The three o’clock news

This piece on Oprah Winfrey is worth a read. So is pretty much everything else at Look at This Fucking Centrist. For fuck’s sake, just look at that fucking blog name. I can’t stand Oprah. She’s unwatchably dreadful. But for reasons beyond my feeble comprehension, she’s heavily watched. The audiences of Oprah and her paramedical spinoffs, Drs. Oz and Phil, cannot be explained charitably. Come to think of it, I prefer to think of them as Mehmet and McGraw, just because that formulation is more poetically stupid. To be blunt, if you watch any of that shit earnestly and take it at face value, there’s something wrong with you. The standard woke glosses for why these bumptious charlatans are so popular run along the lines of stupid broads/stupid proles, with attendant reductio ad absurdum policy prescriptions to restrict the franchise, respectively, to pre-Wilsonian or pre-Jacksonian citizenship qualifications. Nope, nope: I lives here; can I come in? And stupidity per se isn’t the vulnerability that these shows exploit. I know people who are more than adequately intelligent but still find something inexplicably resonant about that garbage. What they definitely exploit is gullibility and thoughtless, uncritical reverence towards authority figures: that is, nothing that a fool couldn’t derive just as readily from The New York Times. 

The linked essay listed a number of appallingly crude confidence scams and social controls that Oprah has run on her audience, all under a tacit unifying theme of enforcing the internal locus of control. As I said, I don’t watch her bullshit because I can’t stand her, doing what she did bef–never mind; you’re on your own for train fare back to Annandale–but other mindful (or, dare I say, brainful) people who have watched her report back with horror stories about things that can be described only as cheap superstition and escapism. One of her suggestions was “reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles to lessen stress when you can’t pay your rent.” My homeless vet buddy from the rest areas will agree that it makes more sense to fly a sign to raise the missing rent money, or, in his case, the not-rent money. He once gave me several deposit bottles and a chocolate protein bar. Oprah never gave me deposit bottles or a protein bar; she’s too busy giving anyone with basic critical thinking skills a brain attack.

That woman is a walking Values: Pass It On billboard, but more embarrassing and insulting to the intelligence for your life. Oops. Or maybe not oops. Being hotep in cowboy country isn’t a bad idea, as opposed to using a billboard to lecture others about John Wayne’s thoughts on that hotep cowboy lifestyle. What John Tesh has to say about what some researchers his own researchers first heard about yesterday afternoon have to say about the latest health benefits of eating cranberries may be retarded, but it won’t result in anything worse than eating too many damn cranberries. I might end up drinking a pint and a half of cranberry juice at breakfast just because I’m staying at a hotel where there’s a big-ass cooler full of it at the breakfast buffet (probably because I’m traveling with my parents; on my own, I’m thankful for places with properly working heat). Pursuant to #BigBandStyle, #TeshTips will surely include the Intelligence (TM) briefing that doing that will cause me to get fat. Whaddaya mean, “get?” The shit that Oprah dredges up is positively deleterious, which means that it’s negative. I know, Wow Much grammars Omg kelsey grammer Very confuse. That is, if you believe in that shit and act on it, your life will become measurably less functional, and if enough people believe in it and act on it in the aggregate, their lives and yours will become measurably worse. When people reach out to those around them, listen sincerely to one another’s grievances and troubles, and demand fair hearings for their own grievances, things tend to be concretely improved over time. That ain’t happening with a goddamned vision board. It might happen if you “lean in” to one of them who’ve been shaking you down, especially if you know something about kung fu pressure points and shit.

Oprah’s consumer bot army will probably accuse me of being the one who wrote all that nonsense about the magical cat who saved my friend by taking his cancer into her own body. Who am I to titter about a stupid vision board and cast aspersions on other members of the occult community? I’ll tell you who I am not: I’m not a television profanity. I’m taking care not to commercialize any of the cat stuff. I’ll also tell you that Oprah Winfrey is not sincerely helping anyone else sincerely seek anything spiritual. You’d be a fool to go there looking for insights into the occult, but you’re already a fool for going there in the first place, so any occult nonsense that happens to be brought into view is incidental and superfluous. I’d forgotten what a sputtering, lathered-up hot mess Oprah has made of the noisier evangelical elements over the years by dabbling in bogus occult marketeering. #TheMoreYouKnow: If they’re selling you a special fold-up board over the boob tube, it isn’t legit. Some authoritarian asshole frothing at the mouth about how the Devil is using television to turn the hearts of America away from the one true Lord, our God makes Oprah look good by comparison. It doesn’t mean that she isn’t running a bunch of sleazy cons under the auspices of an inchoate post-Christian spirituality. Since the godbotherers who get all steamed up about Oprah’s satanic idolatry are either running their own cons or in league with other religiously meddlesome con artists, their residual sense of shame tends to stop them from directly condemning Oprah for her crass commercialization or her perversion of spiritual things for amoral financial gain. The worst I’d have to say about a sincere person’s report of the occult or the paranormal is that it sounds like a false positive. Oprah inviting some sleaze onto the stage to sell the MILF Reserve Chinese-made Ouija boards is nothing of the sort.

You should be able to see why I don’t want to let my own spirituality brush up against that huge heap of trash. It’s fucking toxic.

The depraved irony of the Oprah and Dr. Oz franchises is that they’re dependent on the solidly middle-class backgrounds of their audiences for the peddling of destructive superstitions the likes of which would sooner be expected in poor neighborhoods in the Third World. They need an audience with disposable income and reasonably intact socioeconomic circles to buy the products, services, and mentalities that will reduce a great many of them to beggary and low-class dysfunction in due course of time. This is utterly repugnant moral parasitism on par with Beltway influence-peddlers verbally abusing Secret Service agents instead of doing something about their own coke problems, like ordering some more coke and snorting it in private, away from G-Men who don’t need to be bothered with that shit. It’s a structural version of my grandfather going to Reno on Sunday afternoon, gambling away the family refrigerator money while the wife and kids took their Christian chicken dinner with their fellow Christians, and then blaming Sears-Roebuck for repossessing the fridge. No, that isn’t quite right: grandpa didn’t go for such a strong internal locus of control when Sears and its rat bastard repo men were so conveniently external to him and internal to the family kitchen with their hand truck. Basically, I’m able to eke out a contingent low-class existence with surprisingly high-class food and lodging in Reno during slow weeks because Reno has sucked away the middle-class financial resources and middle-class values of so many other people who used to fall somewhere in the broad middle class before they were lured into the pit of commercialized, state-sanctioned, and duly taxed numbers superstition.

Values: pass me some.

At least my bus ride to the Post Office and my trolley time, if any, should conflict with Oprah and her wretched spinoffs this afternoon. For yuppie scion reasons not worth explaining right now, I’m in San Diego, so it’ll be a real trolley. Dagmar Midcap is hot, but I’d hate to see the sperg horde she’ll attract to her meet-and-greet at the Auto Show.

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One thought on “The three o’clock news

  1. By God, you’re a genius–I never thought someone would talk me into defending Oprah. I started responding, and then it got all blown out of proportion and suddenly I was in Stalingrad. I think the crux of what I was saying was, “Poor Oprah, she doesn’t know how bad she is.”

    Now, incidentally, I realize why someone recommended The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to me a few years back. Oh God, it had to’ve been related to Oprah. And I read it and I said thank you to the person and I never knew. And now I’m part of the system. Why did you steal my innocence?

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