This will shock some people: I have a lot of respect for Oprah.
My wife has been a fan for as long as I can remember, so I am occasionally exposed to her program (if I can stand the subject) and often must listen to my wife expound on her wisdom.
Lately, perhaps because of the hype surrounding the launch of her own network (nice bit with the name, by the way), I had a thought: there must be a lot of angry, jealous white men in America. The clever ones among them must be asking: How could a woman--a black woman--achieve such success, wealth, and power? That's the kind of thing white men should do (although even few of those have achieved so much).
I got to thinking about this issue. No one will disagree that she is talented, intelligent, empathetic, etc. But, many others share similar traits and have not reached such heights. Others are also motivated by having difficult earlier years. Perhaps her success can be attributed to having hidden out in Chicago, away from sharp elbows, deadly hypocrisy, and phony camaraderie of LA and New York. After all, those characters would never want to live in Chicago. Or, maybe it was because she catered to a demographic that powerful men failed to understand, too busy chasing the elusive 18-25 male juggernaut, while thinking that women watch only Soaps. Could it be that, being black, she was able to sneak up on everyone. No one suspected that such a person could be successful. It was camouflage. For many men, that's not playing by the rules they write.
I can appreciate some of what Oprah preaches and often find her shows entertaining. Her ubiquity forces her to chase too many cringe-inducing, remote-grabbing topics and pseudo-celebrities, but that's the nature of the talk show beast. She does the best she can (better than others) with what the human race delivers and audiences demand. I like the fact that she does not appear to take herself too seriously (at least not on camera). Anyone in her position and with her life deserves moments of frustration and should be permitted to lash out. What other woman would show herself on camera without make-up, in moments best kept behind closed doors? Why wife won't answer the doorbell without full regalia.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.