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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII -

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oprah and cultural Marxism.

The Dark Ages of modern times......

by StFerdIII

Melanie Phillips wrote a great book on the cults of our age. Are we in a Dark Age? GlobaloneyWarming, the Obama-deity; Islam-is-Peace; Oprah worship.....psychologists would call this a set of cognitive dissonances. Future historians will christen our age one in which rationality was eschewed for politically-correct cultural Marxism and all the useless attendant psycho-babble. None will understand the allure of a woman who screamed in 2008 that the Obama was 'The One'. 'The One' ? Are you serious? And yet this woman, an elitist liberal who expresses the most banal of repackaged truisms [be happy, you are what you do, inner beauty is more important....], and who is at best indifferent about her own country and the civilisation which gave her the chance to espouse obvious platitudes, is venerated by countless tens of millions of women as a goddess. Go figure.

I have no idea why anyone would watch Oprah, or Dr. Fake Phil, or Deepak Chopra, or Jerry Springer for that matter. [It is also a mystery why anyone would spend money and time on Lady Gaga et al.] Yet Oprah, with a compelling if falsified personal narrative, is the world's most powerful women, a pop-cultural 'sage' with a devoted army of followers; a one-woman industry and social dynamic. Thankfully she is retiring her show.

On the one hand we can credit Oprah and her appeal to market forces. No one should begrudge her the success or billions she has earned. Good for her. But on the other side of the balance sheet we must look at the liability of what she is selling. What exactly is Oprah up to? Is she inventing, creating, improving or humanizing? Not really. Her show and her career are entirely exploitative. She exploits the me-too obsessiveness of the Twitter generation and the self-absorption of the age of Aquarius and post-Christian, post-modern culture. She also exploits her 'guests' who are little more than showcase relics used to attract eyeballs, advertising dollars and enhance her own personal fortune. She is no different than Jerry Springer – just a little more urbane. The Oprah cult is as exploitative as any other cult.

John Moore an ardent Leftist is measured and realistic in his analysis of the Oprah cult:

By any measure she is a remarkable woman; the living embodiment of the Horatio Alger myth. Celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley insists much of the Oprah origin tale is embellished or invented but there is no denying that her childhood and early teen years were beyond miserable. She clawed her way out of chaos, abuse and poverty through smarts and sheer grit. Her rise to the position of most influential woman in the world was fueled by talent and moxy but also blessed by providential timing. 

So powerful is the Oprah brand that this absence of cognitive dissonance extends to her fans. They don’t question the egotism of her face appearing on more than 130 covers of her eponymously named magazine. They accept family advice from a woman who is said to force her mother to make appointments just to talk on the phone. They regard a woman who owns a half dozen luxury homes and who has Maya Angelou on speed dial as the girl next door.

Cognitive dissonance indeed. Surely massive egotism and self-absorption. But that is the Oprah market. Of the 22 million people who view Oprah most are older white women, and voyeurs. The Oprah act is the parading of people with problems, psychoses, ills, and abused backgrounds for the entertainment of the general public. It is wrapped up in earth-tones, reasonable discourse and nice looking furniture. She is the modern day P.T. Barnum, with a nice studio instead of a traveling circus.

The mass market need to view people in trouble, to generate self-esteem through the secret glee of witnessing others suffering is one of the most remarkable and disturbing signs of a mass psychosis and febrility. What personality glories in watching the sainted Oprah vendor someone who is under obvious difficulty be it physical, psychological or both? The fact that Oprah 'packages' the voyeurism with some nice colors, epithets, or inane pop-psychology, does not detract from the fact that she is selling her victims to increase her own fortunes. She is the successful marketer of the failed.

Even to fans of Oprah this truism cannot be avoided. The successful, criminal, and politically oriented Conrad Black gets most of it wrong though the crux of his analysis of the Oprah cult is germane:

Ms. Winfrey’s renown and popularity grew and grew, though there were criticisms that she was going to unnecessary lengths to unearth aberrant and even psychotic behavior. There was a constant procession of the compulsively obese, the morbidly anxious, the battered of all ages, ethnicities, and gender-identifications, but it was generally done in reasonable taste, especially compared to the Jerry Springer and other freak and smut shows, and Mr. Donohue’s hemophiliac bleeding heart arterial Niagaras.

....folkloric figure in the African-American community without much alienating other groups, a model to those who wished to be cured of obesity, to women who had unsettled romantic lives, to all manner of career women, and to the broad echelon of American altruism that flows between the sociological bands of indifference and causal fervor.

I don't think Oprah was a model or an Oracle. She sold and marketed products which appealed and will continue to appeal, to the lowest common denominator of human society – the viciously hypocritical voyeur. There are few easier ways to gain some self-esteem than to view the ineradicable sufferings of others – and delighting in it. This is not culture of course. It is the opposite. Well-functioning people don't need to view the Oprah side-show to find 'meaning', or to 'learn' to live 'good and happy lives'. Neither do they need to be reminded on their coffee cups that 'what you do with your time will indicate who you are'. Oprah was a serial philanderer, bedding married as well as single men. She spent plenty of time exploiting others. She is known to be a particularly bossy and impossible business owner. She deals in mostly the occult of TV, conjuring up shows to impress and wow with as little substance as possible.

Oprah might have a compelling personal story, but it is a mystery and a mark on society, as to why anyone would watch her show and take any of it seriously, or elevate her to 'Mother Goddess'. The modern Dark Age at its dimmest.

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