Skip to comments.Stop the insanity OPRAH GIVEAWAYS MAKE HER A BAD SANTA
Posted on 12/04/2004 8:41:18 AM PST by xp38
IN SEPTEMBER, when Oprah Winfrey returned for her 19th season, we were told that something big was up. Speculation ran rampant. Was she building schools in Africa? Mounting another pro-literacy campaign? Curing cancer?
Instead, the talk-show diva descended into her studio audience and declared, "You've got a car! You've got a car! You've got a car!"
All 276 members of her studio audience received brand new Pontiacs valued at $28,000 US apiece. People went nuts.
Last month -- neatly timed near the end of sweeps -- Oprah Claus gave away another $15,000 to each and every studio audience member, this time teachers, in her annual "Favourite Things" show. Among the multi-millionaire's favourite things are flat-screen TVs, laptops and a washer-dryer set.
Now, Oprah's no dummy. Based on season-to-date ratings, her syndication numbers are up 16% year-to-year. Clearly, people want stuff. Fabulous, expensive stuff.
Oprah's also no one-trick pony. In the course of a week she'll do more good by promoting random acts of kindness, healthy lifestyles or volunteerism than, well, some churches.
So why am I horrified by the giveaway giddiness of her impact shows?
It just seems to send the wrong message: the world's richest woman declares that lavish, material goods can solve all your problems.
And it's spreading. This past week on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the comedienne launched her own 12 days of giving by showering her studio audience with vacuum cleaners, coffee makers and electric tooth brushes. Again, the audience went insane with glee. As one Sun reader observed, any hubby who tried to give his wife a vacuum for Christmas would sleep with Frosty.
As usual, the anti-Oprah's aren't buying it. David Letterman gave his audience car air-fresheners the day after Oprah handed out Pontiacs. After her latest prize dump, Conan O'Brien cracked, "What -- run out of cars?"
Cynics. Oprah has dedicated this entire season to fulfilling fantasies. "No dream is too wild, no surprise impossible to pull off," she said on her show. If some struggling young actor's dream is to guest star on Will & Grace, Oprah will make it so. If a struggling single parent needs a new house to shelter her growing adoptive family, Oprah will out-makeover Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Even the giveaways are sold as charitable ventures. Eleven needy people were hand-picked in that car giveaway -- although the other 266 well-manicured Oprah babes looked like they were off to audition for the next Bachelorette.
TV always has had instant-prize programs. In the '50s, Queen For A Day asked the studio audience to pick which contestant had the most pathetic life -- and then reward them with a recliner.
Things, however, have never been this out of hand. We've lived vicariously through contestants before -- from the Survivor torch-bearers to the Amazing Race runners to Jeopardy! brainiac Ken Jennings.
Now, forget vicarious. We want the full, hands-on, TV miracle. Fix my nose (The Swan), fix my job (The Apprentice), fix my spouse (Wife Swap). Even fix your pets (The Price Is Right).
An e-mail arrived this week at the Sun from a reader who sounded like a real desperate housewife. She was struggling to raise her son, needed a job, was ashamed of her appearance and was looking for a way up. Did I know the producers of The Swan and could I intervene on her behalf?
This is what's wrong with Oprah's message. Too many people believe that TV can save your life if you can just get into the right studio on the right day.
There's nothing wrong with looking fabulous or being fabulously wealthy. Who doesn't like to win a new car or flat-screen TV?
But Oprah has the power to tell the world that beauty and happiness do not equal all the toys you can grab in 15 minutes.
She can tell people that true beauty and power lies within themselves, not within their television sets. That's my wildest dream.
I'll just never understand the fascination.....as long as I shall live.....
Maybe Oprah will give this jealous guy something so he will STFU.
Only thing missing here is the ever seasonal...Bah, humbug...
What Oprah is doing is a disgrace.
She should give the money to rich people who would do something with it like spur greater investment and create more jobs.
Nor will I.
I had the day off recently and had occasion to click through when her show started.
The audience's reaction was cult-like.
I'm no Oprah fan, but perhaps her material giveaways have actually helped some people in need, or maybe for those who aren't to then give something to others in need: pass it along so to speak. This author needs to lighten up.
I wonder of Oprah has Walmart's liberal return policy when these cars start to break down in the first year?
I'm with you. I thought it was a nice, if publicity garnering, gesture. So what if it's good advertising? I thought Ellen DeGenerous's (usually I type "degenerate" so I'm definitely in the holiday spirit) move was even better.
Perhaps the good folk of Toronto are looking to get on Oprah for instant wealth but I sure haven't met any out here. They're too busy planning their next Vegas vacation. Is Vegas Oprah's fault? Don't think so...
More accurately, it sends the message that TELEVSION personalities can solve all your problems.
Personally, I don't care what Oprah does with her money, but we do need to remember one thing: it's good business for Oprah to be doing these give-a-ways, and that's the bottom line.
But there is a danger in what Oprah and other TV personalities are doing: they are perpetuating the myth of the "silver bullet" fix-all, which is the underlying myth that is the foundation of liberalism.
Gads. This person doesn't have a clue. As if what Oporah does actually changes the world? It's TV. It's all fake.
Somebody at the Toronto Sun has major jealousy issues.
One day... I will be part of that audience and take all those goodies home.
Actually. Oprah didn't give the cars, GM did. It was a great advertsing gimmick. The people who got the cars still had to pay the taxes. Gifts on these shows are mostly donated to get the advertising. It's okay but I don't equate it to true charitable giving as far as the stars of the shows are concerned.
Do you live under a bridge? :P
Even Santa does his "giving" in private. Oprah has all of this attention and snd she still needs more. Look at me!
She can do what she wants, it's her show , her money ..Free society , capitalism ..So ..........
Uh, that's what I told hubby I wanted for Christmas this year.
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