otherwise, though they’re not the literate opinions that matter in 100 years.”

    Have you any idea how elitist and sexist that sounds?

    “Try Brooks, Charles Johnson, Margaret Walker, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, James Emanuel, Robert Hayden and then we’ll talk.”

    Try naming a single LIVING black woman author who you think is worthy. At least Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison can come on TV and discuss their work.

    “And Toni Morrison is very overrated. Just because she has a Nobel doesn’t mean she’s a great writer–she’s more known for being “the first black woman with a Nobel” than for her writing alone.”

    Did you actually read, and more importantly UNDERSTAND her work? Books like Beloved and Paradise are considered too difficult for university undergraduates.

    “Those books she’s promoted have done more damage for women’s reputations as writers because people begin to think all women write about is rape, incest, abuse, etc. God forbid if they want to write about higher ideas and for once get off the self.”

    First of all, not all her female authors write about rape and incest. Second, what the hell is wrong with writing about rape and incest? That’s a huge part of the female experience, and to assert that these are lower ideas is to reinforce the patriarchal discourse that so oppresses women in literature and academia.

    “The guy cut off his boobs so he can’t even breastfeed his kid. How selfish and idiotic can one be? We live in a culture where people believe they can have EVERYTHING their way–I want to be man! But I also want to have a kid! So you’re going to rid yourself of your breasts so you can’t even engage in breastfeeding? It’s just ridiculous. And then Oprah celebrates that.”

    Judgmental right wing opinions like that are exactly the reason we need Oprah to keep celebrating people who are outside the dominant heterosexual mainstream.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    There is nothing right winged about my opinions Tina. I am an Obama supporter and Oprah’s endorsement of him is about the only good thing she’s done. (Though he would benefit keeping away from the Oprah a**kissing).

    “The giveaways on TV are sponsored by advertisers, but behind the scenes she’s given several hundred million dollars of her own hard earned money to charity. That’s a million times more than I’ve ever given, and I didn’t have to overcome even 1% of the adversity Oprah had to overcome.”

    Ok, lets reread this statement. Are you aware that she’s a BILLIONAIRE? Of course she’s given more money away! But guess what, so has Bill Gates (and he’s a whole lot richer) but you don’t see him pontificating New Age psychobabble to the world do you? No, he donates quietly. For all her talk of “modesty” she sure doesn’t live it. And the reason she donates is because 1) tax benefits 2) gives fans like you reasons to defend her, and critics reasons to deflect off her. Hundreds of millions are just pennies to her. She’s a billionaire, Tina. Remember that. Rowling has given lots of money too. So what? They’re billionaires. They’re willing to sacrifice some pocket change to be seen in a positive light.

    And for your defense against Oprah’s “materialism” take one look at her obnoxious birthday bash. What do you call that?

    Also, your justification of Oprah over the Franzen thing shows what a hypocrite she is, and now you are defending that. If she really believed his book was that good, and worth recommending, what does it matter if he criticizes some of her choices? One is not supposed to merely sit back and be silent when he was well aware that her books were crap. The fact that she dismisses him so easily then means that the promotion of quality (or what she believes to be quality) wasn’t the issue. It was all about her. It always is.

    Have you any idea how elitist and sexist that sounds?

    What would you call her fans? Would sheep be better? It’s just their choosing to be that way, and besides, it’s true. Get over it.

    “Second, what the hell is wrong with writing about rape and incest? That’s a huge part of the female experience, and to assert that these are lower ideas is to reinforce the patriarchal discourse that so oppresses women in literature and academia.”

    This is a HUGE part of what is wrong with culture. So rape and incest, according to Tina, is a huge part of the female experience huh? Is there anything else about the female experience that doesn’t involve sex? Read what you are saying and how sexist YOU are sounding. How come men don’t have this issue? Hmm. And there is nothing wrong with writing about these experiences, just save the mawkishness. Betty Smith wrote about attempted rape very well in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Those women writers resort to cliches and triteness and PC touchy feely “intentions” that mean nothing in art. The problem is that the touchy feely crap overwhelms the art, the quality, the higher thinking. But it’s not like they’re dealing with any higher ideas to begin with.

    “Judgmental right wing opinions like that are exactly the reason we need Oprah to keep celebrating people who are outside the dominant heterosexual mainstream.”

    Get a clue. There is nothing “right wing” in calling a freak a freak and just so you know, I have every right to JUDGE–if he didn’t want to be judged, DON’T GO ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    “Did you actually read, and more importantly UNDERSTAND her work? Books like Beloved and Paradise are considered too difficult for university undergraduates.”

    Yes because there is nothing to understand. She’s rather simple to digest. She’s not the best at narrative and that is a fact. I didn’t say she was bad, but cross her name off the book and look read it without her name on it and you would not be defending it.

    And a quality living black female writer? Thylias Moss. I’ll bet you’ve never even heard of her. The reason? Because she doesn’t indulge in cliches and mawkishness and hence has not gotten Oprah to endorse her.

    There really aren’t that many quality female writers out there, the number that I can think of are British. They make fun of the American women writers because of this obsession with the self, the rape, incest, etc, and these ideas that are indulged by people in the culture who come to accept that this is a HUGE part of women’s lives (like you seem to think) when it’s actually a very small one.

    There’s a lot to a person Tina, not just skin color, sex, and trauma. Women are capable of higher things, though those Oprah promotes don’t celebrate that. And neither do her brain dead sheep who worship her. I guess I just expect more from women as thinkers, where as you accept tripe.

    All this over a tabloid talk show host. Why not defend Montel?

  • w. kingslee

    To Tina and Tyler.
    Can you just stop? Having watched from the sidelines and read all the opinions I totally agree 100% with everything Jessica said and it’s all based on the merits of her arguments, which I’ll not repeat because I want to believe you’re reasonable and intelligent people. As you don’t know I’m well read, but I’ll now clarify I know great literature when I read it most often, (9 times out of 10, and the 1 of out 10 times I miss it is because of the frame of mind I’m in….life sure has a way of impeding on even the best minds)and this runs the gamut of the so-called African American writers to those others, and this is regards of the genre so it can be the sharp brilliance of James Emanuel or as Thylia Moss as Jessica already noted. Also and perhaps as importantly to you both, I’m also Black so some of your arguments which you make on race and the attacks on Oprah as being racially motivated are sadly on slippery ground, as much as your arguments. It is what it is….

  • Michael

    “I’m also Black so some of your arguments which you make on race and the attacks on Oprah as being racially motivated are sadly on slippery ground, as much as your arguments. It is what it is….”

    Can someone translate this idiot into English?

  • Anthony

    With Oprah’s book selections (book club or otherwise), there is no discernment. Yes, she did select good books for her book club like The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, but compare the writing in that one to the James Frey book and they are worlds apart. He doesn’t have the skill with prose or characters or narrative that McCullers has. Oprah has no idea about this difference, because she selects stuff that appeals to her for whatever thematic reason–‘overcoming the odds’ or whatever it is. Maya Angelou is a bad poet whose poetry is filled with trite sentiments, the Mattie Stepanek stuff would never have been published if it weren’t for the kid’s tragic story, and the countless self-help books she promotes are filled with useless advice. The Secret? Please.

    As someone who worked in a bookstore when the Frey’s book was first picked, a lot of the people who came in were the women who watched the show, and they basically were just sheep who bought whatever Oprah recommended. It would happen any time a book was on Oprah’s show, even non-book club. Suddenly we’d be inundated with requests for that book. Or you’d have people who’d wander in asking for Oprah’s Book Club books, though they had no particular book in mind. They just wanted to read whatever it was she’d selected. Oprah could have recommended any product and they’d go out and buy it. So that’s why Jessica is right about the housewives who watch Oprah being sheep, by and large. This is why you never heard most of them complaining about the writing in Frey’s book–they only got mad when it was revealed that his book wasn’t pure ‘truth’ (big surprise).

  • Tina

    “Hundreds of millions are just pennies to her.”

    Actually Oprah giving away several hundred million dollars is like the average American giving away his brand new car. It’s a significant chuck of her net worth, and she’s not only the most philanthropic African American of all time, but also the most generous performer in show business. And her philanthropy is all the more impressive because she was born with far fewer advantages than the average American. It’s easy for us to just sit around blogging all day; meanwhile Oprah is making yet another hundred million she can give away.

    “If she really believed his book was that good, and worth recommending, what does it matter if he criticizes some of her choices?”

    Because he didn’t just criticize her choices, he said his book was “a difficult book for that audience”. Oprah is not going to promote a man after he belittled the intellect of the soccer moms who made her the billionaire Queen of all media. She kicked his ass to the curb. Oprah defends her soccer moms like a lioness defending her cubs. And when James Frey lied to her audience she dragged both him and his publisher on live TV, confronted and scolded them both face to face, and proceeded to give them the most riveting public flogging in media history. You disrespect Oprah’s audience and she’ll eat you alive.

    “What would you call her fans? Would sheep be better? It’s just their choosing to be that way, and besides, it’s true. Get over it.”

    Why is her audience sheep? Just because they read the books she recommends. Maybe they’ve enjoyed her selections in the past, and thus are being quite rationale in choosing to follow her. Do we call all the men who buy books because they get good reviews in the NY Times sheep? What about the people who read a book because it won the national book award? Again, it’s a sexist elitist double standard. Oprah’s audience is dismissed as sheep because they are stay at home moms.

    “Those women writers resort to cliches and triteness and PC touchy feely “intentions” that mean nothing in art. The problem is that the touchy feely crap overwhelms the art, the quality, the higher thinking. But it’s not like they’re dealing with any higher ideas to begin with.”

    So Toni Morrison (picked by Oprah more than anyone) doesn’t deal with higher ideas? Her books are full of metaphors and deep rich symbolism. Such abstract concepts are the essence of higher thought. And btw art is supposed to be touchy-feely. The greatest artists are those who unearth an emotion from their readers, and to assert that true art should be detached from “touchy-feely” crap is to deny a uniquely feminine perspective from literature.

    “Get a clue. There is nothing ‘right wing’ in calling a freak a freak and just so you know,”

    There is plenty right wing about ridiculing someone who is outside the dominant heterosexual culture and speaking out against his most basic of human rights (having a child) just because he refuses to conform to a traditional model. That’s the essence of social conservatism: Resistance to change, resistance to that which is different.

    “Yes because there is nothing to understand. She’s rather simple to digest.”

    Tell that to Jodie Foster who wrote her Yale thesis on Beloved.

    “There really aren’t that many quality female writers out there, the number that I can think of are British.”

    LOL! I can’t believe you just wrote that. But if that’s really what you believe, you can’t fault Oprah for not picking better female writers if so few exist.

  • Tina

    “With Oprah’s book selections (book club or otherwise), there is no discernment. Yes, she did select good books for her book club like The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, but compare the writing in that one to the James Frey book and they are worlds apart. He doesn’t have the skill with prose or characters or narrative that McCullers has. Oprah has no idea about this difference, because she selects stuff that appeals to her for whatever thematic reason–‘overcoming the odds’ or whatever it is.”

    She’s also trying to select books that will appeal to a mass audience, so they can’t all be Toni Morrison. Also, a true connoisseur of literature is able to understand and appreciate the appeal of any book, not just those that academia anoints. I see people all the time trashing popular books to show how sophisticated they are, but they’re really just revealing their lack of intelligence. Oprah had the ability to bridge the superficial gap between high brow literature and low brow trash.

    “the countless self-help books she promotes are filled with useless advice. The Secret? Please.”

    I think you’re the one behaving like sheep because you’re parroting a lot of the rhetoric I hear from the cultural elite who dismiss books like “The Secret” as useless trash. Are you aware of all the research showing that people who have an internal locus of control are far more successful than those who believe they are completely powerless, and that people who engage in positive thinking experience far less stress (a leading cause of death, unhappiness, and health problems) than those who don’t? So while it’s easy to mock books like “The Secret” as useless trash, they actually do a lot more good than you realize.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    Tina, you’re not getting it. The benefits of her giving away all that money far outweigh the financial losses she would suffer. The fact that she has fans like you saying: “also the most generous performer in show business. And her philanthropy is all the more impressive because she was born with far fewer advantages than the average American” is proof right there.

    A woman who got rich on exploiting the dumbest parts of the culture for ratings yet disguises them as the good deeds of humanity. Great that she gives away her money, she should. See, I’m no right winger, (just not some hairy tree hugger). Would you like me to call you names? But the rewards she gets for her “donations” far outweigh her losses.

    “Because he didn’t just criticize her choices, he said his book was “a difficult book for that audience”.

    Oprah audiences are not the brightest, and what he says is true. Granted his book is fluff so it nulls the point, but again, you are failing to recognize the hypocrisies on her part. If she really believed in the book and wanted people to read it, what he said would not have mattered. Why not devote a show to this issue? Lord knows the woman has gobs of time.

    “Why is her audience sheep? ”

    Read Anthony’s post above.

    “So Toni Morrison (picked by Oprah more than anyone) doesn’t deal with higher ideas?”

    No. Her last book was titled “Love”. Case closed.

    “Such abstract concepts are the essence of higher thought. And btw art is supposed to be touchy-feely. The greatest artists are those who unearth an emotion from their readers, and to assert that true art should be detached from “touchy-feely” crap is to deny a uniquely feminine perspective from literature.”

    You are wrong. Art is an intellectual experience, it’s about the mind and the highest form of communication. If it can evoke emotion so be it, but art to succeed is not dependent on that. You can read a diary entry and weep and “connect” with it emotionally but that doesn’t make it great art. Likewise, it’s not likely you’ll weep at the end of a Hesse novel, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great art. So you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    “basic of human rights (having a child) just because he refuses to conform to a traditional model.”

    It is not one’s basic human right to have a child while undergoing a sex change. You’re failing to see the sense of entitlement here. If he really wanted to be man, then he shouldn’t have a child. If he wants a child, then don’t have a sex change. This PC culture tells people you can have everything you want in life, (sense of entitlement) which is childish and silly. Grow up. Deal with the hand you’re dealt. But in reality, I don’t give a sh*t what he chooses to do, it doesn’t affect me one bit. But don’t have him on national television and tell people not to judge and form their own opinions. Don’t have him on national television and tell him how “brave” he is. Grow up.

    And likewise, don’t call me “right wing” simply because I have an opinion that what he is doing is childish and selfish.

    “Tell that to Jodie Foster who wrote her Yale thesis on Beloved.”

    Well if Jodie Foster had trouble with it, then it must be tough!

    “LOL! I can’t believe you just wrote that.”

    Why not? It’s true. But the point you make about Oprah not having many quality selections is spot on. There are a good deal of dead ones though.

    And you’ve still failed to recognize the sexism in Oprah. What if a man had asked of a woman what she did in bed with her husband? Would you still be defending this trash tabloid talk show host? Didn’t think so. Ah, hypocrisies! At least it’s not just the Right that is guilty of them.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “Are you aware of all the research showing that people who have an internal locus of control are far more successful than those who believe they are completely powerless, and that people who engage in positive thinking experience far less stress (a leading cause of death, unhappiness, and health problems) than those who don’t? So while it’s easy to mock books like “The Secret” as useless trash, they actually do a lot more good than you realize.”

    You’re hopeless.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “She’s also trying to select books that will appeal to a mass audience, so they can’t all be Toni Morrison.”

    If Oprah can turn Tolstoy into a best seller then this point about “mass appeal” is worthless.

    Baaaaa….goes the sheep.

  • Anthony

    Tina–your whole schtick about the ‘dominant heterosexual culture’ is textbook academia. Aside from making homosexuals seem like victims in comparison, it is a bit ridiculous considering that a ‘dominant homosexual culture’ wouldn’t be one that would last very long, given the need for reproduction to keep a species alive. Your average homosexual didn’t just fall out of the sky one day.

    If you give away lots of money, does that absolve you from lowering the quality of intellectual life in a culture? That basically seems to be what you’re saying about Oprah. Many think that charity absolves them from other areas of neglect. It doesn’t.

    Just because someone criticizes Oprah and doesn’t buy into the idea that she’s done lots of good for America does not make them ‘right wing’. That is a typically PC retort, and right wing implies something much more extreme than conservatism. If you were confident with your arguments in support of Oprah you wouldn’t have to bother trying to make someone look like a far-right bigot.

    And why do we care about what Jodie Foster wrote her thesis about? Because she’s a celebrity, or because she went to a brand name Ivy school? There’s too much bandying about of the world “Yale” in this discussion, and not enough attention paid to the weight of the actual arguments. Last I checked the Ivy League was producing literary heavyweights like Kaavya Viswanathan.

    When people talk about bridging ‘high and low’ they are usually only talking about items that are associated with a particular class or a segment of culture. They are not actually comparing the inherent quality in given artworks–which has nothing to do with whether a book is associated with a certain audience, or with what class the author is a part of. Throwing together popular books with those that are perceived as more ‘serious’ is easy to do, whether w/ Oprah’s book club or on a syllabus. It is typical in this day and age, but it doesn’t mean that the quality of the writing itself is recognized. Virginia Woolf may be seen as more ‘serious’ than someone like Betty Smith, and their books might be seen as representing different classes, but in terms of the writing Smith’s A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is better than To The Lighthouse, and it is the quality of the writing that makes Smith’s book ‘high literature’. Her class background or the fact that her book had a mass audience when it was released are irrelevant to that point.

    Success in any arena is much more complicated than merely having a ‘positive attitude’ and manifesting ‘abundance’ with positive thoughts. What about talent? Not everyone has it in a given area. What about the shrewdness and cunning that makes many in business successful? What of personal connections and hard work? Or all of the various other things that go into why a person succeeds, in business or other aspects of life? The Secret just makes a buck off of people who aren’t being realistic. It takes a lot more than just ‘positive thoughts’ to make great art, or become a successful business person, etc.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tyler:

    ‘This reminds me of the time Oprah debated a sociologist who condemned tabloid talk shows for portraying America as a country of dysfunctional marriages and dysfunctional families and people who cheat on their spouses, to which Oprah replied “HELLO! We are!” to huge cheers from the audience. Perhaps the reason she shows were so popular is because people were tired of seeing the perfect America as it was portrayed on the Brady Bunch, the Cleavers, the Cosby Show, and other unrealistic ideals that made people feel inadequate. They wanted to see the real America; they wanted to see shows that had a common denominator for them.’

    You exchange one extreme stereotype for another. Most people are not perverted slobs not perfect Brady kids. That you see the pervs as real America says something about you, not America.

    ‘Perhaps if you actually looked at her complete book club selections, you would realize that the majority are in fact good literature.’

    I have, they’re not. They are potboilers and melodramas. Next. And providing woman and minorities a voice is only good if their voices are of quality. Does Roseanne Barr or Louis Farrakhan represent ideals of good female or black nature?

    ‘Oprah had the marketing genius to discuss all her own problems: troubled love life, incestuous sexual abuse, poor background, black, promiscuous teen years, emotionally abusive boyfriends, weight problem. She was her own best guest.’

    You don’t even realize you are praising exploitation in this sentence. What a hoot.

    ‘secularized spirituality, giving millions of Americans an alternative to the dogma of the church.’

    Secular spirituality is a nonsequitur; and Oprah is a Christian, who professes a belief in Christ- hardly an antidote to the church. You don’t even know what you are talking about.

    ‘Well Oprah first read Angelou as a child and it had a profound impact on her life because for the first time her experience as a poor black girl who had been raped had been validated, and if it had such an impact on her, she felt it could benefit others. But there’s no author who Oprah promotes more than Nobel prize winning Toni Morrison, whose books have not only been selected for her book club repeatedly, but also turned into a movie staring Oprah.’

    Do you work in O’s PR dept.? This is actually funny, in a ‘Look at the zombie’ sort of way.

    ‘You could just as easily argue that he was the one exploiting Oprah by getting public sympathy and massive publicity for the book he’s writing.’

    True, but a freak exploiting his freakdom is not as heinous as the person profiting from the freak’s idiocy and blithe ignorance of their freakishness. You’d have a different opinion if Oprah was promoting midget bowling or dwarf tossing.

    ‘”That’s why I much prefer Charlie Rose. At least he asks tough interviewing questions,”

    No he doesn’t. Go to his website and watch his interview with Condi Rice. For an hour straight she evades each question by repeating one rehearsed talking point after another until Rose forgets what his original question was. Meanwhile Oprah’s an entertainer, not a journalist. She’s not supposed to ask tough questions, though she did a brilliant job of doing so with James Frey and his publisher Nan Talese. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone in media hold someone famous accountable for telling lies, and showed real respect for her audience.’

    Watch the bulk of his interviews. He’s great, but no one asks tough q’s of Bushco, which is why we are in Iraq. The Frey piece was hilarious, but Oprah only did that because she was too stupid to realize the book was filled w lies- like the dentist w/o anestheia, when she read it. She was covering her ass because her fans felt SHE had betrayed them. YET, never did Oprah diss the book for its bad writing- it’s real sin.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tina:

    ‘He didn’t pull out. He publicly criticized some of her selections and her audience, at which point Oprah politely excused him from the dinner, at which point Franzen and his publisher nearly begged to get back in but by then Oprah had moved on. Franzen seemed to think his book was far too intellectual for an audience of housewives to appreciate, he also stated that he was interested in attracting male readers and that the Oprah association might impede that goal. In addition, he didn’t want to alienate all the literary elitists, and they really resent an overweight black woman loved by housewives dictating the best seller list.’

    Unless you are on helium, if you are invited to someone’s home, and decline, that is you saying you don’t wanna belong. He didn’t beg to be in her club, he just tried a PR move and it worked.

    ‘Did you actually read, and more importantly UNDERSTAND her work? Books like Beloved and Paradise are considered too difficult for university undergraduates.’

    Morrison is a mediocre writer who cannot tell a good story. That you need to seek an authority figure to cement your ideas is an old fallacy- the appeal to authority. And, you are in effect saying since Academics are morons, the work mst be good. Great defense.

    ‘First of all, not all her female authors write about rape and incest. Second, what the hell is wrong with writing about rape and incest? That’s a huge part of the female experience, and to assert that these are lower ideas is to reinforce the patriarchal discourse that so oppresses women in literature and academia.’

    Jess actually made the point that all women writers do NOT write of rape and incest. Had you read what she wrote you would not be strawmanning an argument. And, rape and incest are small parts of the human experience. Most people- male or female, will not be sexually abused. You are sounding paranoid and pathological in such an assertion.

    ‘Judgmental right wing opinions like that are exactly the reason we need Oprah to keep celebrating people who are outside the dominant heterosexual mainstream.’

    So now you are proving what was already discernible- you cannot and do not read what others type.

  • Tina

    “Tina, you’re not getting it. The benefits of her giving away all that money far outweigh the financial losses she would suffer. The fact that she has fans like you saying: ‘also the most generous performer in show business. And her philanthropy is all the more impressive because she was born with far fewer advantages than the average American’ is proof right there.”

    The fact that I’m forced to defend her charity in the first place negates your point. Ever heard the saying “no good deed goes unpunished”? With charity comes responsibility, comes expectations of more charity, and comes a lot of criticism. Are there also benefits? Of course! And there should be. Good behavior deserves to be rewarded.

    “A woman who got rich on exploiting the dumbest parts of the culture for ratings yet disguises them as the good deeds of humanity”

    You only view it as exploitation because you see her guests as too dumb to know any better. I strongly disagree with your elitist perspective. You call it exploitation because of the cultural stereotype that blacks can’t make money without committing some kind of crime, so you search for a way to see something unethical about her business. Blacks have been the victim of this kind of moral oppression for far too long, and it shows up in our racially biased legal system. Where is your disdain for the white billionaires who make money off of polluting the environment, profiting off of wars, and polluting the drinking water of third world countries? That’s what I call exploitation, not some black lady getting rich because people beg to come on her show and talk about their sex lives.

    “Oprah audiences are not the brightest”

    Don’t make assumptions! For all you know they could be the brightest audience on TV, after all they’re more receptive to book endorsements than any other audience, and they’ve figure out away to stay at home watching Oprah while still having enough disposable income to buy everything she promotes. They’re also a lot more open minded than the average American, as seen by their applauding of the pregnant man.

    “Granted his book is fluff so it nulls the point,”

    He would say you’re just not bright enough to appreciate it.

    “If she really believed in the book and wanted people to read it, what he said would not have mattered.”

    Because when he dissed her audience, her disdain for the author overpowered her love for the book. If there was a way to promote the book without the author benefiting, I’m sure she would have been all for it.

    “No. Her last book was titled ‘Love’. Case closed. ”

    Well a lot of people would argue that Morrison’s work is extremely sophisticated, and that you simply lack the insight to appreciate it. Not my call to make.

    “You are wrong. Art is an intellectual experience, it’s about the mind and the highest form of communication. If it can evoke emotion so be it, but art to succeed is not dependent on that.”

    Emotions are part of the mind and great art should connect with both feelings and thoughts. A great artist is one who can make you laugh, cry, fear, and think. In short art connects with that which makes us uniquely human.

    “It is not one’s basic human right to have a child while undergoing a sex change. You’re failing to see the sense of entitlement here. If he really wanted to be man, then he shouldn’t have a child. If he wants a child, then don’t have a sex change.”

    It’s easy for heterosexuals to say that. We can do both quite easily, with both the cooperation of biology and society. If someone wants to have a baby and be a man, and science has progressed to the point where one can do that, then we as a society should quit being so judgmental and offer our support.

    “Why not? It’s true. But the point you make about Oprah not having many quality selections is spot on.”

    No that’s not the point! The point is that is if you really believe quality female authors are so rare, then it’s hypocritical of you to criticize Oprah for not being able to find them.

    “And you’ve still failed to recognize the sexism in Oprah. What if a man had asked of a woman what she did in bed with her husband?”

    Personally I wouldn’t care. Would you like to know what I do in bed? I’m more than happy to tell you. Is it a double standard that Oprah can reduce a man into a sex object, but men shouldn’t do the same to women? Of course it is, but that’s because men already have too much power so trivializing them serves the goal of social equality, where as trivializing women does the opposite.

    “If Oprah can turn Tolstoy into a best seller then this point about ‘mass appeal’ is worthless.”

    Well Oprah did make Tolstoy a best seller, he didn’t sell nearly as well as her low brow picks. Hence she’s careful to include a lot of light reading, but the majority of her books got good reviews by the majority of book critics at the time of their publication.

    “Tina–your whole schtick about the ‘dominant heterosexual culture’ is textbook academia. Aside from making homosexuals seem like victims in comparison, it is a bit ridiculous considering that a ‘dominant homosexual culture’ wouldn’t be one that would last very long, given the need for reproduction to keep a species alive. Your average homosexual didn’t just fall out of the sky one day.”

    Learn about reproductive technology.

    “If you give away lots of money, does that absolve you from lowering the quality of intellectual life in a culture? That basically seems to be what you’re saying about Oprah.”

    No we’re saying Oprah dramatically increased the quality of intellectual life. The tabloid talk show genre she popularized in the 1980s did more to make gays mainstream and socially acceptable than any other development of the 20th century. She made literature accessible to millions of daytime TV fans. As Tyler explained, her secularization of spirituality and weakening of the church is getting millions of Americans to question religious dogma.

    “The Secret just makes a buck off of people who aren’t being realistic. It takes a lot more than just ‘positive thoughts’ to make great art, or become a successful business person, etc.”

    No one is suggesting that positive thoughts alone make one a success. Nothing by itself is sufficient, however to dismiss “The Secret” as useless trash is to dismiss mountains of empirical research showing that positive thinking reduces the toxic effects of stress and that having an internal locus of control is one of the most significant mental variables in predicting achievement of any kind.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Michael: ‘”I’m also Black so some of your arguments which you make on race and the attacks on Oprah as being racially motivated are sadly on slippery ground, as much as your arguments. It is what it is….”

    Can someone translate this idiot into English?’

    Why? Correct English already eludes you.

    Tina:

    ‘So Toni Morrison (picked by Oprah more than anyone) doesn’t deal with higher ideas? Her books are full of metaphors and deep rich symbolism. Such abstract concepts are the essence of higher thought. And btw art is supposed to be touchy-feely. The greatest artists are those who unearth an emotion from their readers, and to assert that true art should be detached from “touchy-feely” crap is to deny a uniquely feminine perspective from literature.’

    You are really wallowing in cliches. First, Morrison is not a rich writer- but she’s better than Alice Walker, et al. The greatest art is NOT about emotion, but about transmuting ideas- which CAN incl. emotion, into a form that communicates to others. This is a fallacy akin to saying all art is political. One can reduce a POV to one correlative- all art is about poodles, and logically make some hay, but the point is art that lacks intellect is NEVER great art; and Oprah’s books are written for a junior high school level. And, emotions are not the only thing woman can contribute- they have minds (granting you a well earned exemption, of course), and men also have feelings.

    And Jodie Foster is cited as an intellectual? And there is a right to reproduce? In what article of the Constitution?So do drugs, they provide immense joy to many- but, overall, the downside is worse than the up. So?

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tina:

    ‘With charity comes responsibility, comes expectations of more charity, and comes a lot of criticism’

    Which is why her school in Africa was being run by sadists- no responsibility shown, but bad PR that can be embarrasing, so cover it up.

    ‘You only view it as exploitation because you see her guests as too dumb to know any better. I strongly disagree with your elitist perspective.’

    You’re the one who stereotypes women and men into separate roles- that’s elitist and dumb.

    ‘He would say you’re just not bright enough to appreciate it.’

    Nor you her point.

    ‘Well a lot of people would argue that Morrison’s work is extremely sophisticated, and that you simply lack the insight to appreciate it. Not my call to make.’

    Do you have a single opinion you have not gotten approved by someone else, or a polling group? Or is that why everything you type is so generic?

    ‘In short art connects with that which makes us uniquely human.’

    Correct, and that’s the intellect, for any pet owner can tell you animals can love- but none has written a poem or symphony. Next.

    ‘The point is that is if you really believe quality female authors are so rare, then it’s hypocritical of you to criticize Oprah for not being able to find them.’

    It’s called Oprah’s Book Club, not Oprah’s Female Author’s Club, so there is no need to seek female authors, unless, again, you are only wanting to miss the point….again.

    ‘Would you like to know what I do in bed? I’m more than happy to tell you.’

    So, you connect with O cuz you’re an exhibitionist. Wd it not have been easier to just acknowledge that in post 1?

    ‘Learn about reproductive technology.’

    Yes, and it’s still a decade or two b4 men and women will be replaced by machines in that scope. Next.

    ‘however to dismiss “The Secret” as useless trash is to dismiss mountains of empirical research showing that positive thinking reduces the toxic effects of stress and that having an internal locus of control is one of the most significant mental variables in predicting achievement of any kind.’

    Do you prefer Tony Robbins, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, or Wayne Dyer? Because, people like you keep these parasites in the money. You are funny, I’ll grant you that, but the laugh lines can be a bitch.

  • Tina

    “the Frey piece was hilarious, but Oprah only did that because she was too stupid to realize the book was filled w lies- like the dentist w/o anestheia, when she read it.”

    Well you don’t know if she actually believed it, or just thought it would sell well. And he was too stupid to realize that when Oprah invited him on her show to discuss the book, she was actually setting him up for the biggest public flogging in media history, and there she had him and his publisher cornered like trapped rats on live TV, and proceeded to rips them to shreds face to face. Oprah conned the conman. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    “Secular spirituality is a nonsequitur; and Oprah is a Christian, who professes a belief in Christ- hardly an antidote to the church. You don’t even know what you are talking about.”

    Secular spirituality is just church free spirituality. And Oprah defines herself as a free thinking Christian in that she admires Christ as a person, but does not view him as the only path to God. On the contrary she and Eckhart Tolle argue that God is nothing more than the combined awareness of all living things. They say that God is not a belief but a feeling. Her current book club selection is essentially preaching atheism or agnosticism, and it’s sold four million copies.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “The fact that I’m forced to defend her charity in the first place negates your point. Ever heard the saying “no good deed goes unpunished”?”

    Resorting to cliche once again. No wonder you like Oprah and her simplicity. And the points that I and others have made that you have yet to acknowledge: charity does not excuse stupidity. Maybe you should go toss some dwarves.

    “Blacks have been the victim of this kind of moral oppression for far too long, and it shows up in our racially biased legal system. Where is your disdain for the white billionaires who make money off of polluting the environment, profiting off of wars, and polluting the drinking water of third world countries? That’s what I call exploitation, not some black lady getting rich because people beg to come on her show and talk about their sex lives.”

    You’re turning everything into a race agenda. I’m not disagreeing that there are corrupt white billionaires out there. But there are also corrupt black ones. She’s polluting the environment with her dumbed down sentimentality and emotional manipulations. Duh. Which is what you’re doing. That’s why wit’s gotten to a point where if you rip on a bad writer like Angelou, you’re somehow “mean” and “unsympathetic” because she’s been raped. Her bad poems are a rape to my eyes.

    “Well a lot of people would argue that Morrison’s work is extremely sophisticated, and that you simply lack the insight to appreciate it. Not my call to make.”

    Most critics just crib from one another or grant favorable reviews to books with ideas they agree with. I don’t. Oprah disgusts me, but that didn’t make me write a positive review about this silly book.

    “Don’t make assumptions! For all you know they could be the brightest audience on TV, after all they’re more receptive to book endorsements than any other audience, and they’ve figure out away to stay at home watching Oprah while still having enough disposable income to buy everything she promotes. They’re also a lot more open minded than the average American, as seen by their applauding of the pregnant man.”

    They’re not assumptions. Your arguments exemplify that. And Oprah fans not open-minded. You’re exemplifying that as well. They’re the 1st ones to lecture you on “not judging” (even though at the same time they’ll stress the importance of being “strong” and having an opinion etc but as long as it’s something they agree with…)and they also call people who disagree with their touchy feely BS “right winged.” Sound familiar?

    “the majority of her books got good reviews by the majority of book critics at the time of their publication.”

    So did Frey, Kaavya Viswanathan, the girl who faked her gang memoir, Alice Sebold’s trash, etc. Funny how you can’t make a single opinion without relying on “what critics said.”

    “The point is that is if you really believe quality female authors are so rare, then it’s hypocritical of you to criticize Oprah for not being able to find them.”

    I don’t think you want to go into all the hypocrisies your arguments have had.

    “Is it a double standard that Oprah can reduce a man into a sex object, but men shouldn’t do the same to women? Of course it is, but that’s because men already have too much power so trivializing them serves the goal of social equality, where as trivializing women does the opposite.”

    This sounds like pseudo feminist psychobabble you’d find in a pamphlet somewhere being handed out of some beat up Volkswagen on your way to a Phish concert.

  • Tina

    “Resorting to cliche once again. No wonder you like Oprah and her simplicity. And the points that I and others have made that you have yet to acknowledge: charity does not excuse stupidity”

    What you call stupidity, I call social progress.

    “You’re turning everything into a race agenda. I’m not disagreeing that there are corrupt white billionaires out there. But there are also corrupt black ones. She’s polluting the environment with her dumbed down sentimentality and emotional manipulations.”

    That’s your interpretation of what she’s doing. Others argue that she’s made the world more tolerant and compassionate and shattered taboos.

    “That’s why wit’s gotten to a point where if you rip on a bad writer like Angelou, you’re somehow “mean” and “unsympathetic” because she’s been raped. Her bad poems are a rape to my eyes.”

    Fair point. Angelou is not a great poet and is mostly famous because Oprah felt it was important to see more black women represented on the best seller lists, and thus allowed diversity to trump merit when making some of her selections.

    “They’re not assumptions. Your arguments exemplify that. And Oprah fans not open-minded. You’re exemplifying that as well. They’re the 1st ones to lecture you on ‘not judging’ (even though at the same time they’ll stress the importance of being “strong” and having an opinion etc but as long as it’s something they agree with…)and they also call people who disagree with their touchy feely BS ‘right winged.’ Sound familiar?”

    I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. I did interpret a lot of the arguments against the pregnant man as right-wing, but perhaps that was just my perspective, as I am very far to the left so it’s all relative.

    “Funny how you can’t make a single opinion without relying on ‘what critics said.'”

    My personal opinion of a book’s merits proves nothing. The only way to be objective when it comes to art is to cite the consensus of a panel of judges trained at assessing the subject at hand. But as you say, if they are not independent thinkers, this too may be insufficient.

    “This sounds like pseudo feminist psychobabble you’d find in a pamphlet somewhere being handed out of some beat up Volkswagen on your way to a Phish concert.”

    So that was you? I knew your picture looked familiar.

  • Tina

    “Which is why her school in Africa was being run by sadists- no responsibility shown, but bad PR that can be embarrasing, so cover it up.”

    Now you’re just resorting to cheap shots. She didn’t cover it up. She hired a team of investigators, a child trauma specialist, replaced most of the staff, and held a press conference and gave detailed non-evasive answers to every single question.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “What you call stupidity, I call social progress.”

    You’d probably enjoy the DVD FREAKS. Oprah’s circus is not far off.

    “Others argue that she’s made the world more tolerant and compassionate and shattered taboos.”

    She’s not shattered taboos but only played to the worst stereotypes. That Americans are a bunch of insecure, needy, self-entitled losers who read bad books and pretend its literature. Taboos shatter on their own, with time. This ever so polite PC culture has only created more. But eventually those will won’t matter either–people will look back on the Oprah daze and ask: “Why were people so stupid back then?”

    “I am very far to the left so it’s all relative.”

    I’ve been called a bleeding heart liberal by some real right wingers, it just depends on what I’m arguing. Many hated Oprah for endorsing Obama. Objectively speaking, she should probably keep out of politics, but I support Obama so I’m not complaining.

    “So that was you? I knew your picture looked familiar. ”

    I was the one in the dress handing out the sandwiches laced with “that special something.”

  • Tina

    “She’s not shattered taboos but only played to the worst stereotypes. That Americans are a bunch of insecure, needy, self-entitled losers who read bad books and pretend its literature.”

    But we ARE a bunch of insecure, needy, self-entitled losers who read bad books and pretend its literature. It’s not Oprah choosing these books you don’t like, it’s us who have chosen Oprah as the ultimate arbiter of our culture. If she’s not good enough for you, then America’s not good enough of you. And the rest of the world does not have a problem with the American culture. That’s just propaganda to deflect attention from what really bothers the world about America: It’s foreign policy.

    And the notion that the tabloid talk show genre didn’t shatter taboos is demonstrably false. There’s been mountains of empirical evidence showing how the tabloid talk show genre, pioneered by Donahue, turned into a huge industry by Oprah, and taken to absurd extremes by Springer, had single handedly mainstreamed gays, and given them a decade and a half of high impact media visibility.

    Now since 1995, Oprah has more or less distanced herself from her tabloid talk show roots, and spent the last 13 years secularizing spirituality and promoting literature you don’t like, and self-help fads which reveal America to be needy and insecure. I suspect it’s the last 13 years of her her career you have the biggest problem with, because during the first 9 years she was simply a black Ricki Lake.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “But we ARE a bunch of insecure, needy, self-entitled losers who read bad books and pretend its literature. It’s not Oprah choosing these books you don’t like, it’s us who have chosen Oprah as the ultimate arbiter of our culture.

    Speak for yourself as far as being insecure and needing a nipple to suck on. That’s you Tina, not me. The majority of people in American culture are not Oprah zombies who enjoy watching pregnant men on television. Sorry. Most people have jobs.

    “If she’s not good enough for you, then America’s not good enough of you.”

    Spoken like a true cult follower.

    “And the rest of the world does not have a problem with the American culture. That’s just propaganda to deflect attention from what really bothers the world about America: It’s foreign policy.”

    Oh gee, ever hear of September 11th? Or was that just ‘propaganda’? Are you high or something? Is this a joke?

    “And the notion that the tabloid talk show genre didn’t shatter taboos is demonstrably false. There’s been mountains of empirical evidence showing how the tabloid talk show genre, pioneered by Donahue, turned into a huge industry by Oprah, and taken to absurd extremes by Springer, had single handedly mainstreamed gays, and given them a decade and a half of high impact media visibility.”

    You’re confusing shattering taboos with exploiting stereotypes. And you’re wrong–Donahue was huge before Oprah–she was the one who began the the whole vampires who have sex with their mothers on national tv. Just a freak show, and Donahue did it to compete with her when he was losing ratings to her trash. Springer has never had any pretensions like Oprah, so he’s not as bad. He doesn’t have followers (like you) who take him seriously like Oprah does because he does not take himself seriously. He’s a joke and knows it. Oprah is a joke and doesn’t.

    “I suspect it’s the last 13 years of her her career you have the biggest problem with, because during the first 9 years she was simply a black Ricki Lake.”

    You admit it! Ricki Lake just does her trashy show but does not pontificate and spout New Age psychobabble to insecure delusionals in need of “validation” the way Oprah does.

    When you have someone who is week and desperate for “validation” you don’t make it worse by babying their insecurities. You tell them to grow up.

    Grow up.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tina:
    ‘Well you don’t know if she actually believed it, or just thought it would sell well.’

    The first time Frey was on Oprah praised its honesty and truth; so, she either lies, does not read the books she selects, or is a media whore- or all 3. Choose her poison.

    ‘And Oprah defines herself as a free thinking Christian in that she admires Christ as a person’

    But, since there is no historical record of Jesus of Nazareth, she is believing in a myth, and perpetuating religion’s ignorance.

    ‘Others argue that she’s made the world more tolerant and compassionate and shattered taboos.’

    Again, parroting other opinions. Do you make you living sitting on someone’s knee and having their hand up your ass?

    ‘The only way to be objective when it comes to art is to cite the consensus of a panel of judges trained at assessing the subject at hand. But as you say, if they are not independent thinkers, this too may be insufficient.’

    The only objective way is to know what constitutes quality in a field- be it architecture or art, and be able to discern those qualities. You only use the appeal to authority fallacy. So did alot of Germans and Russians under Hitler and Stalin. Not a wise way to live one’s life.

    ‘She didn’t cover it up. She hired a team of investigators, a child trauma specialist, replaced most of the staff, and held a press conference and gave detailed non-evasive answers to every single question.’

    She covered it up for months, and only when the ‘victim’ went to the local press and it exploded did she deal with it. Let’s not flat out lie now, Tina; ignorance is a great enough ignominy for you to bear.

    ‘But we ARE a bunch of insecure, needy, self-entitled losers who read bad books and pretend its literature. ‘

    Now you are playing to the fallacy of self-limits. Many people are as described, and which you manifestly embrace. But because you are a whiny loser means not that I or any reader of this is.

    ‘pioneered by Donahue, turned into a huge industry by Oprah, and taken to absurd extremes by Springer, had single handedly mainstreamed gays, and given them a decade and a half of high impact media visibility.’

    First, Donahue made talk a big industry; Oprah ripped him off. Second, gays were mainstreamed by Tootsie, Philadelphia, tabloid tv and papers long before Oprah or any of her competitors took off. Again, making up things as you go along does no good.

    ‘”If she’s not good enough for you, then America’s not good enough of you.”‘

    Thank you, Joe McCarthy.

    And Oprah has returned to her exploitive roots, which she never totally abandoned, but since her show is down nearly 50% from its 1990s high, go back to the moneymaker- Deepak Chopra’s old news but lesbian nuns needing plastic surgery are.

  • No Oprah Zone

    “And the rest of the world does not have a problem with the American culture.”

    I’m Canadian, and Oprah gets on my nerves. She influences Canadians too – and presumably people anywhere her TV show is syndicated.

    “That’s just propaganda to deflect attention from what really bothers the world about America: It’s foreign policy.”

    American foreign policy is the disaster it is in no small part because of the bread & circuses fed to the masses to keep them from thinking about anything very deeply. Americans are not inherently stupid, but their culture keeps them stupider and more passive than they need be. And Oprah, with her sanctimonious drivel, is a prime purveyor of the worst aspects of American popular culture.

    Look at her influence on the publishing industry. Thanks to her promotion of sappy “female empowerment” rape/abuse/self-esteem soap operas, that’s become the only kind of manuscript most editors want to see, ESPECIALLY if the author is female! And with media consolidation, with corporate ownership, & with the rise of the big chain bookstores in every city, that means authors EVERYWHERE, not just American authors. She hasn’t increased opportunities for talented female writers, she’s decreased them. In a world where Oprah can single-handedly make a book a hit, an ambitious editor would be crazy NOT to give top priority to maudlin “empowerment” tripe, & take a pass on manuscripts of real quality.

    “There’s been mountains of empirical evidence showing how the tabloid talk show genre, pioneered by Donahue, turned into a huge industry by Oprah, and taken to absurd extremes by Springer, had single handedly mainstreamed gays, and given them a decade and a half of high impact media visibility.”

    Donahue did way more to mainstream homosexuality than Oprah. You’re absolutely right if you’re talking about Donahue’s impact, but why give Oprah credit for his courage and his pioneering? Oprah only likes the gays around as little eunuch-like drones buzzing around and catering to the needs of the queen bee. And Donahue is still taking on the bullies, like when he appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show and took him to the cleaners about the war in Iraq.

    “Fair point. Angelou is not a great poet and is mostly famous because Oprah felt it was important to see more black women represented on the best seller lists, and thus allowed diversity to trump merit when making some of her selections.”

    But the problem isn’t that she promotes bad black writers. The problem is she promotes bad writers, PERIOD, because she agrees with what she takes to be their “message.” It’s why a movie like CRASH (written & directed by a Canadian: see, we can play the finger-waving sanctimony game quite as well as you guys can!) or SCHINDLER’S LIST wins a ton of Oscars and treated like the greatest film of the year or the decade, because people agree with “the important message” about “racism” or “the Holocaust,” and shunt real art to the sidelines because its themes aren’t so transparent.

    I think her detractors would be overjoyed if she promoted some of the major black artists mentioned in earlier posts (Thylias Moss, Baldwin etc). But she won’t do that because they don’t tie their work up in nice little bows. It could even be argued that it’s much harder today for serious black writers to get published and recognized than before Oprah started influencing the publishing industry, because now editors all want black artists to fit into their little niche markets, especially the Oprah “sob story” niche. If you’re a black woman writer, and you’re not either the Terry MacMillan “Waiting to Exhale” soap opera niche, or the Alice Walker/Maya Angelou “empowerment” niche, good luck to you!

  • Tina

    “She covered it up for months, and only when the ‘victim’ went to the local press and it exploded did she deal with it.”

    Do you have any evidence to back up this disgusting smear?

    “Donahue did way more to mainstream homosexuality than Oprah. You’re absolutely right if you’re talking about Donahue’s impact, but why give Oprah credit for his courage and his pioneering?”

    I give them both credit. I give Donahue credit for pioneering the format, but I credit Oprah for popularizing and revolutionizing the genre. For years Donahue was the sole progressive voice on TV, but Oprah doubled Donahue’s ratings and negotiated the best deal in television history. It was only after Oprah demonstrated how lucrative Donahue’s format could be when one focused on the more taboo topics like gays that it exploded into a giant industry providing a decade and a half of much needed high impact media visibility that did more to make gays mainstream than any other development of the 20th century. I’m not claiming Oprah had noble intentions; she had simply found a formula that worked, and it kicked off the most important counter-culture movement in modern media. But of course without Donahue, there would have been no Oprah so he deserves a ton of credit.

    “American foreign policy is the disaster it is in no small part because of the bread & circuses fed to the masses to keep them from thinking about anything very deeply. Americans are not inherently stupid, but their culture keeps them stupider and more passive than they need be. And Oprah, with her sanctimonious drivel, is a prime purveyor of the worst aspects of American popular culture.”

    I don’t think Oprah’s mainstreaming of gays and secularization of spirituality or encouragement of reading has dumbed down the culture; just the opposite actually. And in fact the average American IQ has increased 3 points since Oprah began, and in fact America has one of the highest average IQ’s in the world (mostly because it’s a rich country where the brain is well nourished).

    You can’t blame foreign policy on the American stupidity or American’s wonderful popular culture and entertainment industry that is loved throughout the world. You could just as easily blame sports and wrestling for dumbing us down instead of ridiculing female entertainment, or blame great literature for getting us to read make belief stories instead of paying attention to the real events of our time.

    Who you should blame is the powerful lobbyists who have a stranglehold on congress and the white house. You can blame it on the fact the fact that only a handful of people control all the major news shows and newspapers and they deliberately distort the news to mislead people.

    “Oh gee, ever hear of September 11th? Or was that just ‘propaganda’? Are you high or something? Is this a joke?”

    The fact that you think Sept 11th happened because the rest of the world hates America’s popular culture is a perfect example of how you’ve been duped by the news media. They want you to think America is hated because of it’s culture, secularism, and alternative life styles when the real reason is it’s policy in the middle east. Fortunately they have gullible sheep like you insisting American culture is the problem, thus allowing them to continue their policy.

    “Look at her influence on the publishing industry. Thanks to her promotion of sappy “female empowerment” rape/abuse/self-esteem soap operas, that’s become the only kind of manuscript most editors want to see,”

    You’re confusing the content of her show with the content of the books she promotes. Oprah’s selections include Cormac McCarthy, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Morrison, Franzen, James Frey, Steinbeck, Joyce Carol Oates, and countless others who don’t engage in sappy soap operas. And she only selects several books a year. I somehow doubt that publisher are rearranging their entire publishing policy just on the outside chance Oprah might pick their book. Now if Oprah had inspired every host on TV to start book clubs with the same kind of themes, then your argument might make sense.

    “The problem is she promotes bad writers, PERIOD, because she agrees with what she takes to be their ‘message.'”

    She promotes writers YOU think are bad. She obviously doesn’t think they’re bad. The consumer obviously doesn’t think they’re bed. And the majority of her selections got good reviews at the time of their publications. What makes you think all these people are wrong, and YOU know the truth about good art. You remind me of a religious fundamentalist with your dogmatic assumption that only the text you worship is worthy, and everyone else is misguided.

    And at least Oprah has gotten millions of couch potatoes to read challenging high vocabulary literature like Toni Morrison, which is a hell of a lot more than they were doing before she started her book club. And since many in her audience are moms, many black moms who live in the inner city, and since the biggest influence on a child’s literacy is the literacy and reading habits of her mother, Oprah’s probably done more for child literacy than almost any single individual. I think you need to step out and look at this from a different perspective.

  • No Oprah Zone

    “You remind me of a religious fundamentalist with your dogmatic assumption that only the text you worship is worthy, and everyone else is misguided.”

    You’re the one who runs to an authorized “holy text,” the New York Times Book Review or whatnot, for “proof” that something is good. That makes you the fundamentalist, since you think whatever gets the “official” book reviewer’s seal of approval is good. The fact that NONE of the mainstream reviewers clued into the fact that James Frey’s memoir was fake, whereas at least a couple fringe publications did, shows the mainstream reviewers don’t have very good judgment. Amazing how they keep falling for one fake memoir after another. Obviously they don’t have a very good bullshit detector.

    “Oprah’s selections include Cormac McCarthy, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Morrison, Franzen, James Frey, Steinbeck, Joyce Carol Oates, and countless others who don’t engage in sappy soap operas.”

    I give her credit for putting Tolstoy on her list, but how can she read ANNA KARENINA and then read A MILLION LITTLE PIECES and think they are both “important”? That’s like someone looking at Edward Hopper, then looking at Thomas Kinkade, & thinking they were both great artists needing celebrating.

    The problem is for every good thing she does she does something else that cancels it out. She promotes Tolstoy, but then she promotes some piece of maudlin empowerment drivel. She talks about not being materialistic & how to be more spiritual, but then a day later she’s hawking the latest “must have” item of clothing or product. Then her fans say you cant criticize her because she did this or that good thing.

    “I somehow doubt that publisher are rearranging their entire publishing policy just on the outside chance Oprah might pick their book.”

    Well, you think wrong. The whole publishing industry is dominated by the desire for more ChickLit for the girls, tenth-rate thrillers for the guys, and sappy (and often fake) memoirs for both genders. Of course Oprah didn’t create these problems, but she exacerbated them. It was already hard for good work to get into print and get noticed, and now it’s even harder. Don’t underestimate the role she played there. She helped changed the whole climate of popular understanding and popular culture, legitimizing the tawdry, the weepy, and the rankly sentimental.

    You say I’ve confused the content of her show with the content of her book club. But her book club was only briefly concerned with the classics (the one phase of it I approve of), & besides, it’s the content of her show that helped dumbed down the whole media landscape in the first place. She played a significant role in dumbing down general public discourse in America, and since American media is beamed into homes all over the world, certainly including Canada (most Canadians watch much more American TV than Canadian TV), I feel entitled to criticize her choice to turn mainstream media discourse into a big, tacky soap opera. She didn’t do it single-handedly, I know that, everybody knows that, but she DID play a major part in doing that. She doesn’t deserve all the blame but she does deserve some.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “Do you have any evidence to back up this disgusting smear?”

    Is that what you asked your gyno when you got your results back?

    “And in fact the average American IQ has increased 3 points since Oprah began, and in fact America has one of the highest average IQ’s in the world (mostly because it’s a rich country where the brain is well nourished).”

    Ok, so like talk about pulling shit out of your ass. How’s that hand doing?

    “The fact that you think Sept 11th happened because the rest of the world hates America’s popular culture is a perfect example of how you’ve been duped by the news media.”

    I never said that was the only reason, but nice attempt at distortion. But I’m also not the one claiming your ridiculous IQ points (or lack there of)above.

    “She promotes writers YOU think are bad. She obviously doesn’t think they’re bad. The consumer obviously doesn’t think they’re bed. And the majority of her selections got good reviews at the time of their publications.”

    There you go relying on others’ opinions. Quality is not subjective. Oprah is a moron who thinks Maya Angelou is a deep writer and that Crash is a great film. Good reviews don’t = quality. Most of Kubrick’s films are panned at the box office but Spielberg’s crap is praised. So what?

    “And at least Oprah has gotten millions of couch potatoes to read challenging high vocabulary literature like Toni Morrison,”

    You have no idea how funny this statement is. Next you’ll say ‘like Harry Potter’

    “Oprah’s probably done more for child literacy than almost any single individual.”

    Oh you mean like the doggerel written by the kid in the wheelchair?

    “You remind me of a religious fundamentalist with your dogmatic assumption that only the text you worship is worthy, and everyone else is misguided.”

    There you go again with your “judging” of someone who doesn’t buy into your BS. Ah, hypocrisies!

    No Oprah Zone: you said it perfectly. Her head is cement though, it will be painful when she tries to excavate it out from her ass.

  • Tina

    “I never said that was the only reason, but nice attempt at distortion. But I’m also not the one claiming your ridiculous IQ points (or lack there of)above.”

    The fact that you think it’s even a significant reason is astonishing and shows your OBSCENE level of ignorance about U.S. foreign policy in the middle east. And no wonder if your biggest concern in life is whether good or bad poetry makes the best seller list. GET A LIFE JESSICA!!!!!!!!!!! And you have the nerve to complain about other people dumbing us down!

    And of course my claim about IQ going up (in sharp contrast to your dumbing down theory) is absolutely supported by the facts. It’s known in psychology as the Flynn Effect. Average IQ in America has been rising at a rate of 3 IQ points per decade for the past several decades, just as average height has been rising through the 20th century. That’s why IQ tests must be constantly re-normed to keep the average IQ at 100. So contrary to your assertion that Oprah feeds off of a dumbed down culture, the truth is she emerged during the most intelligent period in American history.

    You see intelligent people LIKE reading Toni Morrison, they LIKE opening their minds to alternative spirituality like Echart Tolle and alternative life styles like pregnant men and psycho analyzing themselves with the latest self-help book. Intelligent people also tend to have more empathy and so they cry along with little boys in wheelchairs, understanding that the quality of his poetry is not the point.

    And now you’re mocking Toni Morrison’s vocabulary. Next you’ll claim you were reading her in the second grade. Too bad even Nobel prize winning authors can’t meet the exceptional high literary standards of Jessica’s blog.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    The fact that you think it’s even a significant reason is astonishing and shows your OBSCENE level of ignorance about U.S. foreign policy in the middle east.

    Tina, dearest. You are an idiot. This is what you said: “And the rest of the world does not have a problem with the American culture. That’s just propaganda to deflect attention from what really bothers the world about America: It’s foreign policy.”

    It is well known that other countries laugh and make fun of the US Oprah Winfreyish crap, the self-help, the whines, the losers in search of validation. That you don’t know this is your own delusions. It’s also well known that the Middle East resents much of the American culture for it’s materialism, the shallowness, the sense of entitlement. You were the one who brought up Foreign Policy claiming that: “And the rest of the world does not have a problem with the American culture.”

    Clearly, that’s untrue.

    “And no wonder if your biggest concern in life is whether good or bad poetry makes the best seller list.”

    Since when has poetry made the best seller list? When did I say this? Nice try.

    GET A LIFE JESSICA!!!!!!!!!!!

    Funny this comes from you who feels the need to argue with a reviewer on BC. Again, the hand, the smear. How goes it?

    “And you have the nerve to complain about other people dumbing us down!”

    Just look at your own comments and distortions for that one.

    “And in fact the average American IQ has increased 3 points since Oprah began, and in fact America has one of the highest average IQ’s in the world (mostly because it’s a rich country where the brain is well nourished).”

    This is what you said. Do you subscribe to The Bell Curve as well? Do I smell a racist?

    “intelligent people also tend to have more empathy and so they cry along with little boys in wheelchairs, understanding that the quality of his poetry is not the point.”

    One who praises intent is not celebrating intellect. Intelligence has nothing to do with empathy. And quality is the point. Intellect has nothing to do with like. That you can’t see these basic points shows you’re significantly lacking.

    “Too bad even Nobel prize winning authors can’t meet the exceptional high literary standards of Jessica’s blog.”

    So this is what it’s about. There’s better poetry on my blog than any place you’ll find published. Would that Toni Morrison were as good.

  • Tina

    “You’re the one who runs to an authorized ‘holy text,’ the New York Times Book Review or whatnot, for ‘proof’ that something is good. That makes you the fundamentalist, since you think whatever gets the ‘official’ book reviewer’s seal of approval is good.”

    Actually my point was that Oprah’s choices have been popular with BOTH the public and the critics (at least before she picked them), so it’s arbitrary and meaningless for you to say they’re not good books when both the general public and those who study literature disagree. Who died and made you king?

    “The problem is for every good thing she does she does something else that cancels it out. She promotes Tolstoy, but then she promotes some piece of maudlin empowerment drivel.”

    If she only picked books like Tolstoy her club would never have lasted more than a year. What she’s trying to do is get Americans in the habit of reading for pleasure and the way to do that is to offer a wide range of selections, not just those YOU approve of. The whole world doesn’t have to think like you. Oprah is taking people who are used to watching daytime TV and transforming them into readers. Not all of them have the education to appreciate all Tolstoy all the time. Would you rather Oprah closed shop so that Anne Coulter could rule the best seller list? It’s not like Americans make better choices without Oprah.

    “Well, you think wrong. The whole publishing industry is dominated by the desire for more ChickLit for the girls, tenth-rate thrillers for the guys, and sappy (and often fake) memoirs for both genders. Of course Oprah didn’t create these problems, but she exacerbated them.”

    ChickLit is popular because women read for pleasure at higher rates than men do. Oprah exacerbated what YOU see as a problem by encouraging even more women to read, but the reason she sells books so easily in the first place is because she reaches a female demographic.

    “She played a significant role in dumbing down general public discourse in America”

    I think you’re confusing the dumbing down of public discourse with the feminization of public discourse. Certainly Oprah made the discourse more feminine (i.e. Bill Clinton claiming he could feel our pain, stars like Rosie O’Donnell joking about their weight problem). But America’s biggest problem is not that it’s too feminine. It’s that it’s too hyper-masculine and aggressive to the point that much of the world views it as a bully. Oprah may have glorified victimization and portrayed America as a nation of sissies, but if there’s one thing American foreign policy could benefit from, it’s a lot more empathy for other countries.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tina:

    Your pathologies explain why you are an Oprah fan.

    ‘Do you have any evidence to back up this disgusting smear?’

    Yes, it ran on all the major news outlets that it was mos. between the abuse and Oprah’s handling of it. Next.

    ‘The fact that you think Sept 11th happened because the rest of the world hates America’s popular culture is a perfect example of how you’ve been duped by the news media. They want you to think America is hated because of it’s culture, secularism, and alternative life styles when the real reason is it’s policy in the middle east.’

    It hates America’s culture, military and political power, as exemplified by Oprah, Hollywood, and the celebrity culture they pimp.

    ‘She promotes writers YOU think are bad. She obviously doesn’t think they’re bad.’

    And 500 lb. women don’t think they’re disgusting to look at- again, one’s pathologies have no truck w reality.

    ‘”Oprah’s selections include Cormac McCarthy, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Morrison, Franzen, James Frey, Steinbeck, Joyce Carol Oates, and countless others who don’t engage in sappy soap operas.”‘

    Of that list I’ve only not read McCarthy. All the rest are practiced melodramatists. Ever read any of them? Faulkner indulges in stereotypes, Tolstoy in dull bloated tomes, Morrison in tired sagas that peter out a third of the way in, Franzen is soap opera, Frey is soap with blow, Steinbeck- like Shakespeare, has done soapishness- East Of Eden, and Oates is soap opera thru and thru. Again, read any of them?

    ‘Average IQ in America has been rising at a rate of 3 IQ points per decade for the past several decades, just as average height has been rising through the 20th century. That’s why IQ tests must be constantly re-normed to keep the average IQ at 100. So contrary to your assertion that Oprah feeds off of a dumbed down culture, the truth is she emerged during the most intelligent period in American history.’

    You do know of Bell Curves? Well, sorry for asking. While it is no doubt true that the bulk of Americans are now more literate than ever, in actually being able to read, more of them are deliterate- choosing to forgo real lit- choosing to speak in blogese, emailese, textese, to the point that grammar and effective communication are lost. This is why MFA classes exist, because most people cannot write a good business letter. And that’s exactly what MFA courses teach- homogenization, not creativity.
    But, what has happened is that as the bottom has been lifted the top has been damped down into the middle.
    Being more literate and educated in no way equates with intelligence. To even equate the two shows you know not what either term means.

    ‘If she only picked books like Tolstoy her club would never have lasted more than a year. What she’s trying to do is get Americans in the habit of reading for pleasure and the way to do that is to offer a wide range of selections, not just those YOU approve of. The whole world doesn’t have to think like you. Oprah is taking people who are used to watching daytime TV and transforming them into readers. Not all of them have the education to appreciate all Tolstoy all the time. Would you rather Oprah closed shop so that Anne Coulter could rule the best seller list? It’s not like Americans make better choices without Oprah.’

    One does not know if the club wd have been successful had she picked quality because she did not, and her club was criticized early on. Granted, the critics consider an Oates or Dave Eggers good writers vis-a-vis Chick Lit, but thee point is that whether she poisons minds Academia’s way or in her own way, the bodies and minds still hit the floor.

  • Tina

    “It’s also well known that the Middle East resents much of the American culture for it’s materialism, the shallowness, the sense of entitlement. You were the one who brought up Foreign Policy”

    You were the one who brought up September 11th. Do you honestly believe a significant reason why America was attacked was because of disdain for American culture? WOW! You need to stop worrying about literature and read about the history of America’s foreign policy in the middle east and realize the massive impact it’s had on lives in that part of the world which dwarfs any cultural disgust they may have by countless orders of magnitude. That’s exactly the kind of naive rhetoric that got America into war with Iraq: We need to liberate them from oppression so they can stop resenting our indulgences and materialism.

    “This is what you said. Do you subscribe to The Bell Curve as well? Do I smell a racist?”

    I don’t know, did you forget to wear deodorant? And weren’t you one of the ones complaining about close minded people who accused those they disagree with of right-wing bigotry? Everyone respects you for your objective and intellectually honest book review. Don’t ruin it by being a hypocrite in the comment section.

    “One who praises intent is not celebrating intellect. Intelligence has nothing to do with empathy. And quality is the point. Intellect has nothing to do with like. That you can’t see these basic points shows you’re significantly lacking.”

    Intelligence is conceptually independent of empathy but the two are statistically correlated because we are more likely to feel empathy if we are cognitively flexible enough to see the world through someone else’s eyes, and also, a well developed brain will tend to function better in all mental traits, not intelligence only.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    ‘Intelligence is conceptually independent of empathy but the two are statistically correlated because we are more likely to feel empathy if we are cognitively flexible enough to see the world through someone else’s eyes, and also, a well developed brain will tend to function better in all mental traits, not intelligence only.’

    Absolutely not. This is why so many of the world’s greatest geniuses- scientists and artists, were loners and miserable people who made others miserable- from the assorted Greek pedophiles to Picasso to Rilke to the Romantics to the Confessionalists to Van Gogh ans on and on.

    Put down the Psychology 101 and actually think. Unless Oprah’s rotted the remaining 16 neurons you possess.

  • Tina

    “Yes, it ran on all the major news outlets that it was mos. between the abuse and Oprah’s handling of it. Next.”

    Even if that’s true, it in no way proves Oprah covered anything up. In fact Oprah explained in detail at her press conference that she took immediate action as soon as she learned about the abuse, and even fired the principle for not telling her sooner. The principle claims she didn’t know of any abuse.

    “But, what has happened is that as the bottom has been lifted the top has been damped down into the middle.”

    Then blame university not Oprah for dumbing us down. After all you claimed Oprah’s audience is not bright and claimed she appeals to the lowest common denominator. But if as you say, the lowest common denominator has been lifted, then no wonder for the first time in history we see the great unwashed masses running out to buy books by Tolstoy, Faulkner, and Morrison (though I realize they don’t live up to your high standards).

    “Being more literate and educated in no way equates with intelligence. To even equate the two shows you know not what either term means.”

    I didn’t equate the two. I said IQ has gone up. I said nothing about rising education levels which I agree has demonstrated lopsided growth.

  • No Oprah Zone

    “I think you’re confusing the dumbing down of public discourse with the feminization of public discourse.”

    So when you watch a movie, do you think a movie critic should go all easy on a “feminine” piece of junk like TITANIC, but go all hard on a “masculine” piece of junk like a Schwarznegger, Stallone, Steven Seagal movie? Junk is junk. A dumbed-down “feminized” discourse like Oprah’s may be marginally preferable to a dumbed-down “masculinized” discourse like O’Reilly’s or Limbaugh’s, but I’d prefer to listen to neither. And what about that moronic hayseed quack, Dr. Phil? He’s her creation too, another checkmark in the “minus” column for Oprah.

    I don’t like lowest-common-denominator shows, whether they take a touchy-feely “feminine” tone or whether they take a swaggering, posturing “masculine” tone. Phil Donahue was a great TV personality, & seeing him give O’Reilly a smackdown on the O’Reilly Factor, watching him shred that bozo’s arguments, reminded me how much smarter, braver, honest, & more entertaining he was than Oprah will ever be. It was Oprah who started the whole Jerry Springer junk TV trend, but unlike Springer, she’s not honest about it. Oprah’s show might be good sometimes, but mostly she’s so sanctimonious I can’t stand her.

  • Tina

    “Absolutely not. This is why so many of the world’s greatest geniuses- scientists and artists, were loners and miserable people who made others miserable- from the assorted Greek pedophiles to Picasso to Rilke to the Romantics to the Confessionalists to Van Gogh ans on and on.”

    They were miserable loners not because they lacked intrinsic empathy, but because they were so much smarter than the average human that it took far more effort to empathize with people so inherently different. However in a world full of geniuses they would have fit right in, and a non-genius would be the loner. These geniuses were also miserable because they were smart enough to see the dark reality of life, and were too rationale to drown their fears in religion.

    And many geniuses demonstrated considerable empathy and popular appeal. Shakespeare in his time was wildly wealthy and popular with the low brow masses.

    I’m not saying intelligence and empathy always go together. On the contrary they are two very different things, and some of the greatest minds have been cold blooded psychopaths. But statistically there is at least a small correlation for the reasons I described above.

  • Tina

    “Phil Donahue was a great TV personality, & seeing him give O’Reilly a smackdown on the O’Reilly Factor, watching him shred that bozo’s arguments, reminded me how much smarter, braver, honest, & more entertaining he was than Oprah will ever be.”

    America disagreed. Not only did her ratings double Donahue’s IMMEDIATELY but one TV critic wrote “Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more sincere, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world.” Of course this was written when she first started. She’s changed A LOT over the years and has started to coast on her past success and let her producers do more and more of the work. She also now takes herself very seriously, unlike when she started.

    Personally I think they’re both brilliant, but in very different ways. Donahue was a much better journalist (though Oprah did the best hardball interrogation I’ve ever seen against James Frey) but Oprah was a much better entertainer. Oprah’s far better at energizing her audience, making them laugh, get excited and cry. The most the magical moments in television history occurred on Oprah like when her audience cried like babies over seeing her reunite with her fourth grade teacher, seeing her get surprised by Marry Tyler Moore, seeing her jump around as she hands out free cars. Donahue wasn’t capable of any of that. His true calling was journalism and he did an outstanding job hosting a cable news show on MSNBC. But he’s not a natural entertainer. Oprah is.

    “Oprah who started the whole Jerry Springer junk TV trend,”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. As I explained above, a Yale study found that trashy talk shows did more to mainstream gays than any other development of the 20th century. It’s not that Donahue’s intelligent style wasn’t useful, however he didn’t have anywhere near the market penetration as Oprah’s low down dirty style and the trash talk show industry she unleashed. Of course since 1995 she’s been distancing herself from her trashy roots which is probably why she started a book club in the first place.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “Do you honestly believe a significant reason why America was attacked was because of disdain for American culture?”

    Gee, that’s a far-fetched concept! Put down the New Age crap and turn off Oprah and maybe you’ll… no, there’s no hope for you.

    “They were miserable loners not because they lacked intrinsic empathy, but because they were so much smarter than the average human that it took far more effort to empathize with people so inherently different.”

    How do you know what “intrinsic” anything they had? Or is this another thing you’re cribbing from your old college notes written by clueless Yale “scholars”? Do you even see the contradiction in your statement?

    And most of the artists were depressed loners because very often the pap in their day was praised because of folks like you who rely on what critics say (and Ivy League “scholars”) and can’t form their own opinions. Oprah level literary pap from 100+ years ago hasn’t changed, while the Whitmans and Melvilles went unappreciated.

    “However in a world full of geniuses they would have fit right in, and a non-genius would be the loner.”

    This is completely false. Most “geniuses” cannot stand one another. Obviously you’ve never worked in science. Most of the great writers hated others–Picasso loathed other artists, even talented ones. A non-genius is never going to have to worry about being a “loner” because there are far too many of them. You should know this.

    “I don’t know, did you forget to wear deodorant?”

    You’re the supposed exhibitionist. For that, one wouldn’t have to sniff very far.

    “a Yale study found that trashy talk shows did more to mainstream gays than any other development of the 20th century.”

    Yet again, cribbing from others (Ivy League no doubt) when you don’t have your own defense. Yawn.

  • Tina

    “And most of the artists were depressed loners because very often the pap in their day was praised because of folks like you who rely on what critics say”

    I don’t rely on what critics say. I’m simply pointing out that just because you dislike a certain book does not make it bad, and that there are educated opinions in the opposite direction. I don’t presume to know who is right, or even if an absolute right answer can exist.

    “This is completely false. Most “geniuses” cannot stand one another. Obviously you’ve never worked in science. Most of the great writers hated others–Picasso loathed other artists, even talented ones.”

    You’re judging them in the context of a non-genius society where each is used to being the best and resents others for threatening their status. But in a hypothetical society where everyone was a genius, they wouldn’t have developed such egos in the first place.

    Also, the figures you cite have a lot more going on than JUST high intelligence. Exceptionally creative people usually have a mix of high IQ and latent disinhibition (inability to ignore distracting thoughts). It’s the latter trait that may have caused some of their social problems.

    “Yet again, cribbing from others (Ivy League no doubt) when you don’t have your own defense. Yawn.”

    You accuse me of pulling things out of my ass, but when I cite empirical research you accuse me of cribbing from others. Yawn indeed.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    ‘Even if that’s true, it in no way proves Oprah covered anything up. In fact Oprah explained in detail at her press conference that she took immediate action as soon as she learned about the abuse, and even fired the principle for not telling her sooner. The principle claims she didn’t know of any abuse.’

    Look at how you excuse make: ‘even if it’s true. It is true, and then you decide to fob off the blame on underlings. Yet you also claimed, ”She didn’t cover it up. She hired a team of investigators, a child trauma specialist, replaced most of the staff, and held a press conference and gave detailed non-evasive answers to every single question.” even when it was reported that her staff at the school tried for mos. to get Oprah to act on things, and she only did so after it became a scandal. You want it both ways- but no- Oprah’s either a) incompetent or b) deceitful. Choose.

    ‘Not only did her ratings double Donahue’s IMMEDIATELY but one TV critic wrote “Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more sincere, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world.”‘

    Piffle. Appeal to authority fallacy. Means nada, unlike the documented coverup at the school scandal.

    ‘a Yale study found that trashy talk shows did more to mainstream gays than any other development of the 20th century.’

    See the above fallacy; and you also lump together perversions with homosexuality. People doingg outrageopus things sexuall is not akin to mainstream gays- most of whom are middle-aged bores with dull or nonexistent sex lives, just like most heteros; so yet again you pander stereotypes to make points that appeal to authorities whose claims you misrepresent, when you even understand them at all.

    ‘They were miserable loners not because they lacked intrinsic empathy, but because they were so much smarter than the average human that it took far more effort to empathize with people so inherently different.’

    You truly do not know what you are talking about. Empathy is a thing you have or not. It’s like stating that it requires an effort to will one’s eye color to blue from brown.

    ‘However in a world full of geniuses they would have fit right in, and a non-genius would be the loner. These geniuses were also miserable because they were smart enough to see the dark reality of life, and were too rationale to drown their fears in religion.’

    Right here you contradict yourself: ”Intelligence is conceptually independent of empathy but the two are statistically correlated because we are more likely to feel empathy if we are cognitively flexible enough to see the world through someone else’s eyes, and also, a well developed brain will tend to function better in all mental traits, not intelligence only.’ Which is it- were the geniuses miserable loners or empathetic saints?

    ‘And many geniuses demonstrated considerable empathy and popular appeal. Shakespeare in his time was wildly wealthy and popular with the low brow masses.’

    He was one of few exceptions; Picasso another. Most of the great writers and painters and artists were struggling to pay bills while serving their demanding patrons, or fending off starvation because no one gave a rat’s ass for them. This is the exceptional fallacy- using the exception to try and prove a rule. You are awfully good at fallaciousness, but I’m better at debunking them.

    ‘You’re judging them in the context of a non-genius society where each is used to being the best and resents others for threatening their status. But in a hypothetical society where everyone was a genius, they wouldn’t have developed such egos in the first place.’

    First, intellect has no correlation with emotional development, which is why many prodigies still act like petulant brats. Second, if everyone was a genius, hypothetical or not, no one would be a genius- all is relative in regards to where one is located- the bell curve again. If all women were supermodels there would be no ‘supermodel looks.’ The point?

    ‘Also, the figures you cite have a lot more going on than JUST high intelligence. Exceptionally creative people usually have a mix of high IQ and latent disinhibition (inability to ignore distracting thoughts). It’s the latter trait that may have caused some of their social problems.’

    Again, 100% wrong. Where do you get such nonsense? The thing that separates the greats from the non-greats is less talent-based and more application-based; i.e.- the geniuses are obsessed with succeeding, and intensely focused. Next.

    ‘You accuse me of pulling things out of my ass, but when I cite empirical research you accuse me of cribbing from others. Yawn indeed.’

    You cite claims from groups w axes to grind and whose claims are dubious or dismissable with common sense, like ‘Exceptionally creative people usually have a mix of high IQ and latent disinhibition (inability to ignore distracting thoughts).’ That goes against common sense, experience I have had with others, myself, and other creative people over the decades, and all research.

    Next.

  • Tina

    “it was reported that her staff at the school tried for mos. to get Oprah to act on things, and she only did so after it became a scandal.”

    Reported by who? Provide a link.

    “Piffle. Appeal to authority fallacy. Means nada,”

    You reject popular appeal as a yard stick for measuring art, and you also reject critical acclaim. And yet you insist that some art is good and other art is bad. By whose standard?

    “See the above fallacy; and you also lump together perversions with homosexuality. People doingg outrageopus things sexuall is not akin to mainstream gays- most of whom are middle-aged bores with dull or nonexistent sex lives, just like most heteros; so yet again you pander stereotypes to make points that appeal to authorities whose claims you misrepresent, when you even understand them at all.”

    The value of trashy talk shows was that they provided a decade and a half of high impact media visibility which desensitized the culture to gays. Behavior that was initially seen as outrageous and perverted began to be viewed as normal. That was the conclusion of the Yale study I cited, but just because it’s Yale does not make it true, and so I respect your opinion on the subject too.

    “Empathy is a thing you have or not. It’s like stating that it requires an effort to will one’s eye color to blue from brown.”

    Empathy is indeed a trait you have or do not, but its manifestation is situation dependent. Having long arms is something we have or we don’t but our ability to touch someone’s head depends on our proximity to them. We are more empathetic to those we can relate to, and more hostile and detached towards those we can’t.

    “Which is it- were the geniuses miserable loners or empathetic saints?”

    See above.

    “This is the exceptional fallacy- using the exception to try and prove a rule. You are awfully good at fallaciousness, but I’m better at debunking them.”

    I never asserted that Shakespeare was typical of cultural geniuses.

    “First, intellect has no correlation with emotional development, which is why many prodigies still act like petulant brats.”

    Many mentally disabled people also act like petulant brats. You can confirm or refute any hypothesis using vague anecdotal examples. If you’re really interested in this topic I suggest you read empirical research correlating IQ with emotional sensitivity, the IQ’s of psychopaths etc.

    “Second, if everyone was a genius, hypothetical or not, no one would be a genius- all is relative in regards to where one is located- the bell curve again. If all women were supermodels there would be no ‘supermodel looks.’ The point?”

    The point was to describe a society where everyone was a genius relative to our current society.

    “Again, 100% wrong. Where do you get such nonsense? The thing that separates the greats from the non-greats is less talent-based and more application-based; i.e.- the geniuses are obsessed with succeeding, and intensely focused.”

    That’s extremely important too, but recent research has shown that a combination of high IQ and low latent inhibition predicts creative achievement. Low latent inhibition puts one at risk for mental illness (and a lot of the relatives of creative geniuses were mentally ill) but if one has a high enough IQ, they can rapidly combine all those distracting irrelevant thoughts in ways that are both novel and valuable. That was what at least one Harvard study found, but it’s hardly the final word on this complex topic so feel free to disagree.

  • No Oprah Zone

    “They were miserable loners not because they lacked intrinsic empathy, but because they were so much smarter than the average human that it took far more effort to empathize with people so inherently different. However in a world full of geniuses they would have fit right in, and a non-genius would be the loner. These geniuses were also miserable because they were smart enough to see the dark reality of life, and were too rationale to drown their fears in religion.”

    Do you think Oprah understands any of this? There’s a lot of truth here, but it’s the sort of thing Oprah’s show DOESN’T acknowledge, because she’s too busy spreading placating, soothing lies instead. In her dim-witted, self-serving worldview, people are “miserable” because they haven’t seen “the truth” like the Big O does. She’s so happy because she’s so wonderful, and if you’re miserable, well, it’s not because you’re a genius struggling against the grain, it’s because you haven’t come round to the Oprah way of seeing things.

    She never considers the damage she does to the truth, to artistic truth, when she promotes dreck like A MILLION LITTLE PIECES. For her, “the truth” is whatever conforms to what she already thinks. If another Whitman or another Emily Dickinson or another Nietzsche were to appear in our midst, the Big O would be the last person to appreciate or even attempt to understand their ideas.

    Everything you just wrote here is ten times more interesting than anything Oprah is capable of even contemplating. Because, if what you just wrote is true, then much of what Oprah peddles is a pack of lies designed to stroke the egos of legions of non-geniuses, and at the expense of the health and well-being of geniuses.

    I guarantee that if Dickinson, or Nietzsche, or Herman Melville, or Picasso, or Michelangelo were alive today, they would have contempt and revulsion for Oprah. They would not admire her talk show. They would despise it & despise the Dr. Phil show & be embittered by them.

    “You say that like it’s a bad thing. As I explained above, a Yale study found that trashy talk shows did more to mainstream gays than any other development of the 20th century. It’s not that Donahue’s intelligent style wasn’t useful, however he didn’t have anywhere near the market penetration as Oprah’s low down dirty style and the trash talk show industry she unleashed.”

    But the reason he didn’t have the same “market penetration” as Oprah is the same reason that great artists (Shakespeare excepted) usually don’t have the same “market penetration” as bad, trashy artists. He wouldn’t lower himself to her level.

    The logic if that study is ludicrous. By that standard, we should all be grateful to movies like GONE WITH THE WIND for showing that black people can be prominent characters in a film, that movies don’t have to be about white people only. Never mind that all the blacks in the movie are crass, vacuous, air-headed Mammy types. We should be more grateful to the makers of GONE WITH THE WIND and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER than any filmmaker of real sensitivity and insight, because after all, they reached more people! I’m weary of this logic. It’s the same logic that leads people to vote for Paul Haggis movies to win Oscars: because, after all, there may be better stuff out there, but nobody saw those movies, so better give it to Haggis instead: he’s “fighting racism” after all.

    What Donahue understood is that sometimes there’s a trade-off. If a certain level of stupidity is required to reach certain audience segments, then there’s no point in reaching them. Is it really beneficial to reach more people if what you project is some annoying, flakey “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” stereotype? What was good about Donahue is he would broach taboo subjects WITHOUT sensationalizing them, at least not too much. Are we all supposed to bow down to Oprah as the champion of gay rights? Like I said, her main fondness for gays seems to relate to their ability to doll her up, dress her in stylish clothes so she doesn’t look too fat, & redecorate her various mansions for her. That is, they make nice servants and sounding boards, nice drones serving the queen bee, or Queen O rather, & not feel threatening to deadman Stedman, who seems to have as little passion to touch the Big O’s little “o” as any homosexual. Contrast that to Donahue, who relates to various people more as individuals than as part of some collective group identity.

    ‘Not only did her ratings double Donahue’s IMMEDIATELY but one TV critic wrote “Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more sincere, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world.”‘

    That critic is an idiot. That comment looks especially dim-witted in retrospect, when we can still see Donahue intelligently commenting on world affairs, and even at his now advanced age demolishing fools like O’Reilly on their own home turf, whereas Oprah would be helpless against O’Reilly, or any right-wing demagogue, because she doesn’t know anything, she’s insulated from real issues, and she doesn’t have any solid grasp of world events. Imagine Oprah trying to debate a clever apologist for the Bush administration like Christopher Hitchens about the war in Iraq, whereas Donahue still has the chops. Hitchens would make mince-meat out of the Big O.

    She is also not a particularly sincere person, I find her to be major fake. That she understands her audience is true, but Michael Bay and James Cameron obviously understand audiences better than Woody Allen or Terrence Malick, does that make them better filmmakers?

  • Tina

    “Do you think Oprah understands any of this? There’s a lot of truth here, but it’s the sort of thing Oprah’s show DOESN’T acknowledge, because she’s too busy spreading placating, soothing lies instead. In her dim-witted, self-serving worldview, people are “miserable” because they haven’t seen “the truth” like the Big O does. She’s so happy because she’s so wonderful, and if you’re miserable, well, it’s not because you’re a genius struggling against the grain, it’s because you haven’t come round to the Oprah way of seeing things.”

    Oprah had to acquire her placating soothing world view as a psychological survival strategy. As we’ve discussed, Oprah had to endure racism, sexism, weightism, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, poverty, illegitimacy. The power of positive thinking and an internal locus of control was the only thing that kept her from going insane and an internal locus of control is what allowed her to overcome adversity. That’s what worked for her, and if it worked so well for her, she wants to share it with others. To cynics like yourself it sounds like soothing nonsense, but you’re not her target audience, and you’re coming at the world from a completely different perspective than she is.

    “If another Whitman or another Emily Dickinson or another Nietzsche were to appear in our midst, the Big O would be the last person to appreciate or even attempt to understand their ideas.”

    I think you’re really underestimating her. In fact Emily Dickinson is one of Oprah’s favorite authors; when asked about her future plans she loves to quote Dickinson saying “I dwell in possibilities.” And Oprah has proven herself someone willing to step out of her literary comfort zone. She shocked the literary world when she selected Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” for her book club, because here we have a work of art that goes against all the feel good rhetoric she claims to stand for and instead depicts cannibalism and dead babies. Oprah prides herself in being open minded.

    “Because, if what you just wrote is true, then much of what Oprah peddles is a pack of lies designed to stroke the egos of legions of non-geniuses, and at the expense of the health and well-being of geniuses.”

    I don’t see it that way. It’s not a lie for Oprah to sell the average person happiness through positive thinking because the average person is not burdened by a deeper darker understanding of the world that afflicts some one in a million genius. Her solutions would be useless to the pathologically brilliant because positive thinking could not distract them from all the horrors they are able to see, but they’re not her target audience, and her solutions work well for the people she speaks to.

    “I guarantee that if Dickinson, or Nietzsche, or Herman Melville, or Picasso, or Michelangelo were alive today, they would have contempt and revulsion for Oprah.”

    I think you might be surprised by how open minded they might be. For example, the one living author you’d expect to despise Oprah is Cormac McCarthy but he shocked the literary world by giving Oprah his only televised interview ever. This is a man who dwells on the darkest of imagery, has complete disdain for materialism to the point of living in poverty, is unimpressed by celebrity, and told Oprah to her face that he couldn’t care less how many people read his book.

    And yet they hit off well through a kind of opposites attract chemistry, much to the disgust of his hardcore fans. He admired Oprah for her lack of pretense. He’s used to being approached by literary snobs who try to impress him with their pseudo-intellectualism, but Oprah was down to earth and had a genuine curiosity and appreciation of his work.

    “The logic if that study is ludicrous. By that standard, we should all be grateful to movies like GONE WITH THE WIND for showing that black people can be prominent characters in a film, that movies don’t have to be about white people only. Never mind that all the blacks in the movie are crass, vacuous, air-headed Mammy types.”

    Except the gays that appear on trashy talk shows were not subservient; on the contrary they were some of the most flamboyant defiantly proud gays you’ll ever see. And as these shows progressed, it was the homophobics in the audience that increasingly became portrayed as the freaks, often booed by the crowd. That’s probably why social conservatives like Lieberman & Bennette declared war on trashy talk shows and scared Oprah into reinventing her show in 1995.

    “What Donahue understood is that sometimes there’s a trade-off. If a certain level of stupidity is required to reach certain audience segments, then there’s no point in reaching them.”

    On the contrary, it’s the stupid people you need to reach the most, because they’re the most likely to be homophobic. The really smart people don’t need to be enlightened. What Oprah understood was that Donahue was preaching to the choir, but Oprah had the skills to take his format to a much larger audience. But of course Donahue himself deserves so much credit, because as Oprah always says, without Donahue, there would be no Oprah. She’s very proud to consider herself part of his legacy.

    “Like I said, her main fondness for gays seems to relate to their ability to doll her up, dress her in stylish clothes so she doesn’t look too fat, & redecorate her various mansions for her.”

    No her main fondness for gay men is that they are outsiders, just like she, an overweight black woman trying to make it in a medium dominated by svelte white males was an outsider. Also, Oprah’s just an exceptionally empathetic person. That’s not an act because the reason she ended up a talk show host was because she couldn’t report the news without bursting into tears so her TV bosses transfered her.

    “That comment looks especially dim-witted in retrospect, when we can still see Donahue intelligently commenting on world affairs”

    Oprah intelligently comments on world affairs too. Indeed 48 hours before the Iraq war began Oprah had the presence of mind to have Michael Moore protest the war on her show. The Canadian press was blown away anyone on U.S. TV would do that, and called it an extraordinary act of intelligence on her part. And the day after Colin Powell’s bogus presentation to the United Nations that the rest of the media was praising, Oprah hosted a massive two day anti-Iraq war show, where she showed people all over the world warning America not to go to war. The show was so controversial they tried to take it off the air.

    “Imagine Oprah trying to debate a clever apologist for the Bush administration like Christopher Hitchens about the war in Iraq, whereas Donahue still has the chops. Hitchens would make mince-meat out of the Big O.”

    I think Oprah’s FAR more intelligent than she lets on. Fuzzy on the outside, for public consumption. Deliberate, skilled, and sharp as a razor behind the scenes. I’ll never forget the way she tricked James Frey and his publisher into coming on her show for a public flogging, systematically ripping them both to shreds on live TV. I would seriously doubt if even Christopher Hitchens or Donahue could verbally obliterate a best selling author and an eminent publisher that thoroughly. It was an absolute blood bath. I’ve never seen anything like it.

  • No Oprah Zone

    “No her main fondness for gay men is that they are outsiders, just like she, an overweight black woman trying to make it in a medium dominated by svelte white males was an outsider. Also, Oprah’s just an exceptionally empathetic person.”

    Her “empathy” is exaggerated. I find nothing exceptional about her empathy. If she is so “fond” of gay men, then why do they only appear in subservient, cliched roles on her show? She is plenty fond of them as long as everyone knows their place (namely, they’re there to make her look good and worship the diva). But if she is so empathetic, she would be able to treat other people like human beings instead of walking, talking stereotypes and cliches.

    You keep crediting her for all these great social revolutions, which is a bit like giving all the credit for improvements for black people to 70s blaxploitation movies, and very little to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. Sure, I understand why blacks who lived through that era have a fondness and affection for those cheesy, silly blaxploitation flicks, as well as glossy soap operas like Spielberg’s version of THE COLOR PURPLE, but let’s not go overboard here. One reason for their affection is that rude, crude B-movie filmmaking is better than no sympathetic representation on film at all. If the choice is between BIRTH OF A NATION and SHAFT, I’d pick SHAFT too.

    And so it is with the representation of homosexuality on daytime TV. But it’s going too far to give Oprah all this credit. Like I said, it was Phil Donahue who deserves most of the credit, because he was there first, and also, unlike her, he doesn’t reduce everyone to a stereotype. But beyond that, the main cause of changes in attitude was caused by gay rights activists, just as changes in attitudes to race were not primarily the result of Richard Roundtree playing Shaft, but caused by activists, philosophers, writers, thinkers of all sorts. THINKERS, not exploitation filmmakers. I’m not saying I don’t get a kick out of those films, and I’m not saying I don’t understand why black audiences liked them, but they were not the driving force of change, and neither was Oprah vis-a-vis homosexuality.

    What’s just as likely as the thesis you put forward is that the Yale professor in question is gay, is an intellectual, feels guilty about his love of lowest-common-denominator trash TV, & invented a sociological thesis to justify it. It’s not far removed from Pauline Kael’s endless attempts to rationalize away her love of trash movies, her preference for trash over “artsy” movies, which she deemed pretentious (unless a naked Marlon Brando happened to star in them, that is). Since she was a very smart person, yet had trashy lowbrow tastes, she wrote essay after essay explaining why trash revealed more of the truth and was more important and in tune with reality than Ingmar Bergman or whatever other highbrow she despised. The only problem is, her arguments don’t hold up today. The trash she praised is unwatchable now, while many of the films she denounced are still relevant, and still enormously insightful about why things are the way they are. This guy, this Yale prof, sounds like another Kael, the Kael of television, trying to rationally defend his love of TV tabloid trash.
    In doing so, he greatly exaggerates the degree to which it was responsible for changes in attitudes in regards to human sexuality.

    “The Canadian press was blown away anyone on U.S. TV would do that, and called it an extraordinary act of intelligence on her part.”

    The “Canadian press” is not a monolith, and did not break into some unanimous chorus of approval, nor should they. But of course I take your word for it that articles were written in praise of her. What you seem not to realize is it doesn’t take any great act of courage to find articles in the Canadian press praising you. All you have to do is say something bad about Bush and according to lots of lazy Canadian reporters, you’re some kind of hero. Nothing earns more cheap and easy applause from Canadians than an American who denounces his own country. That’s why Michael Moore’s movies receive rave reviews here, and any faults they possess are glossed over. Don’t get me wrong, I like Moore, but just because you read some hyperbolic acclaim for her actions doesn’t mean it was deserved. There’s hyperbolic acclaim for any American who criticizes his own country. It’s one of Canada’s least attractive traits.

    “I think Oprah’s FAR more intelligent than she lets on. Fuzzy on the outside, for public consumption. Deliberate, skilled, and sharp as a razor behind the scenes.”

    Yes. She IS sharp as a razor when it comes to sniffing out the zeitgeist, when latching onto trends, and knowing exactly how to craft her image. She is a genius businesswoman, marketer, and showperson. But so is Madonna, that doesn’t make her a great artist or deep thinker. And neither is Oprah. It’s a particular kind of genius they both possess, but I have limited admiration for that sort of genius. It doesn’t mean they really understand world issues in any depth. She can demolish James Frey but that doesn’t mean she could demolish Hitchens (who very much deserves a good demolishing!).

    “I’ll never forget the way she tricked James Frey and his publisher into coming on her show for a public flogging, systematically ripping them both to shreds on live TV.”

    Her behavior was despicable. Sure, they were incredibly dumb to come on, but her behavior was utterly revolting. Instead of owning up to HER gullibility, she kept pointing the finger at him. Why wasn’t it obvious to her when she read it that it wasn’t true? Didn’t the far-fetched, preposterous details raise any red flags? Instead of ragging on Frey, she should have taken a look in the mirror and asked herself why she’s such a sucker for tawdry (and obviously fabricated) melodrama. Besides, he’s no more of a con artist than she is. Like her, he just peddled what the public wanted to here. Instead of blaming him for lying to her, she should ask why she and her audience are so ready to embrace certain sorts of lies.

  • No Oprah Zone

    “As we’ve discussed, Oprah had to endure racism, sexism, weightism, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, poverty, illegitimacy.”

    As Dan Schneider indicated, there’s no actual proof of her sexual abuse, merely allegations, and I’m increasingly skeptical of her claims. Given she endorses so many memoirs that turn out to be phony, I’m starting to wonder how valid her story is. As far as weightism goes, it’s been as much of an advantage as disadvantage (making her popular with similarly overweight housewives everywhere) – and in fact may be one of the crucial reasons she can’t keep the pounds off, because on some level she knows her weight has been as much of a blessing as a curse.

    “Except the gays that appear on trashy talk shows were not subservient; on the contrary they were some of the most flamboyant defiantly proud gays you’ll ever see. And as these shows progressed, it was the homophobics in the audience that increasingly became portrayed as the freaks, often booed by the crowd.”

    Hattie McDaniel’s Mammy in GWTW isn’t meek & passively subservient either, but she’s still a garish cartoon. And the reason the homophobics became portrayed as freaks is largely due to social change happening all around society, including but not limited to TV. Stop crediting Ricki Lake & Oprah and start crediting activists, political agitators, journalists, intellectuals, writers, scientists…. same as any other social movement. There was no single TV show that caused feminism to occur, though I agree that positive images of women in the workplace helped give it a push. But the hard, heavy-duty slogging was done not by TV shows, but by feminist intellectuals and activists. The real groundwork, in truth, was laid in the distant past by intellectuals like Mary Wollestonecraft, the sort of deep thinker Oprah’s show has helped push to the margins in favor of pabulum feeders like Deepak Chopra.

    I also take offense to your characterization of me as a “cynic”. So because I don’t like Oprah I’m a cynic? What makes you assume I’m opposed to positive thinking? I’m not. But I like it when it’s positive THINKING. It’s the paucity of thought that bothers me about the snake oil salespeople Oprah promotes, not the fact they are, I suppose, “positive” (in my eyes THEY are the cynics, because they assume most people are dumb and need dumbed-down rhetoric, that most people are too dumb and mediocre to face complex, challenging thoughts). I’m not talking about Cormac McCarthy here (a choice I respect), but her promotion of Deepak, The Secret, Tolle etc.
    From my POV they are the cynics, not me, because they assume the majority of people are fools, and try to keep them as dumb as possible.

    And what makes you assume that those of us who dislike Oprah haven’t had our own sufferings and struggles. Maybe we need hope too, but just can’t swallow Oprah’s sappy version of it. You know nothing about me. How arrogant of you to assume my sufferings are nothing as compared with the mighty O’s. And from what I can discern, Dan Schneider’s life hasn’t been a bowl of cherries either. How charitable of you to assume anyone who attacks Oprah must have been born in a mansion with servants in attendance.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Tina:

    ‘Good review, but I disagree with some of your anti-Oprah rhetoric.’

    Why did you lie here when you clearly disagreed w everything? And Jess actually ripped the book, so all these posts do is reveal you as insecure and pathological.

    ‘Reported by who? Provide a link.’

    Google the MSM coverage of it. Actually look into things.

    ‘And yet you insist that some art is good and other art is bad. By whose standard?’

    By the objective standard that all human endeavors have. If a house falls down it matters not if it was pretty. You equate popularity w quality, when the Lowest Common Denominator is one of the easiest determinants of crap.

    ‘The value of trashy talk shows was that they provided a decade and a half of high impact media visibility which desensitized the culture to gays.’

    Nonsense, more ass pulling and resorting to silly claims. There are people who claim AIDS is not caused by HIV. Anyone can pull out a test or poll in support of idiocy. Common sense, however, allows one discernment to see thru such.

    ‘Empathy is indeed a trait you have or do not, but its manifestation is situation dependent. Having long arms is something we have or we don’t but our ability to touch someone’s head depends on our proximity to them. We are more empathetic to those we can relate to, and more hostile and detached towards those we can’t.’

    Again you have no clue. Empathy is always there- what you describe is sympathy- they are not the same. One can be empathetic while feeling rage, but one can not be sympathetic while furious. Two different things,, and as usual you conflate them.

    Tina: you typed: ‘I never asserted that Shakespeare was typical of cultural geniuses.’ But prior, you typed: ‘And many geniuses demonstrated considerable empathy and popular appeal. Shakespeare in his time was wildly wealthy and popular with the low brow masses.’ The word many, and then using him as an example of one of the many confers upon him the status of not being singular, i.e.- more like than not, or typical. Again, you say one thing and contradict it. Then you lie.

    You type ‘Many mentally disabled people also act like petulant brats.’ Right above I wrote: ‘”First, intellect has no correlation with emotional development, which is why many prodigies still act like petulant brats.”‘

    Were you a good reader you wd see my statement in no way conflicts w yours, which means your supposed refutation is really an agreement, meaning, again, you do not or cannot read, and do not understand things at any level deeper than that of a Dairy Queen shakemaker.

    ‘The point was to describe a society where everyone was a genius relative to our current society.’

    It’s a pointless comparison. All humans are geniuses compared to wolfpacks and ant colonies, but that societies geniuses wd have to stand out from their society, not ours. Again, you are a typical Internet troll- clueless and desperately trying to sound intelligent as you drown by your own hands pushing you under.

    ‘That’s extremely important too, but recent research has shown that a combination of high IQ and low latent inhibition predicts creative achievement. Low latent inhibition puts one at risk for mental illness’

    Now you are begging the creativity = mental illness fallacy. They are two things that can produce similar results- depression, suicide, anger, frustration, but they stem from two sources- one from excellence frustrated by the numerical supremacy of mediocrity outside, and the other from mental ills within. They are often conflated, and before you make excuses, the reason is that most researchers simply have no ability to discern the truly creative from the truly ill because they cannot critically discern quality. For every possible Keats at a poetry slam there are 10,000 doggerelists w mental ills of one kind or another. Picking up a brush simply does not make one Goya.

    And when Oprah has William Kennedy, Barry Lopez, James Emanuel, Charles Johnson, or me on, then you can claim that she’d be giving great artists their due. Till then, such claims are silly.

    ‘On the contrary, it’s the stupid people you need to reach the most, because they’re the most likely to be homophobic.’

    On the contrary- all bigotry is based in emotion. Intellect has nothing to do with it. Think Josef Mengele was dumb? He was brilliant, buit filled with bile. Think the Founding Fathers were stooges? But racists and slave-owners. Again, you fundamentally do not know what you speak of.

    ‘I’ll never forget the way she tricked James Frey and his publisher into coming on her show for a public flogging, systematically ripping them both to shreds on live TV. I would seriously doubt if even Christopher Hitchens or Donahue could verbally obliterate a best selling author and an eminent publisher that thoroughly. It was an absolute blood bath. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

    She created him and had to kill him to save her own hide. The most amazing thing was that no one- not she nor the ‘critics’ actually assailed the book for its atrocious writing. Memoir exists in a quasi-truth place, which is why it is not historical autobiography. Oprah’s zombies, who value ‘truth’ over ‘art’ got on her case, and she bowed to them, so that she’d not lose face and ratings. It’s a perfect example of media whoring. That you see it as a positive shows how warped your reality is.

    ‘Donahue could verbally obliterate a best selling author’

    Watch some old clips of his show- he did so on a regular basis, and they were plenty smarter than the drug-addled and closeted Frey.

    Tina: Seriously, what is wrong w you? Are you a fat, sexually abused woman with drug addiction problems and an inferiority complex? This is about the only reason I can see why you would degrade yourself in public this way, in support of a woman who has used and abused those less powerful and intelligent for two decades.

    Oprah continues the American tradition of exploitation and mockery that Fox News, Bill Moyers, and Rush Limbaugh do, yet because you agree w her politics, she’s ok.

    C’mon, you cannot be this dumb or emotionally immature.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    Oprah also defended James Frey when he went on Larry King. That was her 1st move, to defend him. She only retracted her defense when critics and even her fans started ripping her for it. She had to do something to save her ratings.

    “Intelligent people also tend to have more empathy and so they cry along with little boys in wheelchairs, understanding that the quality of his poetry is not the point.”

    And onto this absurd point. For someone who lectures about “empathy” (even though Dan has shown you clearly don’t understand the meaning of that vs. sympathy) not only does this ridiculous point show that you, like Oprah, cater to the lowest common denominator, it shows you really don’t understand “empathy” because you’re only thinking about the kid in the wheelchair and HIS “feelings”, not that of some other writer with talent and quality who does NOT get published or pushed on her show, and in exchange you get this kid who writes doggerel getting published and stocked on the book shelves. How does this not cater to the dumbing down of discourse when this is what passes for “poetry”? Do you ever think about the “feelings” of the talented writers/artists who sit back and watch while this pap is praised? After all, she’d rather have a pregnant man on her show than a real “intellectual” who has contributed something of real worth.

    Also, proof that Oprah is only concerned with shallow celebrity–when she had Jerry Seinfeld’s wife on her show to promote her cookbook (that eventually was accused of being plagiarized from Missy Chase Lupine’s The Sneaky Chef). Chase Lupine was the food editor of Eating Well Magazine and her staff tried to get her on Oprah 5 times and was rejected. Yet when there’s a celebrity there, you can bet Oprah will welcome it. You can Google it.

    Her bias for celebrity is obvious. Choosing the alleged plagiarist and wife of Jerry Seinfeld to come on her show to promote her cookbook over that of the food editor of a well known magazine, a “professional” in her field, shows that Oprah only cares about celebrity, ratings, and pimping herself and her products. The thing is, it wouldn’t be so bad if all she did was pimp material crap, but pimping this New Age psychobabble that encourages this sense of entitlement only adds to the dumbing down of discourse, the greediness, the narcissism, and the shallowness of American culture.

    But then she just throws some dollars out to charities, makes sure the media covers it so EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT IT, all for the sake of pimping her reputation and deflecting her critics. Simply giving money away does not exempt someone from flaws and the criticism of those flaws.

    And she is losing ratings, many of her fans have turned on her (The Eat Pray Love obsession and comparing that to the Bible pissed off a number of the religious ones) though few of her fans are as delusional and zombie like as you’ve shown yourself to be.

    You are a major yawnfest Tina. Everything you say is generic and laced in emotion. You have no ability to be objective whatsoever. You are as biased as this guy who wrote the book, just in the other direction. Yawn again.

  • Tina

    “Google the MSM coverage of it. Actually look into things.”

    No you claimed that Oprah’s staff tried for months to get Oprah to take action against abuse and she only did so after it became a scandal. Show me one link backing up that outrageous claim.

    “Her ‘empathy’ is exaggerated. I find nothing exceptional about her empathy.”

    Anyone who can’t report the evening news without bursting into tears is exceptionally empathetic.

    “If she is so ‘fond’ of gay men, then why do they only appear in subservient, cliched roles on her show?”

    They don’t. Gays on her show appear in powerful creative roles, like Suzie Orman who gives powerful financial advice or Nate Berkus who she made host of both a reality TV show and a radio show, or the gay prince from India who is royalty.
    Indeed when Berkus’lover was lost in the tsunami, Oprah personally hired a platoon of helicopters to go searching for him.

    “Like I said, it was Phil Donahue who deserves most of the credit, because he was there first, and also, unlike her, he doesn’t reduce everyone to a stereotype.”

    Well Oprah gives Donahue ALL of the credit. I give Donahue credit for pioneering the format but Oprah credit for revolutionizing and popularizing it into a huge industry. And these trashy talk shows also reduced stereotypes because they had so many gays on so frequently that one got to see enormous diversity in the gay community. And more importantly these shows desensitized people to the stereotypes and gave them cultural value. That’s one reason why the social conservatives declared war on these shows.

    “But beyond that, the main cause of changes in attitude was caused by gay rights activists,”

    An activist is only as powerful as the people who hear his message, and trashy talk shows repeatedly provided a forum for gays to loudly speak out and dominate the discourse. Again, what made these trashy talk shows so important was their enormous market penetration. They were on all day every day for a decade and a half, reaching TENS OF MILLIONS of Americans, many in very conservative parts of the country, not to mention the millions more overseas.

    “What’s just as likely as the thesis you put forward is that the Yale professor in question is gay, is an intellectual, feels guilty about his love of lowest-common-denominator trash TV, & invented a sociological thesis to justify it. ”

    It’s also likely that you, with your fondness for great thinkers and intellectuals, can’t stand the fact that we live in a world where their influence is dwarfed by lowest common denominator entertainment, and thus feel the need to ridicule such media and discredit it at every turn. A brilliant liberal gay professor would not love these shows if all they were doing was exploiting gays; he loved them for the same reason social conservatives declared war on them and tried to shut them up: They were turning gays into TV stars and allowing them to have cultural value.

    And the professor’s thesis is hardly a stretch. Anytime you take a group that was largely invisible, and give them a colossal spotlight for a decade and a half, it’s going to have massive social consequences. And indeed by the late 1990s we started seeing gays in traditional sitcoms, gays in blockbuster movies, gay suicide rates dropping, and a younger generation raised on the likes of Ricki Lake embracing them.

    “Instead of owning up to HER gullibility, she kept pointing the finger at him. Why wasn’t it obvious to her when she read it that it wasn’t true? Didn’t the far-fetched, preposterous details raise any red flags?”

    It’s the authors job to tell the truth and the publishers job to fact check, not the job of the book club that wants to enjoy some afternoon reading. The only responsibility Oprah had was to hold them accountable for their lies and sloppy fact checking, and boy did she. Did she ever.

    “Given she endorses so many memoirs that turn out to be phony, I’m starting to wonder how valid her story is.”

    So many? She endorsed one fake memoir in 22 years. That’s a pretty good track record.

    “As far as weightism goes, it’s been as much of an advantage as disadvantage (making her popular with similarly overweight housewives everywhere”

    It was only an advantage because she knew how to market it. She was completely honest about it from the start, she discussed it with humor and used it as a way to establish an intimate bond with her audience.

    “And the reason the homophobics became portrayed as freaks is largely due to social change happening all around society, including but not limited to TV. Stop crediting Ricki Lake & Oprah and start crediting activists, political agitators, journalists, intellectuals, writers, scientists….”

    In an ideal world intellectuals, writers, and scientists would be the ones responsible for this social change; in our world it was the likes of Oprah, Ricki Lake and Jenny Jones. Indeed that’s precisely why you dislike Oprah in the first place. You can’t stand the fact that this mass market populist has had so much cultural impact, while intellectuals you consider more worthy have become largely irrelevant.

    “I also take offense to your characterization of me as a ‘cynic’.”

    What’s wrong with being a cynic? Some of the smartest people I know are cynics. Cynicism and skepticism are healthy traits, I just think you are lashing out against the wrong targets. Just my opinion of course.

    “And Jess actually ripped the book, so all these posts do is reveal you as insecure and pathological.”

    I actually have a lot of respect for Jess. The fact that she can hate Oprah and still rip an anti-Oprah book shows a level of integrity and intellectual honesty that I really admire, and that we need more of.

    “On the contrary- all bigotry is based in emotion. Intellect has nothing to do with it.”

    Please don’t damage your own credibility by making these oversimplified generalizations. In fact not ALL bigotry is based on emotion. Ignorance has a lot to do with it. Not having the intellect to see the world through someone else’s perspective has a lot to do with it. Living in a culture where that’s the norm has a lot to do with it. That’s not to deny that some of the greatest minds were racist and homophobic, however the stupid and ignorant are far more at risk for these pathologies.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “You can’t stand the fact that this mass market populist has had so much cultural impact, while intellectuals you consider more worthy have become largely irrelevant.”

    WTF? In 100 years no one will remember the individuals involved in the “mass market populist” because there will be “mass market populists” 100 years from now clogging up the airwaves then. Yet these “intellectuals” you are claiming to be “irrelevant” are the ones that push culture forward, not trashy tabloids or their talk show hosts. Just as no one remembers the best selling authors of 1908, no one will remember the mediocrities/crap of today that Oprah has pushed. Yet people remember the “intellectuals” you’re claiming to be “culturally irrelevant.” Oprah will be a footnote in the grand scheme of things because she’s not discovered anything on her own, she’s not a Visionary or Creationary mind that has contributed ideas that impacts cultural thought. She’s just a gossip.

    Again, you’re equating popularity with quality and cultural impact. Many of the great thinkers that have had huge impact on the culture are unknown by Oprah zombies and video game drones. So what? They’re only a very small percent of the world’s population. Most people are indifferent to Oprah and could care less. Popularity does not = importance. Sorry to inform you.

    And I never said I “hated” Oprah in this thread or in my review. Again, you’re emotionalizing things, which is why you refuse to see the points the others and I have laid out so clearly. It’s not about “hate” or “love” with her, but about the actual problems she’s guilty of, which many of her obsessed fans continue to overlook.

    And your latching onto gays and Oprah “helping the gays” is just bizarre. You make them sound like they’re lepers in NEED of help, which any normal person, gay or not, should see the condescension. The fact that you would imply they are somehow indebted to Oprah because of her supposed “help,” is just beyond me.

  • Tina

    “For someone who lectures about ‘empathy’ (even though Dan has shown you clearly don’t understand the meaning of that vs. sympathy)”

    Great now your repeating your husband’s (or is he your brother) talking points, while calling me a yawn fest. You’re better than that Jess.

    “(The Eat Pray Love obsession and comparing that to the Bible pissed off a number of the religious ones)…”

    Jess you’re a great reviewer, but you’re no expert on Oprah (and don’t want to be obviously since you’re not a fan). It’s actually A NEW EARTH by Echart Tolle that offended some religious folks because the book argues that God is a feeling experience not a believing experience; the book redefines God as nothing more than the combined awareness of all living things and essentially preaches an agnostic/atheist world view.

    “The thing is, it wouldn’t be so bad if all she did was pimp material crap, but pimping this New Age psychobabble that encourages this sense of entitlement only adds to the dumbing down of discourse, the greediness, the narcissism, and the shallowness of American culture.”

    While some of your arguments are valid, this one is just 180 degrees off the mark. If you read Eckhart Tolle’s A NEW EARTH or watched the web series she did with him, you’d realize that the entire point of the book was that greed, materialism, ego and narcissism is what causes unhappiness. Indeed the author himself spent years living homeless.

    Now I agree it’s hypocritical on Oprah’s part because she occasionally promotes materialism with her once a year give aways, and it’s arguably narcissistic to put your picture on the cover of your magazine (or just good marketing), but her new age message is exactly the opposite. Again, you make some valid points and are an excellent reviewer, but you’re a bit misinformed when it comes to Oprah land.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “Great now your repeating your husband’s (or is he your brother) talking points, while calling me a yawn fest. You’re better than that Jess.”

    Repeated him? That’s news to me. I had a whole other point if you read it.

    “It’s actually A NEW EARTH by Echart Tolle that offended some religious folks because the book argues that God is a feeling experience not a believing experience; the book redefines God as nothing more than the combined awareness of all living things and essentially preaches an agnostic/atheist world view.”

    I can believe this, sure. But read through some of the reviews on Amazon about Eat Pray Love and some of the message boards online–many of her fans were pissed because she allowed Gilbert’s book to be called “the next Bible” etc. So it was probably a combo of both. Regardless, fans were pissed.

    “If you read Eckhart Tolle’s A NEW EARTH or watched the web series she did with him, you’d realize that the entire point of the book was that greed, materialism, ego and narcissism is what causes unhappiness. Indeed the author himself spent years living homeless.”

    That’s all great, but my point is that Oprah contradicts these things in her shows. Even you acknowledge that. It doesn’t do any good to promote one way of thinking and then have your actions counteract that. That’s all I said.

    “Now I agree it’s hypocritical on Oprah’s part because she occasionally promotes materialism with her once a year give aways, and it’s arguably narcissistic to put your picture on the cover of your magazine (or just good marketing), but her new age message is exactly the opposite.”

    You admit this as well, this is what I and others were trying to make in our points. But the difference is we see contradiction as a bad thing, and you don’t. Why? Because you agree with her beliefs. I agree with 95% of Michael Moore’s beliefs but can acknowledge he’s a bit slimy and distorts his facts, giving right wingers more ammo in THEIR defense.

    That’s the problem with bias and contradiction, you can never stand on firm ground and there will always be opposers ready to catch you, which is why I gave that book a negative review–it was full of bias, contradiction and trash level gossip, the same sorts of things Oprah herself is guilty of.

  • Tina

    “WTF? In 100 years no one will remember the individuals involved in the “mass market populist” because there will be ‘mass market populists’ 100 years from now clogging up the airwaves then. Yet these ‘intellectuals’ you are claiming to be ‘irrelevant’ are the ones that push culture forward, not trashy tabloids or their talk show hosts. Just as no one remembers the best selling authors of 1908, no one will remember the mediocrities/crap of today that Oprah has pushed.”

    So no one remembers Shakespeare? He in many ways was the Oprah of his day. A filthy rick mass market entertainer who indulged in sappy soap opera like narrative to the delight of the great unwashed masses and the disdain of the intellectual elites who feared he was dumbing down the culture. No one remembers the feel good psychobabble pushed by the founders of all the great religions? Now hardcore intellectuals have had a huge impact on science and technology, but when it comes to popular culture and social attitudes, it’s those who can draw the biggest crowd that dominate.

    “Oprah will be a footnote in the grand scheme of things because she’s not discovered anything on her own, she’s not a Visionary or Creationary mind that has contributed ideas that impacts cultural thought.”

    On the contrary, she created a whole new form of media communication. Prior to Oprah public figures were detached, and to show emotions or confess an intimate detail was seen as undignified. Oprah turned all that on its head by talking about her abuse, talking about her fat thighs, talking about her tumultuous love life, crying along with her guests, and giving random strangers hugs. Her genius was understanding that television, which sits in our living rooms when no one else is home, could be the most intimate medium of all. That legacy can be seen in everything from the popularity of the warm and intimate persona of princess Di (and how the detached and dignified Queen struggled to adapt to an Oprahfied Britain) to Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain” rhetoric to our willingness to reveal our sexual orientation to total strangers. She created confession culture, and made public confession a form of group therapy. She also adapted electronic media to make literature accessible to the masses (regardless of whether you like her choices) and secularized spirituality.

  • Tina

    “That’s the problem with bias and contradiction, you can never stand on firm ground and there will always be opposers ready to catch you, which is why I gave that book a negative review–it was full of bias, contradiction and trash level gossip, the same sorts of things Oprah herself is guilty of.”

    Fair criticism. Like I said, what I most admire about your review is your willingness to trash an anti-Oprah book despite the fact that you too are an Oprah critic. I wish more book reviewers (and people in media) were willing to put their bias aside in the interest of intellectual honesty, integrity, and objectivity. Keep it up because that’s a great brand to build and you would fill a great void for those of us who appreciate that.

    And so it makes sense that you would have problems with Oprah. She’s the exact opposite of detached and objective (which is why she got transfered out of the news business in the first place) and she can be very wishy washy, emotional, market driven and unpredictable. All fair criticisms, but not ones that bothered me too much because she’s an entertainer not a news woman, but given that she has branched into literature, I can see how it might bother those concerned with maintaining the integrity of literature. I simply wanted to point out what I see as positive aspects of her career that are too often overlooked.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    Shakespeare is remembered for his quality, not because he was popular. There were dozens of other playwrights during his day that were popular and he was just one of many. V.C. Andrews, Jackie Collins, James Patterson, Dan Brown will all be forgotten, despite being popular in their day because there were those same kinds of writers in their own day that no one remembers. The Valley of the Dolls had a huge impact in its day,–no one reads it now or cares. So what. Part of your problem is you are stuck on popularity = social impact. If there is nothing of substance to pull it along, people in future years are not going to look back.

    Religion/spirituality is all washed up versions of the same things told throughout the years. Oprah just repackages it and calls it “spirituality” but it’s still the same vapid fluff.

    Oprah and Shakespeare: now that’s funny in an insulting sort of way. The point is that in the grand scheme of the cosmos, no one is going to remember Oprah. Sorry, her ideas are mush. All she does is pontificate what others say, nothing she says is her own. Just look how popular Donahue was in his day–now people under 30 wouldn’t know who he was. As Oprah goes off the air, her reputation will grow dimmer and dimmer till she’s just a footnote in history. And no is going to care about Princess Di in a hundred years. Name me a Princess from 100 years ago that people would know the trivial life of today. You can’t. It doesn’t work that way.

    “Her genius was understanding that television, which sits in our living rooms when no one else is home, could be the most intimate medium of all.”

    You act like she was 1st one on television ever to realize this. You could say the same for I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners. Big deal. Oprah is a hack. Shakespeare wasn’t.

    Why are you so desperate to argue for her again and again, despite admitting she’s a hypocrite? Why are you so relentless and in need of validation among strangers? These are rhetorical questions, I’m not really interested in your answer.

    You have to be pretty lonely though, hence the Oprah obsession. It’s really rather sick and disturbing.

  • Tina

    “All she does is pontificate what others say, nothing she says is her own.”

    Her originality is in the style, not the substance.

    “You act like she was 1st one on television ever to realize this. You could say the same for I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners.”

    Not at all. Their styles were completely different from Oprah’s. They didn’t revolutionize the culture the way Oprah did.

    “Why are you so desperate to argue for her again and again, despite admitting she’s a hypocrite? Why are you so relentless and in need of validation among strangers?”

    Why are both you and your husband so desperate to refute each and every one of my arguments? Why are you both so relentless in debating them point by point?

    “You have to be pretty lonely though, hence the Oprah obsession. It’s really rather sick and disturbing.”

    I’m sorry to hear that you think my behavior is sick and disturbing, because I think you’re an excellent reviewer and I thoroughly enjoy your work. We just disagree on Oprah. Get over it.

  • http://www.jaschneider.blogspot.com JSchneider

    “Why are both you and your husband so desperate to refute each and every one of my arguments? Why are you both so relentless in debating them point by point?”

    Dan does his thing, I do mine. He commented to your post 1st. I responded to Tyler 1st, not you. This is also my article, I write for BC, so I get these responses emailed to me. And there have been others who have written in.

    “I’m sorry to hear that you think my behavior is sick and disturbing, because I think you’re an excellent reviewer and I thoroughly enjoy your work. We just disagree on Oprah. Get over it.”

    Fair enough, thank you. Let’s move on.

    “Get over it.”

    If only Oprah could say this to her needy guests the world would be a better place.

    Happy 4th of July. Good bye.

  • Tina

    Happy 4th of July to you and Dan. And happy belated Canada Day to “No Oprah Zone”!

  • No Oprah Zone

    Happy 4th of July to all of you.

    And let’s hope The Divine O gets some serious lovin’ from Stedman (or Gayle?) on this day.

  • Anei Williams

    Wow. Jessica Schneider sure has spunk. Of all the information I’ve found about this episode (scandal, whatever), her review was most informative. I don’t know if Oprah’s a good person or not. But I think she tries. I don’t know why Bonvillain needed to write this book. But he must have, for some reason. And Jessica put it all in context. Biased or not, she’s done her job. Now, let’s get back to work.
    I don’t watch Oprah, but I was inspired by her recent spiritual podcasts to read a book call A Day in the Life of God, by OSita Iroku. It challenged a lot of stuff I belive, and somehow brought me face to face with a very real, tangible God. But, although it promised me advice on what to do next, it sort of left me hanging. Jess, can I send you a copy to get your spin on it?