Can someone please tell Oprah Winfrey she isn't God?

The Oprah Store opens in Chicago just down the street from Harpo Studios

Oprah Winfrey must be the most solipsistic, self-adulating person in the known universe (and that’s saying something when it comes to celebrities). She publishes a magazine about herself. She has a daily talk show where she discusses whatever trivia turns her fancy today. She’s planning “Oprah’s Big Giveaway” as an ABC reality-TV special next month (hopefully, the potential settlement in the TV writer’s strike will stifle that self-indulgent eyesore ASAP).

Now she has a store celebrating herself? I guess in our "Capitalism is always right’ society, the market will be the sole proof of whether its good or bad, but come on.

For someone who has such a hold on the minds of Americans, there’s surprisingly little there. Granted, that’s not much different from most celebrities, and to be honest I don’t really care how much money she makes selling her shinola, but at some point doesn’t someone need to seriously pop this baloon? Or are we all too scared of her programmed disciples and what they may do to the unbelievers that we dare not speak ill of this false idol?

So what? Tommy Hilfiger’s got his own stores too.

And Oprah is exactly what a store is usually based on - a brand name. I don’t think it has all that much to do with Oprah the person anymore; she doesn’t write much, if any, of her magazine, and I doubt she takes more control of her show than broad policy directives.

A store? Pfft, that is totally small time. She’s getting her own cable TV network named OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

There are countless bands, performers, artists, actors, what have you that have an ‘official store’ on their websites, the only difference here is Oprah’s Store is brick & mortar. It doesn’t seem that far-out in capitalist right field for her (having been able to market their name into a brand) to then borrow a page from the playbook of Disney, Warner Bros., Hershey, Coke, M&M Mars or every sports franchise and league in existence.

Shhhh…do you want to be smited?

“And here’s a lightning bolt for you…for you…for you…”

Other than seeing her on CNN (and other news channels and shows) supporting Obama and some stickers on books, I have never seen anything about Oprah that was not just someone complaining about her or making fun of her. I do not know when her show is on nor I have never seen her magazine.

I do not know what world it is that people live in that find Oprah everywhere, but it is not the one I am living in.

Amen brother! The mentality of “I like this book, therefore it must be the best book ever written and all of you should run out and buy it now, or youre an idiot” is sickening, as is the constant fawning over celebrities as if you are somehow a better person than everyone else if you’re FAMOUS.

And don’t get me started on that goddamned school, (prison?) which maybe isn’t the Utopia many here thought it was when I bashed it once… but of course, that’s not her fault or responsibility what goes on there :rolleyes:

Whether Oprah in fact is God is unimportant. Folks buy her mag, watch her show, and they’ll visit her store. Putting her name on things and selling them is what has made her money. Why blame her because people treat her like a God?

I detest Oprah. But whatever ego driven endeavor she indulges in… people flock to patronize her. That much ain’t her fault.

I dunno, I bet she could improve on “Wonderful Tonight”.

The acronym works on so many levels.

What’s fascinating about the Oprah thing, though, is how perfectly self-referential her brand his. She used to be an actress, but her brand has nothing to do with that, really. Her brand is that she’s Oprah. And why is being Oprah special? Because she’s Oprah, and of course Oprah is famous, because she’s Oprah. But why is Oprah so famous, you ask? Why, because she’s Oprah. Oprah magazine must be about Oprah, since Oprah is so wonderful for being Oprah, and the Oprah store is necessary to sell Oprah things because people love Oprah for being Oprah.

Artists sell art. People may get silly over an artist, but at least he/she sold some art. Musicians sell music, actors sell acting performances; the brand is, usually, attached to some product. But in the case of Oprah her brand is her, and nothing else; she doesn’t produce any other product except her own existence. She is a person of evidently unlimited charm and self-promotional skills - she was anchoring a local newscast while still a teenager - but what she promotes is simply her. I cannot think of anything else like it with this much longetivity. You’ve got other ones like Paris Hilton, but Hilton was failing Grade 2 when Oprah was already a huge daytime TV star, and will be long forgotten when Oprah is still a major star.

Do not mistake this for criticism. I think Oprah is one of the most amazing marketing achievements in the history of the world. I once thought it would be a neat idea to design an entire amusement/theme oark about myself, an ugly asshole from Canada. I would call it Rickworld, there’s be a Rickcoaster and you could get Rickslurpees at Ricksnack kiosks, and everything would have my grinning face on it. It would be so absurd and hilarious and yet presented with complete seriousness that I thought it might actually work by convincing people that somehow the Rick brand must mean something because, hey, his face is on everything.

Well, that’s exactly what Oprah Winfrey has done; she’s created an entire brand around nothing more than an ordinary person, and it worked. She’s managed to hit the white soccer mom demographic (despite being neither middle class, nor white, nor a soccer mom) by somehow convincing them that she is, in fact, their spokeswoman. I remember once seeing a crowd shot of her audience and every audience member was exactly the same. They were all white, all women, all thin, all wore black or brown pants and all wore either a solid, restrained-colour short sleeved blouse or an equivalent light sweater. It’s as if they issued uniforms at the door. She’s created a Brand of Me, and presented it with such forceful sincerity, such unabashed shamelessness, that people seem to have been convinced that it means something.

I’m not doing a very good job explaining how she did it, but this level of marketing genius is hard to explain.

Another analogy that comes to mind is Martha Stewart. Even after the bad insider trading p.r., she’s been able to market her name quite successfully.

TV Show: check
Magazine: check
Brick & Mortar stores: Promoted from a section in K-Mart to a sizeable department in Macys.

Well, somewhere in there, at some point, there was an actual message, you know.

Something about equality for women and minorities and helping others and stuff. I think. I could be wrong, it might just have been one big advertisement for Ovaltine and Jeri-Curl.

It is estimated that Oprah had given more than $300 million dollars to charity before 2005. She’s even endowed her own charities, like the Angel Network. She has personally put 250 African-Americans through college. Last year, her Leadership Academy for Girls opened in South Africa, which she spent $40 million and considerable time putting together. No one knows how much she has given to thousands of strangers on a personal level, which she loves to do in secret. It is rumored that her will currently leaves more than $2 billion dollars to worldwide philanthropy. Even Kitty Kelly, the Great Gossip Hag, finally admitted to being unable to find any dirt on Oprah.

Here’s another view of the school. When Oprah found out about the alleged abuses there, she gave every girl in the school a cell phone programmed with a hotline number to call anytime they felt like they were treated badly, a response that was widely praised by South African newspapers and abuse specialists. Nelson Mandela himself said in Time Magazine:

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls—located near Johannesburg and educating girls in Grades 7 through 12—is therefore a wonderfully appropriate gift to the people of South Africa, one that will endure over many lifetimes. When I went to the opening of her school, I looked at the shining faces of these young women and thought every one of them has the potential to be an Oprah Winfrey. The school is important because it will change the trajectory of these girls’ lives and it will brighten the future of all women in South Africa. Oprah understands that in Africa, women and girls have often been doubly disadvantaged. They have had the curse of low expectations and unequal opportunities

Not to mention Oprah and the Dominos, wow, what could have been.

Nelson Mandela knows nothing of the school other than its mere existence in theory is good for South Africa. And it looks like the smiling faces of the girls have become frowns per my cite. And Oafrah also scheduled to have the girls complaints aired live on her show, but cancelled- why I wonder?

My cite is more recent than yours, and includes input from those who are there and know people who are there.

Yeah! No one’s ever been so vain they named a whole TV network for themselves before!

Except for Ted Turner. Who has three.

Can someone please tell Ted Turner he isn’t the Trinity?

She has a store named after herself? Like Sears, Montgomery Ward, Woolworths, and LL Bean? How dare she!

I’m all for self promotion, don’t get me wrong. She went from nothing to millionare at 32, to Forbes 400 list at age 41 to billionare by 50 and I say go for it girl. My point was just that a store is small time compared to having her own network.

I’m not a fan of Oprah, but she’s certainly not famous because she’s Oprah. She’s famous because she has a nationally syndicated television show which is watched daily by millions of people. Would you say that Jay Leno is famous solely for being Jay Leno? What about Jon Stewart? They have talk shows that people enjoy watching. So does Oprah, only hers is the highest rated talk show in television history. She started on a Chicago talk show that was third in its market. When it moved to first place, it was syndicated. She then had a national audience, which caused her to become famous. People continue to watch her talk show because they enjoy watching it. Eventually, they’ll find something else to watch, and she’ll go the way of Phil Donahue, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and every other former T.V. star.