Evil Has a Name

Jeff Genung

Oprah is evil.

I’m not sure when I came upon this brilliant assumption, but it’s been building for quite some time. Sure, you could say that she’s a talented interviewer, a generous philanthropist or inspiration for women everywhere. You could even say that I’m just jealous of her enormous success or the fact that she has more money than God. But I say it again … Oprah is evil.

I saw Oprah’s true form the other night, as by circumstance (mainly that I was too lazy to get up off the couch) I was coerced into watching a DVR-ed episode, a variation of her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” motif telling us what’s allegedly hot this summer.

Oprah didn’t use any market research or trend-watch analysis to determine what these “cool things” were for summer ‘07; she simply, and admittedly, picked things she liked. But what’s inherently wrong and evil about that, I surmise, is that these Oprah-ordained “cool things” now suddenly ARE cool entirely because Oprah said so.

It’s the same problem I’ve always had with her Book Club. Sure, she’s encouraged millions of housefraus who otherwise would be content reading TV Guide (or Oprah’s magazine, in which she’s suspiciously on the cover every month) to actually pick up a novel and read it, but these Oprah-sanctioned tomes are instant best sellers simply because Oprah told her audience to go out and buy them. And what’s shockingly apparent from watching the show is that Oprah’s audience, who were perhaps heretofore free-thinking women, do exactly what Oprah tells them to do. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, good intentions or not.

On the “cool things” show, Oprah of course, and quite generously, gave every member of her studio audience each and every one of the can’t-do-without items that the O deemed cool. By the way these women in the audience (and yes, they were all women) hooted and hollered and were brought to near-orgasm by each of Oprah’s gifts, you would have thought she’d cured cancer, delivered a lost gospel or opened a freakin’ Ponderosa in Darfur. Sure, I’d like a gift bag with the latest iPod, a $200 pair of designer sunglasses and even the wretched Beyonce’s latest CD, but I darn sure wouldn’t prostrate myself on national television for it.

That’s what’s scary, and downright evil, about Oprah Winfrey: her power over millions. OK, maybe it’s being used for good things like reading books and giving to charity and building schools in Africa right now, but who’s to say that Oprah might not turn her evil eye toward a more insidious cause? Like enslaving the nation’s housewives into a Stepford-like killing army, finally forcing Stedman to marry her .. or even a run at the White House? The mind reels.