Oprah’s hollow Mea Culpa

Oprah’s Mea Culpa sounds hollow

Oprah Winfrey, the queen of talk TV, claims she’s gotten off the wagon after tipping the scales at 200 lbs. due to some thyroid condition and food addiction. She’s gotten enough publicity from her weight losses and gains, that her little revelation sounds like an attempt to place herself in some sort of underdog position. This can be effective for everyone to forget her billion dollar media empire.

We usually don’t write about celebrities here, but Oprah is an exception. as she carries incredible influence in popular culture. Her backing of Barack Obama was instrumental in making his candidacy credible and visible to many people when he was relatively unknown. Her book club often creates best-sellers.

You see, Oprah needs to appear more accessible to the common woman. I’m not suggesting that she gained the weight purposely, but it is very difficult for me to feel too much compassion towards her, considering that she has access to the best personal chefs and trainers.

I have little doubt that she’s has difficulty with food. The problem is that she’s appealing to other’s compassion by labeling herself a “food addict” and claiming some thyroid condition gave her a fear of working out. This from someone who made a public display out of finishing a marathon. Her trainer got a best selling book out of the deal, and doubtless that her O magazine is full of tips on “how to lose weight.

Here at 99ppp we are getting into better shape and managing to deal with the struggles that go with it. We can sympathize with Oprah’s inconsistency, yet we have to cook our own meals, and train with our home equipment (resistance bands and yoga mats) and videos. We have no access to Oprah’s resources (chefs, gyms and trainers), so any appeals by her to saying how hard it is, sounds very hollow to us. I prefer to read a blog post from average folks dealing with their struggles, than the one of a billionaire using a sensational headline to sell more magazines.

“I’m embarrassed,” she writes. “I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?’ “(from Link above)

Yes… she’s embarrassed.. so embarrassed she decided to publish a feature article about it. I don’t know about you, but if you are so embarrassed about something, wouldn’t you keep it to yourself instead of trumpeting out to the world? Of course, she’ll now work on losing the weight, having the thyroid and food addiction as an alibi if she fails, and painting herself as an underdog whose battled all odds if she succeeds.

Winfrey writes. “I was so frustrated I started eating whatever I wanted – and that’s never good.”

That narcissism is indicative of a decadent society faced with its overindulgence. Many have little time to cook, opting for cheaper fast food. Healthy food gets more expensive, yet Oprah surely can afford it. Not to mention in-house cooks/chefs to prepare delicious meals. What befuddles me is that so many viewers perceive Oprah to be “one of them”?

Is Oprah responsible for her Guru status?

Not fully, but she certainly doesn’t discourage it. She appears to have developed a Messiah Complex, attempting to save everyone. The onus lies on her viewership who could place greater scrutiny on her values and so-called lessons.

She hopes to get started with her upcoming “Best Life Week,” starting Jan. 5 with an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” during which she is expected to talk candidly about her weight.

Her weight gains and losses give her content for her increasingly vacuous show. Her “candidness” seems like a calculated attempt to position herself as an underdog, one of YOU, which is quite difficult for a extremely wealthy person during a economic downturn.

I don’t question that Oprah genuinely believes that she has great information and lessons to pass along, sometimes she does, shifting her materialistic “Oprah’s Favorite Things” episode this year into “How to Have the Thriftiest Holiday Ever” showing some sensitivity to these troubled economic times. Nevertheless, it’s best for more people to think for themselves, choose their own books,  and frame their own reality. Whether it’s Oprah or some other celebrity attempting to bring wisdom to the “clueless rabble”, it’s high time that we develop our own individual critical skills and maintain an open mind, while tempering it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Oprah’s show reminds me of a great scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but I doubt very much that she’d make similar declarations as Brian below. [vid 1:05min]

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5 Responses to “Oprah’s hollow Mea Culpa”

  1. How about seeing her weight gain from a different angle?? She uses a food addiction and a thyroid issue.. mind you I am not a medical doctor, but why wasn’t her thyroid been an issue when she did run the marathon, or all the previous times that she did lose weight through healthy eating and exercise?

    We all know that Oprah had a horrific childhood and is a real survivor and she also proves that there is, for some people, the rag to riches fairytale.

    Back to my point. Due to horrible childhood she may still have issues that needs to be dealt that are resulting in her weight gain. Now being a public figure stating that and hashing out the past might be very difficult to deal with and asking for help nearly impossible. Considering what many of her shows are based on helping people, to me it would be logical to make one about helping herself emotionally, instead of gearing it towards helping her lose that excess weight again.

  2. The best way to lose weight is simply to eat what you’ve always eaten, but eat less of it.

  3. @nrbl: I think Oprah just likes to eat and is making excuses. Those traumatic childhood events are way in the past, and she seems like she’s coped effectively with them. She’s been fairly public about her past, and I think that she’d be more reluctant to admit she likes the way food tastes and wants more of it. I see her disclosure more as a means to increase O magazine sales and ratings.

    You make a great point on Oprah’s widespread appeal, the rags-to-riches “American Dream” icon.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    @Christopher: That pretty sensible, but works best when people eat a variety of food. The thing is that many who overeat actually may be malnourished, since they tend to have some favourite foods, may not get the widest range of macro and/or micronutrients.

  4. It may seem ridiculous for her to write a published article about something she’s embarrassed about, but clearly if she’s going to continue to make public appearances she’s got to say something about her weight gain, otherwise it’ll become an elephant in the room, so to speak.

    It’s unfortunate that she seems to buy into and further popularise quick-fix (e.g. The Secret) and medicalisation culture (e.g. I’m fat because of x disease or psychological disorder), instead of promoting personal responsibility and hard work, which she surely personally applied in amassing her fame and fortune.

  5. @V Profane: Some great points yet I don’t see why she needs to say something about her weight gain unless she’s asked, especially if embarrassed. To write an article about it seems like attention and sympathy seeking.

    Great points on the promotion of the quick-fixes by Oprah, and fully in agreement. Just goes to show she’s very savvy on what will attract an audience.

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