Oprah’s OWN: This is a response to Alex Beam’s less than positive view of Oprah Winfrey “Say Good Night Oprah” in the May 24, 2011 Boston Globe (linked below.)
Mr. Beam I have been critical of Oprah for a very long time for most of the reasons you state in your editorial "Say Goodnight Oprah." I have been critical of it all mostly because she NEVER or rarely has an opposing opinion on her show challenging what she has to sell. Much of it is snake oil albeit sold sincerely and mixed with a little bit of god. How can anyone resist? The words are so intoxicating most especially to our very gullible sugar coating loving American audience. There is one reason Oprah lasted so long: MONEY and gobs of it as so many found the perfect forum to hawk their wares.
Having said that one cannot, I think, deny that very often despite all her glitz, glamor, and materialism there are some whom she affected in a positive way. She may even, I admit, have saved lives -- perhaps many of them. I do not want to be guilty of what I think Oprah was guilty and that is neglecting to bring fair and balanced viewpoints to her shows. Her shows missed one important quality sorely lacking in our culture -- critical thinking. She had little most especially when talking about a higher power force she thinks controls everyone's life if only one would let it in.
I admittedly watched her when I thought the subject matter either pertained to me or interested me. Otherwise, I tuned her out. Her finale to my taste was utterly garish and over done BUT then again if one says she helped them who am I to deny it. And so, I bestow upon Oprah that which she never bestowed upon us, a balanced viewpoint. She was both a force for good and a force for the glitz, glamor and garish negatives in our culture that I believe make us willing to swallow anything no matter how irrational and ridiculous. It only needs to sound oh so good.
No one can doubt Oprah was a force. The name of her OWN network which is supposed to follow her says it all. Oprah's show in the end was about her OWN self and so it is an appropriate acronym. I must admit I will miss some of her. Her genius is that even someone as critical as I am can say that!