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October 22, 2014

Are You a Member of the Anti-Oprah Brigade?

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jan 24th 2011 5:00PM
Whenever someone gets truly huge and has the approval of almost everyone, a backlash is inevitable. It's like we humans have some primordial instinct for cutting people down to size. Think of it as the checks and balances system of pop culture; without it, Tom Cruise would have been crowned King of America, and no one would be making fun of Natalie Portman's laugh.

As a result, we've been in the midst of an Oprah Winfrey backlash since 2009, but the low-level simmer of resentment against The Mighty Opes reached a full-rolling boil as her cable network OWN launched. Personally, I've never had strong feelings about La Winfrey, which means I'm perfectly poised to become a member of the backlash. How easy it would be for my half-formed approbation of Oprah to turn to ill-informed disgust! (Of course, her announcement that she's found a half-sister will definitely bring on the defenders).

I haven't decided yet if I want to become a member of the Anti-Oprah brigade. There are certain advantages that accrue to naysayers -- at the crest of a backlash, they seem smarter, even like they care more about art, culture and people. But coming later in the wave, they just look like followers, mean-spirited and dumb. As a result, I can't decide if I want to join the Anti-Oprah brigade. But in case you do, I've compiled a cheat sheet so you can get started right away, and possibly cash in on that early-adopter bonus.

"I Preferred Discovery Health." I've run into this argument on a couple of messageboards, since OWN replaced that net on the air. The upside is, it's a fresh new way to bash, but the downside is it's completely ridiculous. Nothing could be worse than a Discovery network, with those documentaries that follow the same format as a high school essay: thesis, proving thesis in British accent over same five or six stills, thesis, credits.

"Oprah's Ratings Are Getting Worse." Some people are gloating over OWN's declining ratings. Apparently only an average of 310,000 people watched the network, according to the Hollywood Reporter. But the folks behind the scenes claim they expected the ratings drop and were prepared for it. It's so much harder to be smug when people say they saw it coming and aren't surprised.

"Oprah Doesn't Care About Poor People." Another avenue of complaint opened up by the launch of OWN is that Oprah is abandoning her basic-cable fans. Why this is only coming up now I can't say, except to speculate that somehow, these viewers didn't understand that OWN wasn't going to pop up on their UHF dials until Oprah actually disappeared from their lives into the upper stratosphere of pay channels. So now, despite Winfrey's efforts in South Africa, in Chicago, and for innumerable charitable causes, she is being accused of being classist because OWN isn't free.

"Oprah Elected Barack Obama." This method of bashing Oprah is pretty old, but with Obama halfway through his historic term as president, it's bound to start rearing its head again. In some ways, this bashing has a similar flavor to the cable dilemma mentioned above -- white women saw Oprah's endorsement of Obama as a betrayal of Hilary Clinton. In fact, I've never seen such a neat demonstration of the tension between race, class and gender outside a classroom, but the ladies who were so pissed at Opes obviously didn't take Gender Studies like I did, and didn't notice they're being really typical liberal feminist jerks. But the Obama-bash still works. Now you just have to make it about how ineffectual he is. As an aside, why haven't Americans taken a cue from Toronto Maple Leafs fans and started throwing waffles on the White House lawn?

"Oprah Made Measles Come Back." Speaking of Oprah throwing her weight behind a dubious candidate, how about that Jenny McCarthy? There's someone whose early career really didn't give any hints that she would end up being known for radical medical opinions. Suzanne Somers, I think we all saw that a mile away, but McCarthy? Anyhow, Oprah has given weird science a lot of room on her show over the years, and McCarthy in particular has advanced a view that vaccinations cause autism. Always a sketchy idea, it has now been revealed as an elaborate fraud and meanwhile, vaccination levels have dropped enough for measles and whooping cough to show up in large numbers again.

This should help you get started on your new path of ripping on Oprah -- and of course, it's essential that you also work on your own unique anti-Oprah sentiments -- you'll need to go beyond simple memes like 'What Has Oprah Really Done?' and 'Oprah Makes Bad Books into Bestsellers.'

And please, I don't want to hear about how 'Oprah Gives TV Columnist Something to Write About When Mid-Season Shows Aren't That Great.' I think you can do better.

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wheelzroller

This anti Oprah Organization smacks of Jealousy of Oprahs' Fortune and Fame. I do not always agree with her or some of her Positions but many People admire Oprah and have used her as a Role Model to try and better
themselves to have a more Abundant Life. Many of us may never be as Famous or as Wealthy as Oprah but it
allows people to understand that anything is possible if we create a goal for ourselves and are willing to work
towards its' achievement.

January 30 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wendy Goddard

Yes I am. For a great many years our Oprah has bought her audience with her tears and sensitivity. She hurts if Hermes doesn't open the door expecially for her to purchase a gift for Tina Turner, Sher hurts everytime the fake tears run down her face, or when she opens a school in African for female's only like the male doesn't have a brain. My suggestion - you bought this kind of attention with your make believe tears, all encompancied love whether it be with your woman or with your man. I don't care either way - what I do care about is that I see an insensecrity along side of pretentious empathy. Stop crying Oprah and use your energy to really make a difference in this worl.

January 25 2011 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Wendy Goddard's comment
Wendy Goddard

My spelling might be bad but I;m sure you get my drift.. Turn off the fake tears and learn how to make a difference without telling the whole world. how you have done this - Just do it., - your action will speak louder than your tears - (you could fill the grand canyon with the ater that drips from dollar sign eyes.

January 25 2011 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
badoldtom

To me, she has ALWAYS come off as a phoney.

January 30 2011 at 9:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
waltkboom

Follow the pied-piper, is this the best people can do. She gets rich from all the knuckleheads watching her

January 25 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dunghesj@gmail.com

I can't decide if I want to be an idiot either - but only because my local cable doesn't seem to be carrying OWN yet. Still, I'm going to try!

January 25 2011 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beiweis

i would like if oprah can find me a job, since the economy is messed up and lots of starving people out here

January 25 2011 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gmcleanm

Wow- So sad, people -bashing Oprah! Finally there's someone in the world who actually is nice and tries to help as much as possible. Biggest problem with OWN I see is, people want to see Oprah!! She's the ticket. Dr.Phil -Dr Oz all the other guys are good, but they don't have her DRAW. Another thing was in the states, some area's you have to pay for her channel? Thats not right? All you people who are anti oprah- I feel so sad for you- You probably anti-Obama too! Hate to see balck people successful, thats what's wrong with human race- racist- jealous- people.
Live and let live and lets try to come together and embrace peoples success!!
She will be bigger then ever in future-WATCH!!!

January 25 2011 at 3:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
hytteni3

I have never been a fan of Oprah. I bugs me when she has a guest who she claims is an "expert" in some particular field. I have listened and said to myself "this guy doesn't know what he is talking about"
It should be remembered that she is primarily an actress and her activities are designed for self promotion and, as she sees it, for black women in general.
Her "spin off" the Dr. Oz "show" seems to be designed to promote better health in black women since most of them are fat and need work.
Oz seems quite partial to black women.

January 25 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rrs0426

I'm a charter member of the anti-Oprah brigade! Not that I think she's a bad person or anything, her heart is unquestionably in the right place. It's just that she's not very well educated or informed on many of the topics and issues she champions and puts forth. She doesn't seem always able to consider the ramifications of what she says and does (case in point: She gave everyone in her audience a new car without realizing they would all be charged the US's highest tax for them, the "unearned income" tax of around 60% of the cars' retail value, for which many of the members of the audience could never hope to pay so they had to sell them just to cover it). Add to this the fact that many of her audience members blindly believe and take as gospel every single word that comes out of her mouth and you have someone who is actually quite dangerous. I don't doubt the nobility of her intentions, but we all know what the road To Hell is paved with.

January 25 2011 at 2:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
oridance1

there is nothing wrong with Oprah. I think she is a hard worker, has acheived the goals she has set for herslf and shares her wealth and knowledge. And as for Obama....he is a great US President. Amricans seem to bash and dump on all their presidents until years or decades later when they revere them and forget about their short comings. A large number of outspoken Americans seem to also want to tear down any and all polititians, and also those who make good. I look and say, good for them! I wish I could do that.As a Canadian looking in, I think that Amrican citizens have a lot to be happy about in the grande scheme of things. But maybe it is human nature to never be satisfied.

January 25 2011 at 1:48 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
ydmillington

What is wrong with you people? Someone actually makes "the American dream" come true, and you start to rip her apart, strip by slow strip! (No, the American dream isn't just for the newest immigrants - it's for anyone who succeeds against all the odds, especially starting from very humble beginnings ... as Oprah certainly did.)
I'd be the first to say that I don't enjoy or even watch every OPRAH show, and, yes, that she sometimes makes one cringe with the "over the top" enthusiams for this or that: and as a woman and a sewer I've sometimes thought she could wear more appropriate, better-fitting clothes, but these are minor criticisms! Her aim and intent are more important, and worthy of respect and admiration!
I live in eastern Canada, and I don't yet know if I can get OWN programming. Besides, I've never had more than basic cable myself, and probably wouldn't 'spring' for it! But that doesn't lessen my admiration for the woman! Remember, people, money doesn't make the person. It just allows them to afford more 'things', and to do things the rest of us can't. No need to be envious!
I am NOT a member of the anti-Oprah Brigade. I even hate the thought of there being such a movement!!

January 25 2011 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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