Oprah and Ethics

OprahSLAH-edit3  Jonah and I were in the Orthodontist office for hours and hours yesterday. (Wah! My baby has braces, and they're hurting him. We've having some trauma here.) I did have a chance to catch up on my pop politics magazines.

Newsweek has a great article on the quacks that Oprah brings on the show. Suzanne Somers tells you to inject hormones in your vag*na to look young forever. Jenny McCarthy tells parents that the MMR shot gave her kid autism. And then there the whole "Secret" nonsense, which my lame-brained babysitter completely buys into. Great critique of Oprah.

On Oprah's show, there is one opinion more equal than others; and by
the end of the program there was no doubt where Oprah herself stood on
the issue. She told her audience that she found Somers's bestselling
books on bioidentical hormones "fascinating" and said "every woman
should read" what she has to say. She didn't stop there. Oprah said
that although she has never had a hot flash, after reading Somers she
decided to go on bioidenticals herself. "After one day on bioidentical
estrogen, I felt the veil lift," she wrote in O, The Oprah Magazine.
"After three days, the sky was bluer, my brain was no longer fuzzy, my
memory was sharper. I was literally singing and had a skip in my step."
On the show, Oprah had her own word of warning for the medical
establishment: "We have the right to demand a better quality of life
for ourselves," she said. "And that's what doctors have got to learn to
start respecting."

All in all, it was a perfect hour
of tabloid television. Who could look away from Suzanne Somers's sad
but captivating efforts to turn back time? And if there was a stab of
guilt in the pleasure we took in the spectacle, Oprah was close by to
ease our minds, to reassure us, with the straightest face, that it was
all in the name of science and self-improvement. Oprah routinely grabs
viewers with the sort of tales of the strange and absurd that might be
found a few clicks over on Maury Povich or Jerry Springer:
women who leave their husbands for other women (another recent Oprah
episode); a 900-pound mom (ditto). But there is a difference. Oprah
makes her audience feel virtuous for gaping at the misfortunes of
others. What would be sniffed at as seamy on Maury is somehow praised
as anthropology on Oprah. This is Oprah's special brilliance.
She is a gifted entertainer, but she makes it seem as though that is
beside the point. Oprah is not here to amuse you, she is here to help
you. To help you understand your feelings; drop those unwanted pounds;
look and feel younger; get your thyroid under control; to smooth your
thighs, nip and tuck your wrinkles, awaken your senses and achieve
spiritual tranquillity so that you can at last be free to "Live Your
Best Life."

6 thoughts on “Oprah and Ethics

  1. “Suzanne Somers tells us to inject hormones in your vag*na to look young forever.”
    Sometimes there are sentences on this blog that make me regret commenting under my real name.

  2. It’s not your sentences Laura, it’s the ones that I would reply with that I am not at all sure I want the whole world’s internet to associate with my real name and everything forever and ever google without end amen.
    And yes, MH, I do post at Unfogged under my real name, too. Though when I have in the unlikely event that I should have something questionable that I just have to say anyway, they have an established approach to pseudonymity.

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