Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Phantom that is Oprah

I can’t quite believe that in all the time I have been doing this blog, I have not once devoted a full slagfest to the odious Oprah Winfrey. Sure, I have mentioned the elastic framed uber menace as a benchmark for excess when bad company was required, say in the context of the spew inducing antics of TomKat or Madonna or George Michael, but I have never fully acknowledged her world class ghastliness - not that she hasn’t previously done plenty to deserve it.

Giving away gas guzzling cars to an entire audience in carbon crunching obsessed America was one in the eye for the environmental movement and would certainly have qualified if I’d had the blog back then. Extending a sofa-shaped platform to Michael Jackson or ‘Pel’ Mel Gibson to spin their criminal behaviour into misunderstood moments of madness is right up there with the concept of Mr Sheening Auschwitz but I was more focused on the monkey than the organ-grinder, obviously.

Then there is the unforgivable act of foisting upon us such drivel as The Bridges of Madison County, The Road Less Travelled, not to mention A Million Little Pieces, James Frey’s fictional account of what really happened to him. She even had the temerity to refuse to denounce him when he was outed as a fraud. Oprah couldn’t be more full of herself if she swallowed Louisiana. Rumour has it she once did – and brought it up again during a later bulimic phase.

The Oprah method of problem solving is to hire a JCB to crack a walnut and then turn it into a lovely Black Forest Chicken Nugget Gateaux for a random Christening party her researchers happen to turn up from the millions of letters they receive every day written in crayon. If you’re one of fifteen children of a disabled single mum who’s just lost her job adding the chocolate sprinkles to a Starbucks triple caffé mocha, super steamed and extra creamed, look out the window now as a truckload of brand new white goods has just mown down your front fence. Never mind you can’t pay the electric, you can now lay your carbon footprint down right next to those of your classmates with pride. Let’s burn some coal man!

So, now to my long awaited point. It’s here somewhere. Oh yes, here ‘tis, under the Christmas bunting and rejection letters. Oprah is fresh from the accolade of being voted ‘Celebrity Dog Owner of the Year’ by the readers of The New York Dog and The Hollywood Dog magazines. Have I got that right? The ‘worst’ ribbon was snapped up by Britney Spears from the salivating jaws of Paris Hilton. There is some misprint here surely. There would appear to be a superfluous word in the title of the award. Never mind.

In other news, CBS reports today that Oprah put up US$40million to fund an elite academy for girls in poverty ravaged South Africa. Imagine, if you will, casting an eye over bomb devastated Germany after the second world war and proclaiming ‘what this country needs is a sister school to Eton, right here in Dresden!’ Of the 48 million people in South Africa, a country so close to political and social meltdown that it should carry one of those yellow and black hazard signs, a blessed 152 school girls have been especially chosen by Oprah’s meticulous researchers ‘to change the face of the nation.’ Perhaps they misread the brief and it should say ‘to change at Victoria Station’? Just a thought.

It rather humbles the African child snatching capers of your Madonnas and Angelinas but then Oprah is no ordinary celebrity. Would Madonna have had the chutzpah to exploit an obviously senile Nelson Mandela? ‘It is my hope that this school will become the dream of every South African girl and they will study hard and qualify for the school one day’, announced the pale shadow of Mandela, perhaps forgetting that 152 into 25 million does not come to one straw boater per girl.

Even Angelina, who has previously excelled in dredging the depths of insensibility, might have mustered the humility from somewhere in her jangled being to realise that dragging half of Hollywood over to Henley-on-Klip (I am not kidding) to witness the spectacle of children who had spent their lives sleeping on dirt floors acquire the keys to their own Barbie bedroom and ensuite, was perhaps a little gauche. Is it really the dream of every African child to shower in the tears of daft American celebrities with more swimming pools than brain cells?

Demonstrating her exquisite grasp of logic, Oprah announced, ‘Girls who are educated are less likely to get HIV/AIDS, and in this country which has such a pandemic, we have to begin to change the pandemic.’ Well, quite. No one with a sound grasp of trigonometry and a working knowledge of Latin has ever contracted HIV as far as I am aware. We can cross 152 girls off that endangered list. Hurrah! Let’s get started on those bumper stickers straight way shall we – Academic NOT Pandemic. I can really see this catching on.

Thirteen year old Lesego Tlhabanyane, one of the lucky 152, grabbed the diamond-encrusted gauntlet with both fists and declared, ‘I would have had a completely different life if this hadn't happened to me. Now I get a life where I get to be treated like a movie star.’ She’s obviously fully acquainted herself with the moral responsibility her mentor has empowered her with. Well done Lesego! She’ll get plenty of time to be inspired by the woman whose idea of community service is to hire out international airports and hold jumble sales of last season’s frocks for the ordinary folks. Oprah is planning to build a home right there in Henley-on-Klip so that she can spend time with her girls and be fully involved in their education, as any modern parent would.

I love these girls with every part of my being. I didn't know you could feel this way about other people's children’, opined Oprah. Presumably she didn’t quite believe Madonna’s testimony and had to find out for herself. Bless. Now that she’s discovered the love of other people’s children is a really truly thing, will there be any stopping Oprah? She is the world’s richest woman and can afford to buy in bulk. Lock up your daughters developing world, Oprah is a comin’…

Bitingly satirical caricature from


Ms Melancholy said...

Oh, spot on as usual. I remember back in the good old days, when politics wasn't a dirty word, we would routinely cast a critical eye at the largesse of the rich and famous towards poor little black babies etc etc. It really galls me that these days such acts of charidee are welcomed with open arms. Perhaps you should start writing your post now for the next Children in Need debacle?

That's so pants said...

Hi Ms Melancholy. I suppose now that Oprah is involved we can at least set a high water mark. She is in a league of her own as far as crassness goes.

Grunge Girl said...

Good to have you and your sardonic wit back girl. That Oprah. Oh My God. What a national disgrace she is.

Groucho said...

Pawww! Oprah is just Harpo backwards, if that isn't a medical impossibility

The real Harpo said...

Creep, Creep

Sue George said...

Great points here (at first I wrote Great Pants but never mind!)
I had written more but blogger gobbled it up and swallowed it.
I think it was something along the lines of: what about all the other millions of people in South Africa. Oprah, like all the other celebs, is just interested in taking small numbers of people and making elites. Why do girls in boarding schools need their own bathrooms for gods sakes?

That's so pants said...

Hi Groucho - For once a decent point -well done.

Hello Real Harpo - I sympathise only in that I assume it is either your brother or Oprah that is the target of your venom - otherwise sod off and stay there.

Hi Sue George. My pants may not always be great but they are mostly clean - by my standards at least. Quite right too. It wouldn't be childhood without a shared bathroom. As an Australian child I only had to share one with my sister who was then and is now the perfect bathroom team player.

Reading the Signs said...

A sublime rant, and fitting tribute to her world class ghastliness. Haven't seen her on tv for years but one hears things and I have complacently accepted them as a symptom of one of the diseases of the age - where rich celebs get to further promote themselves by showing and telling us like it supposedly is. All part of the Oprah show.

That's so pants said...

It is jolly infuriating. The more I think about it, the more depressing it becomes. Last night on television there was a hideous programme about rich people who think their obscene wealth is actually beneficial to others because it 'filters down' to the community. Shouldn't people that delusional be declared a danger to society and locked up?


Howdy. Is that really true about the car thing, by the way? Everyone in the audience got one? That's just horrible, really.

There is a kind of dull and self-regarding witlessness in the actions of these (mainly American) celebrities. Their solutions to the problems they fleetingly address themselves to are as loopy as they are pointless.

I liked your post a lot - the style and flavour and mocking savagery of the whole thing - but came away feeling mildly depressed. Hope that makes sense.

Kind regards etc...

That's so pants said...

Hi Mr PE. Yes, the Big O did indeed give away a car to each and every audience member some time ago when a ratings panic collided with a particularly gruesome cash surplus. It isn't easy working out how to spend a £6bn fortune and bulk ordering does certainly help with cash flow. The fact that you ended up feeling depressed simply makes you a human with principles. Protect yourself as you are an endangered species.