Saturday, February 5, 2011

More on Oprah, Scientology and Self-Absorption

"Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action."
— Daniel Goleman (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships)

Back to my fav subject right now, the "almighty" Oprah Winfrey. I need to practice a little compassion in my life, but before I do that, I'd like to know when and how Oprah became such an important icon and influence in American lives. Was it when she began bringing famous movie stars on her talk show? Was it when she started giving away all those wonderful material goodies? Was it because she was the first "real" black/African American woman talk show host? Was it her smile? Her laugh? Her willingness to "bare it all" in front of her audiences, including asking her "important" guests to do the same? Was it her "well-researched" book club - the book club that has influenced millions of people around the world and of which I am sure she included no bias in selecting any subjects she found interesting or important, and which I am also sure recommended each book only after it was carefully considered by a panel of top-level literary, historical, social, educational, etc., researchers and experts?

Whatever it was, or whatever combination of factors it was that brought her to the powerful position that she holds over America today, she now has the attention of most Americans, including myself. She proved this recently by bringing onto her show her newly discovered half-sister, whose name escapes me. That particular episode brought Oprah the highest ratings she has ever gotten. EVER. Why? You've got me. I certainly don't care about her half-sister. Why should I? Why should you? Are you a family member or close friend of Oprah or her half-sister? I doubt it. Then who cares? Why would anyone even watch that episode? When I heard the preview, I told my husband how glad I am I don't have to watch it. I just don't understand. Now if we found out that our president's half-brother was a general in the army of the country of America's most feared enemy, I would give that a serious consideration. There might be consequences to our country that I should know about and information I should share. But who really gives a hoot about Oprah finding her lost half-sister? I'm sorry. I just don't get it.

Wake up folks - Oprah has power over you! She has influenced you by getting you to read her books and infusing her ideas in you. Has she invested in you in any way? NO. She has influenced you by smiling and laughing and pretending to really care about our world while in actuality, she has barely a few charities which you can count on your fingers and toes. I'm not saying the help she gives them isn't appreciated. I'm saying, "Come on, Oprah. You have $2.7b. Instead of buying a TV network to push your interests and ideas, push some of that cash to the people in our country who need it...and I don't mean Scientologists. Hey - help fund the troops who don't have all the equipment they need or who have served six or seven deployments and would like a trip home to see their families but can't afford it. Shove a little cash to our country's police departments and firefighters so they can do their jobs properly. And if you must publicize it, do it gently, without great fanfare, giving God the credit He deserves and pushing credit away from yourself and your magazine and your network and your show. Let's take a step away from self-absorption for a moment and be a grateful giver and a humble benefactor. Don't make such a big deal of everything. "Hey, look what I did! I'm Oprah Winfrey!"

Speaking of self-absorption...I have some things to do for myself right prepare dinner so I can say when I'm finished..."Hey, look at me! I'm the RatLadyMom!"