I have never been a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey. I don't understand her cult following; it puzzles me. Oprah first began her career as a journalist and a talk show host. She interviewed people -- interesting people. But somewhere along the way the show started to be about her. Oprah almost became a religion. When she signed off the other day, folks were posting to her website:
"Your shows cleaned my soul and opened my heart every time. Thank you so much for wonderful TV-hours."
"I have seen a spot of light around you for all these years you were shining every sunset replacing sun's ray with your hopeful smile, spreading love and understanding all over the world, with your simplicity and humility."
"It is my opinion that Oprah, without children of her own, adopted the world as her children."
"I am so PROUD to be an Oprah believer. I have been watching, following, agreeing, and loving your agenda for years!"
"I remember when I was a child I would get angry with my mother because she had to watch "Oprah" and all I wanted to do was watch cartoons. Then as I got older, I realized that mother truly did know best and then "Oprah" turned into my little piece of heaven every day."
"Cleaned my soul"? ... "Ray of light"? ... "Adopted the world as her children?" ..."Little piece of heaven?" ..."Agenda?"
There are over 2,300 comments exactly like these, and they are downright frightening. She's a talk show host and a businesswoman, folks, not the Messiah.
The key to success seems to be to affect a persona and stick to it. Get that persona out there until it permeates every corner of the media. If you're famous,
Oprah now has her own television network, and interestingly the acronym for her initials is OWN. That frightens me even more. I have watched a couple of the programs on her network, and it is more of the same "This is what Oprah believes, so you should believe it too". Unfortunately, there are too many people who can't - or chose not to - think for themselves. So, they are very easily influenced by someone who does their thinking for them.
In 1998 there was a movie called "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carrey. It was a movie about a long-running television program following a man's fictional life. The whole thing was set up in an elaborate TV studio, but Truman believed it was his real life. People all over the world had watched the show from Truman's infancy. When Truman finally learned the truth and made his escape from the studio, the final scene put everything into perspective. Two security guards were eating pizza and watching television:
First Guard: "You want another slice?"
Second Guard: "No, I'm OK."
First Guard: "What else is on?"
Second Guard: "Yeah, let's see what else is on."
First Guard: "Where's the TV guide?"
It's all up to you. Don't give these personalities more power than they deserve. To you, they are like members of your family; they are in your homes every day. But to them ~~ well, they have never even heard of you. They're business people, and the only thing they really want from you is your business.
"Let's see what else is on..."