Document Type

Article

Abstract

These papers describe position of a popular medial star Oprah Winfey and her influence for today’s culture and tries to show all the points of view on the problematic of her controversial TV show program and all the business around her. The Oprah Winfrey Show is about a certain form of social suffering that originates in the family and that is articulated from the experience and viewpoint of women inside the family. Ironically, while western photojournalism and the evening news regularly import nonwestern images of war, famine, and natural disasters, The Oprah Winfrey Show represents the first television genre that exports American forms of suffering to the rest of the world, a suffering that differs significantly from the imported kinds in that it is individual, private and concerns the self. Oprah made a whole world about her. People are running their lives based around the programs they watch. The Oprah Winfrey Show is about a certain form of social suffering that originates in the family and that is articulated from the experience and viewpoint of women inside the family. Confessional discourse is deployed on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and consumerism, expressions of anxiety and fragmentation, and therapy all coexist with the announcement of self-recovery and self-realization that come from narrating one’s own story. Oprah operates through an interplay of ‘ordinary’ topics, which is her mark, as well as that of the guests, and extra-ordinariness confirmed by her celebrity status. The Oprah Winfrey Show convinces its viewers that their personhood is tied to community, friendship and familial networks but more importantly, that their self is purpose-driven and capable of contesting oppressive forces. What is fascinating is that this mantra of self-betterment acts as an umbrella over the Oprah persona, which stretches across her multi-media empire. Her show, her Web Site, her magazine, her book club, her films, her made for TV movies, even her friends make up the Oprah community. There is a definite mixture of charity, television and the consumer market. Frequently called trash TV, talk shows are cited as representing the worst excesses of cheap television, signaling the ‘dumbing down’ of culture.’ It’s a complex mix of celebrity, media synergy, and female buying power.

Share

COinS