Monday, April 28, 2014

Living la Vida Oprah, part 5 by Margaret Ullrich

I’m looking forward to returning Robyn Okrant’s book Living Oprah… 

Robyn is surprised by her tolerance for all the advertising done during the show.
She’s also wary of the most influential woman in America doing all that advertising.
Oprah occasionally urges her viewers to be stop buying so much stuff.
To Robyn it sounds like Philip Morris’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Department.

Oprah tells women to love their vulvas.
So, Robyn grabs a mirror, takes a look, and says she likes what she sees.
Like I said, I’m older than Robyn, so this was a flashback to the early 70s.
Except for the occasional white hair, the general area hasn’t changed since then, so if you’ve done it once, well no surprises there.

Unmarried Oprah has rules for how long wives should kiss their husbands (10 seconds) and how they should prepare for sex with their husbands (scrub up first).
Oprah, who has a housekeeper, also has ideas on cleaning a home.
I can’t help wondering if Oprah is actually a satire, like The Colbert Report.

Oprah also has views on how we should celebrate the holidays: what to do, how to decorate, what to eat.
As a single, childless woman with no noticeable extended family, this is doable.
Add a spouse, children or relatives or - oh, horrors, all three - and it’s a hassle.

Robyn’s family patiently went along with Oprah’s recipes.
Her aunt did say, “Oprah really loves grated orange zest… Who uses that much zest?”
But, except for the zest comment, the Oprah Thanksgiving went relatively smoothly.
Her Ma liked the thank you cards.
The family played Oprah’s version of ‘Truth or Dare’.
But it doesn’t sound like there’ll be a repeat next Thanksgiving.


On to December… probably Robyn’s saddest chapters.
She had to catch up with a few Oprah projects, including driving to a dreaded live Céline Dion performance.
The long list of projects are giving her stress attacks and nightmares.
She’s shocked to realize how she’s accepted Oprah’s clothing choices.
I’m really feeling sorry that Robyn put herself through all this.

Oprah has gotten fat again, but she’ll be able to work it into the show.
Maybe she got fat so she’d have a topic for her show?
Where does the show end and Oprah begin, or vice versa?
The Best Life Week in 2009 is going to be better than the one she had in 2008.
Was last year’s Best Life a practice run?  
Will there be a better Best Life in 2010?

Robyn’s family endured another Oprah dictated holiday.
The store-bought crust was the best part of the dessert recipe.
Following Oprah has had an effect on Robyn’s health and her RealAge.
What she gained through diet, exercise and vegan cleanse, she lost through stress.

December 31 saw Robyn buying a ‘fabulous’ chair and beans.
She also delivered books to a local charity as part of her Big Give.
When Robyn and Jim stopped for a quick meal, a woman recognized her.
Comments of, ”That’s just crazy.  She’s crazy.”  wafted to Robyn’s table.
Crazy.  Not a cheery thought on which to end a year or a project.

There were other assignments Robyn had to complete before the year ended.
Exhausted, she cancelled her usual New Year’s Day gathering.
Following Oprah does not leave time for socializing with friends.


A few days later Robyn heard two elderly women discuss Oprah’s political influence:
“Oprah? She sells flowers and soap.  What does she know about government?”
It’s hard for us older women to accept Oprah’s orders on the right way to live.
Oprah means well, but she basically sells lots and lots of stuff.
Maybe actual good advice doesn’t sell anything.

Robyn feels she had done Oprah a disservice by wondering if she can understand the priorities of a real woman.
I would never say Oprah is not a real or normal woman.
But what I would say is that her lifestyle is not one most women share.
No problem with that.  Oprah is a real woman who lives a unique lifestyle.
Except that Oprah keeps giving advice on how other women, who live lives that are quite different than hers, should live.

Robyn still believes Oprah seeks to empower women.
Oprah said when receiving a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, “I choose to use it (television) in whatever way I can… to make people lead better lives.”
Oprah may be sincere, but who made her the judge of what makes for a better life?
And doesn’t empowered mean a woman has the confidence to make her own decisions instead of being told what to do on a daily basis?

When we first marched for women’s rights we never thought the movement would result in an Oprah.
Not that there’s a problem with a super successful woman.
But we never meant for our daughters to become addicted to needing anyone’s advice.
We marched so our kids would be free to think, not to take orders.


I think that the next time I’m in the library I’ll walk past the Oprah magazines.


About tonight’s new moon in Taurus…
According to the folks at astrology.com:
Solar eclipses are quite dramatic. This one, in a sign that rules your values and finances, casts a major spotlight on how you handle your money… this is an ideal time to be practical… take this opportunity to get a handle on your material life.
You'll then be able to make sensible decisions that will, in turn, help make your life more comfortable and secure.

The solar eclipse occurs on Monday and Tuesday, April 28-29 at 11:14pm PDT. This is what is called an annular eclipse, when a narrow rind of the Sun is visible around the dark mass of the Moon. It is visible in Antarctica and the southern most parts of the East.


Happy Balsamic Moon… celebrate the end of a cycle so a new one can enter. 

This is a great year to celebrate the power gate of Beltaine (May 1-6), the old Celtic festival of the beginning of summer and the season of fertility. 
We dance around the May Pole to raise the twin masculine and feminine energies of life to weave them into new life for the year, both for the Earth and for ourselves. 

This year, go out and help our Mother Earth to regenerate us all!



Just so you know….

Virtual Telescope Project and the Slooh Community Observatory both offer live viewing of the eclipse on the internet. (Slooh also offers free tablet apps for easier viewing.) 

The eclipse begins at 8:53 pm Pacific time on April 28, and ends at 1:15 am April 29.

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