Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Oprah Reality Check

I've always had a love-hate relationship with Oprah Winfrey. She can be really fun to watch and I respect how she has tried to use her fame and wealth for a lot of good causes. On the other hand, she is so famous and wealthy that it's clear to everyone (except her) that she is completely out of touch with the real world ("My friend Diane Sawyer"; "My friend Rob Lowe"; "My friend Tom Cruise" — it can be really nauseating), yet she tries to act like she's "one of us." And her "I invented philanthropy and literacy" attitude can be really annoying, as well.

That being said, this whole so-called Hermes incident in Paris, where she was "treated so rudely" and it "may or may not" have had to do with her being black, immediately made me skeptical. You're Oprah Winfrey. You're not really any color or any gender: You're a superstar. The whole world kisses your ass 24 hours a day. Everything is done your way, no questions asked. You're always right. You say jump and your entourage asks "how high?" You buy gifts for Tina Turner(!). You control everything and everything around you. So any notion that I'm going to feel sorry for you is, well, not only unwarranted, it's highly unlikely.

So when I read that she had the president of Hermes USA on her show's 20th season premiere to "set the record straight" about what happened in June, I was hoping she would explain what really happened — and I would come to see that she wasn't being a spoiled diva:

"Anybody who has been snubbed because you were not chic enough, or not thin enough, or not the right class, or the right color or whatever, I don't know what it was, you know that it is totally humiliating," said Oprah.
(OK. But still waiting to hear what really happened ...)

The talk show host extraordinaire then ever so sweetly demanded a public apology from the Hermes USA president and CEO for the June incident in which an employee turned Oprah and her entourage away from the Paris boutique at closing time even though some shoppers were still inside.

Are you f**king kidding me? Oprah: the exact same thing happened to me the other night at my corner Eckerd Pharmacy when I stopped by at 10:59 p.m. to buy a half-gallon of milk there. (Did I mention that I went there because milk is 50 cents cheaper than at my supermarket? Trying to save a few cents, Oprah, that's what real life is about.) Oh, and by the way, I'm a white man of an undetermined chicness and class.

So this is what someone who purports to want to change the world is now putting on her show, making some overpaid CEO kiss her ass on national TV over something that is both not a big deal and, in fact, is just a matter of following the rules? Stores have posted hours of operation: shop during them like the rest of us do.

You see, Oprah, where you're sitting, you don't see that there are rules that real people must follow every day. You've forgotten and that's why it makes it hard to like you sometimes.

  • Related: Oprah's friend Gayle King

    Wino McHackenpuke said...

    This made me instantly like your blog.

    Wino McHackenpuke said...


    Next time I'll read more before posting.

    Your opinion about Oprah was right on the money, so I scrolled down in search of more like it, but only found a bunch of gay stuff... funny.

    Anonymous said...

    Great posting on the big O.

    Anonymous said...

    I liked how immediately after the incident she trotted her best "friend" Gail King before reporters saying, "Oprah found the snub the most humilating thing that had ever happened to her" and that race definitely played a role. All this from a woman who claims she was sexually abused by her uncle. Is she so out of touch that she now equates a mere snub with pedophilia? And if she really was so humiliated/outraged, why didn't she personally cut her vacation short and address the issue firsthand instead of waiting until season premiere? I sense a shamelss ratings grab. Also, it seems that it took a natural/man made disaster like Katrina to bring her down to earth about what's truly important since she now claims the snub wasn't that big a deal. Me thinks the Lady O doth protest too much.

    f said...

    Thank you for such a lucid post on the whole Oprah-Hermes incident. It was splendid.

    Anonymous said...

    I agree 100% with the "Oprah Reality Check" comments.

    Oprah has lost touch with reality and I took am sick of hearing her name drop and call celebrities her close friends.

    She is as racist as all the people whom she accuses of being racist. She treats black people who are guests on her show, very diferently than she does whites. Remember the Mark Furman interview? it was nothing but a lynching. Wish I had had the opportunity to express that, at the time.

    She reels off names of places where she vacations...who gives a dam...most of us can't afford the plane fare to take a one hour journey. Sure she does a lot of charity work, but notice how she makes it known on national TV. Give me a break

    Silver Fox in Comox, British Columbia, Canada.

    I watch the Tyra Banks show now and am thoroughly enjoying could learn a thing or 2 from her Oprah...

    Anonymous said...

    Well it's obvious that you're anti-Oprah. If you had the fame and populuarity that she has you would have been offended too. People are quick to talk about what they wouldn't do but 9 times out of 10 would do exactly the opposite. The one thing you left out was the fact that most stars can not shop during normal store operation hours for fear of being mobbed by not only fans but the media. Next time try listening with an open mind instead of being so critical particularly when you have never been in their shoes. Stop HATING.......

    Anonymous said...

    To the curiously anonymous Stop HATING poster: celebrities do frequently shop when stores are closed, but they MAKE ARRANGEMENTS first.

    Did you even read what was written in the blog entry?

    Anonymous said...

    Kenneth: I cannot believe U got it so right. I am a black woman and I get store doors shut in my face all the time. I just did not arrive on time. Oprah needs to get over her self ritious self.