|I'm just a vessel for God...|
Unless you live under a rock, and perhaps even if you do, you know that these days Oprah is EVERYWHERE. She has her own TV show, her own magazine, and now her own TV network. She's richer than God and probably more famous. Her visage is pasted all over billboards, television, internet, magazines, and newspapers, and she's one of the most recognizable people anywhere. Her rags to riches story is a tale of self-empowerment, and there are many worse celebrities who could be held up as role models than Oprah. At some point, however, Oprah seems to have slipped down that slippery slope from self-esteem to self-aggrandizement. She sees herself on a "mission" to save the rest of us from our pathetic non-Oprah'd selves. And whenever someone speaks of having a "mission," I start to get worried.
It's not enough for Oprah to be a TV personality, a movie star, a magazine magnate, a famous celebrity, and a gazillionaire. She sees herself as a "vessel" for God. Oprah isn't doing all of these things for herself; she is doing the Lord's work. And from her recent ubiquity, Oprah could possibly challenge God for omnipresence! The Church of Oprah is spreading across the land, and her followers are tuning in to hear her speak the gospel. Just listen to Oprah and you too can be all you were meant to be. Oprah will tell you what books to read with her book club, what magazines to read ("O," her magazine, obviously), and what shows to watch (you have an entire network from which to choose now). Oprah acolytes will tell you how to manage your money, your relationships, and your health. Just follow, and let your inner Oprah emerge in pseudo-religious, wishy-washy spirituality!
I have visions of an Oprah tinted future. It has begun with "programming that reflects her world view, her vision for the future, and her very sense of purpose, not just in the media universe, but in the grander scheme of life." Her divine Oprahness will spread beyond multimedia and reach farther and wider. Soon, there may be Oprah Reeducation Bureaus (ORBs), Oprah Holidays (OHs), Oprah Winfrey's Own for Women (OWOW), a clothing line, Oprah Winfrey Land (OWL) Theme Park, and, of course, the Oprah Worship Network (OWN), which will begin with the TV station but will expand to include meeting places and internet sites for followers of Oprah to study her teachings and eventually become certified Oprah masters (OMs). Conversely, those who don't hop on the bandwagon, Oprah Doubters and Deniers (ODDs) and Oprah Unbelievers and Taitors (OUTs), will soon find themselves outcasts from society.
Before we find ourselves with a close-up of Oprah's face on our next $100 bill, I suggest we think about whether any one person should be so influential. Sure, I give the woman props for the good works that she's done. And her personal story is inspirational. But it should inspire us to find our own personal bliss in our own time, not because Oprah says we should. If Oprah's book club got you into a book store or library for the first time in years, great! Now, after you've finished one of her picks, find some books that inspire you that aren't on her list. In a true spiritual paradox, to achieve genuine Oprahness is to do whatever the hell you want to do and not give a damn what Oprah says.