Saturday, December 18, 2010


Just before school broke up for the summer when I was in year 10, at a time shrouded further in the murky mists of the past than I care to remember, our year 11 co-ordinator advised us to prepare for VCE English by keeping an eye out for pertinent issues in the media. One way of achieving this, she suggested, was to view day-time television talk shows, and assess them for content. It was in this injunction that my worship of the divine talk-show trinity, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Springer and Doctor Phil was born.
So that the nature and hypostasis of this Trinity is understood, a brief doctrinal exposition follows: In the beginning there was the One, and the One was Oprah and her spirit, in the form of Jerry Springer, moved upon the televisual waves. Doctor Phil, her progeny, is generated by her and yet, in order to defeat any outbreak of the pestilential Arian heresy, there was no time in which he was not, for he is of the same essence as Oprah, though possessed of two consubstantial natures: one talk show guru, the other, moustache.
It is axiomatic then, that when in 2002, Christianity Today, published an article called "The Church of O" in which they concluded that Oprah had emerged as an influential spiritual leader, I was enmeshed in throes of rapture. Quoth the daily Christians: "Since 1994, when she abandoned traditional talk-show fare for more edifying content, and 1998, when she began 'Change Your Life TV', Oprah's most significant role has become that of spiritual leader. To her audience of more than 22 million mostly female viewers, she has become a post-modern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality.”
Her spiritual leadership has over the years taken many forms. Through her segment Oprah’s book-club, she can move and co-erce otherwise not inclined to literacy followers to the reading of main-stream books that could do with the extra marketing. Attempts to have the Diatribe feature on Oprah’s book-club have foundered only due to Oprah’s well-known and long standing feud with Neos Kosmos English Edition’s editor, the unspeakably deep Fotis Kapetopoulos, who (oh the horror!) indulges in literary criticism, when not attempting to gag garrulous diatribists.
Some viewers claim the show has motivated them to perform acts of altruism such as helping Congolese women and building an orphanage. I know how they feel. After one particularly inspiring show, I was moved to build an orphanage for elderly Cypriot women, no Congolese being available in my suburb. They were to be educated upon the reading lists of Oprah’s book-club and empowered by being told how wonderful they are and how they could do anything as long as they believed it. Indeed, I began to preach to them, the “Secret” a self-help program endorsed by the divine Winfrey, in which it propounded that one can change their lives through positive thoughts, which will then cause vibrations that result in good things happening to them. Invariably, the prospective recipients of this noble endeavour informed me that they had been orphans for a considerable period of time, and furthermore any change in their financial status would totally destroy their standing at Centrelink. Furthermore, what good thoughts was I talking about, after the litany of misfortunes that had befallen them in their lives? I was compelled to retreat hastily, firing as a Parthian shot, the fact that a scientific study by psychological scientists at the Universities of Cambridge, Plymouth and California discovered that watching an Oprah Winfrey 'uplifting' clip caused subjects to become twice as helpful as subjects assigned to watch a British comedy or nature documentary, whether voiced by David Attenborough or otherwise.
It is for this reason then, the power to uplift, levitate and sway the masses that Oprah’s status as a spiritual leader par excellence cannot be disputed. Indeed, she may be even more than that, as it appears her power transcends the most implacable and insurmountable religious divides. According to The Wall Street Journal, MBC4, an Arab satellite channel, has centered its entire programming around reruns of her show because it was drawing record numbers of female viewers in Saudi Arabia. Oprah's modest spiritual dress, combined with her triumph over adversity and abuse has caused women in Saudi Arabia to idealize her.
There is much mystery around the personage of Oprah, including unanswered questions about her long-time disciple Gayle King. And then again there are the signs of her majesty: She has been proclaimed "arguably the world's most powerful woman" by CNN and, “arguably the most influential woman in the world" by the American spectator. All this, coupled with the contract of secrecy that those who would serve her must sign, compelling them to silence as to the variety of her manifestations and energies for the whole of their lives, lead me to believe that if Oprah is not a deity, then quite arguable, she is the long awaited Mahdi who is bringing justice and the final judgment to the world.
The signs are plain. On the season premier of her 13th season Roseanne Barr revealed the divinity of Oprah, stating: "you're the African Mother Goddess of us all," inspiring much adulation from the instantly converted studio audience. If this were not enough, the animated series Futurama alludes to her divinity by suggesting that "Oprahism" is a mainstream religion in 3000 AD.
It is therefore evident that Oprah’s arrival in Australia, along with her sophisticated, polished and classy disciples, ushers in a new age for humanity. For though they may stroke the koala, all this is merely to coax psychobabble and misty confessions from would-be heretics and opponents of their crusade to spread Oprahism throughout the cosmos. After all, it was Oprah who proclaimed that "God is a feeling experience and not a believing experience. If your religion is a believing experience, then that's not truly God.” Oprah feels. She feels koalas. This therefore, is an incontrovertible sign.
Before the gentle reader dismisses the above as the ravings of a deranged prophet, consider a caveat if you will: In her televised sermon to her disciples back home, the Great Goddess has asserted that Australians refer to men as "blokes", women "sheilas" and that they like to hang out at "hip joints" called McCafes to down gourmet lattes. This is because it is through the communion of foodstuffs purchased at MacDonalds, that ye shall know her, and fall down upon your knees and worship. After all, you knew that the coining of the McFrappe was a sign and yet, you did nothing, like the seven virgins in the Oprahian parable who were sent to Maccas’ in the middle of the night to get a soft serve, only to find their local store shut in their faces.
Greek and Italian barristas and coffee shop owners howl their discontent at their own peril and we beg them fervently to stop. For if they do not, Oprah will turn her divine gaze away from Greece and decline to set her holy shoes upon that country. And let us face it: Greece is sorely in need of an Oprah. The advent of a plethora of screaming disciples hitting the Athens MacDonald’s should revitalise the Greek economy and cleanse it of its woes in a way in which the Olympics never could. Oprah could publicly endorse fellow American George Papandreou as perennial prime minister and thus do away with the running costs of democracy forever.
Yet the question which begs asking is why Oprah chooses an easy target like Australia for her evangelism, one spoon-fed on the doctrines of the new age and not a hard case like Greece which is in dire need of her gospel. I attribute it to the presence on Greece of a pantheon of chat-show queens furtively sharpening their claws, inflating their breasts and preparing for the onslaught. Oprah against the combined forces of Roula Koromila, Tatiana Stefanidou, Eleni Menegaki, Eleonora Meleti and the knee numbingly stunning Vicky Kaya? Here is Armaggedon, the final battle of the Apocalypse, where all men shall be compelled to choose sides and the prophet of the new age will remark that verily when he was upon us, we did not know him.
But fear not gentle readers, though we shall not know the hour or the day of the final battle, we do know that it is fast approaching, heralded by Her coming. As we prepare for the End of Days then and the dawning of the Eternal televisual age of peace and touchy feely, reach for your McLatte and feel good about yourself. You can do it. And if you can’t, Oprah will show you how.


First published in NKEE on Saturday 18 December 2010