I was crushed this week to confirm that I am not one of Oprah’s peeps. I thought I was. In her folksy world of womanhood in the universal sorority she commands, I have always assumed all are welcome in house mother Oprah’s world.
Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, an organized maven or flaky disheveled artist, a binge eater or an obsessive workout queen, there is a spot for you in Oprah’s big, loving heart. Whatever your compulsion, viewpoint, or penchant, Oprah understands. Oprah celebrates you. Oprah accepts you. Oprah gives you a knowing smile and sage advice. We are all in it together, girlfriend.
Though life has taken me away from the congenial little chats Oprah and I used to have via the television airwaves, I knew she was still there with me in spirit, cheering me on, celebrating my voice.
A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of O! for, perhaps, the second or third time since its initial launch. O! is Oprah’s venture into the glitzy world of powerhouse magazine publishing. The affirming and upbeat article titles of this month’s issue appealed to me and I thought, yes….I can still hang with Oprah.
Admittedly, I had not pursued my relationship with her with any vigor after noticing that the first few copies seemed to lean farther and farther left. Frankly, if I want partisan politics in my chick magazines, I’ll grab the latest Cosmo or Jane.
When I pick up a woman’s magazine, I want tips on organizing my life, juggling the complexities of being mother, wife, worker and woman. I want to be inspired, lifted up, amused and touched. I don’t want to be preached at. I don’t want to scour the pages looking for a hint of who I am nor do I want the steady beat of recriminations about my political and philosophical beliefs. I don’t want to be lectured. I do not want to be converted to the Church of Liberalism. I’ll leave that those efforts to Hollywood and the MSM.
This month’s O! is not just light reading for gals. It is not just a tome for dissecting challenges and finding solutions. It is not the psyche infusing "we love all folks" manual I hoped for and needed in an increasingly polarized and critical society. Instead, it is yet another tool of the all powerful media leftist elitists, used to spread the Gospel according to Howard Dean and company.
I know it is akin to sacrilege to dare to criticize Dame Oprah. Truth be told, I am looking over my shoulder as I write this. Oprah’s mob is everywhere, loyal in a cultish way. Next time I am at the Stop & Shop, I fully expect to find oranges sailing past my head when I am pointed out as, "The girl who dissed Oprah." Literary careers can be made or broken at her feet, just ask James Frey….he still hasn’t put those million little pieces of his career back together after he disappointed the great one.
I scanned O! with the hope and the need to reconnect with my sisters in the sorority. I wanted to bond with them over the struggles to self-actualize. I needed to glean insight into how to navigate paying the mortgage without selling my soul. I needed some girl time. I needed to find commonality with the great struggle that is woman. I hoped, with more than a shred of doubt, that I could go cover to cover and find a little slice of me, conservative Republican woman, in those pages.
In a story entitled “A Million Ways to Save the World” reading quotes from the poster child for treason and bad judgment, Jane Fonda, was mind-numbing enough. Reading James Gilligan, author of Preventing Violence, was enough to make me take slow cleansing Lamaze breaths. Gilligan posits, with no hint self-awareness at his utter pompousness, one of the ways we Oprahbots can save the world was to "Elect a Democrat President."
That little pearl of partisanship sits with no questions asked, no qualifications made. It is presented as a reasonable fact. If you have a heart, a soul and an ounce of feminine compassion for our fragile world, don’t be a selfish, ignorant, boorish conservative and vote for a Republican. Voting for the GOP will doom us. It is uncaring. You are not part of the sisterhood.
Not content to tweak me with Gilligan’s brilliant advice, I then had to swallow an interview with actor Viggo Mortensen and his sage literary picks. Prominently included was Howard Zinn’s A Power Government’s Cannot Suppress. Zinn is not exactly known for his fair treatment of conservative thought nor his subtly in exposing far leftist beliefs a la Norm Chomsky. In a shocking twist, there was no Ayn Rand on Viggo’s list.
Finally, with weariness, I turned past “What do your really want to do with your life?” to find a glossy 9, yes 9!, page spread on Elizabeth Edwards. While I am certain that her battle with cancer is relatable, important and valuable, I do not think for one moment her appearance had as much to do with her battle as it does with the (D) next to her husband’s name.
Are there really no Republican women worthy of featuring? Do none of us struggle with adversity, conflict or worry? In Oprah’s world, it seems not.
Admittedly I have not been a consistent reader of O! Perhaps if I flipped through back issues I would find a nice Christian missionary devoting her time and energy to the African continent. I feel confident, however, there would be no acknowledgement of her politics. Am I the only woman in Oprahland who longs to see at least a superficial effort to address my beliefs and concerns?
Oprah where is the love?