Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Oprah's Shifting Identity

Look, I don't like Oprah. It's a simmering, black coal within my heart sort of thing, but I'm not ashamed of it. Actually, I kind of embrace it. To be honest, I think she's a huckster. She made her money not so much by helping people, but by exploiting their misery and their peccadilloes for ratings and the fame and fortune it brings. Sure, she has built some schools in Africa, which is laudable, but it always carries that "pat on the shoulder" righteousness that just drives me an inch away from the traffic median.

Last, but certainly not least, she unleashed the bigger than her waist-line hucksterism of Dr. Phil's slow Texas moronic drawl on us all with his commonsensical "tough love" that condescendingly equates to saying, "you're white trash if you don't understand what I'm saying." So when I came across this little essay, "Straight Outta Africa: Oprah's Feel-Good-About-Herself Zulu Identity" by Charles Leonard I just had to link to it.

Leonard's run-in with some American hip-hop stars embracing their ahistorical African "roots" is also quite hilarious in a shoulder-shrugging, head-shaking sort-of-way.

Enjoy all you self-help talk show haters.