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The Gospel of You
August 30, 2011 3:43 AM   Subscribe

O Sister, What Art Thou - Kathryn Lofton on the Religion of Oprah.
posted by joannemullen (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Never "got" Oprah. And now that she is off the air, I suppose I never will.
posted by ranchocalamari at 3:58 AM on August 30, 2011


It seems to me that there are three branches to the "religious urge" -- societal/cultural, intellectual, and emotional -- and most people prioritize one of these. So we get our "Cafeteria Catholics" and "Cultural Jews" on one side, dogmatists and theologians (often, but not always only tenuously connected to the heart of their creed) on another, and a wide mass of fuzzy New Age believers and blandly "Christian" people for the third. Oprah, in this model, sits firmly in the third camp -- you need to believe something, but the what doesn't matter; what matters is your ability to feel.

Is this harmless? I'm not sure. When the first and third legs of the stool combine, you can produce nice community-minded people, but you can also produce fanatics. If the focus of your creed is looking for a vague sense of personal well-being, it's easy to ignore injustice in favor of comfort and peace, and so on.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:11 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


This article does not go into the fact that the crazy Apostles of Rick Perry see Oprah as the birth of "the harlot"--a neo-religious movement marking the beginning of the end times.
posted by rikschell at 4:30 AM on August 30, 2011


>: Oprah, in this model, sits firmly in the third camp -- you need to believe something, but the what doesn't matter; what matters is your ability to feel.

And your ability to pay:

Oprah’s advice always comes with a little nudge to buy more stuff: “I believe in meditating in the tub with some very nice bath products,”

Lecturing her audience and then hitting them up for cash. Maybe Oprah IS a real religion!
posted by three blind mice at 4:40 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


the crazy Apostles of Rick Perry see Oprah as the birth of "the harlot"

Oprah sets a pretty low bar for a "harlot" in my book. Why, when I was a kid, we had real harlots, who tore down the entire fabric of society as you watched! Nowadays, just recommending some nice bath salts is all it takes. These people are not apocalyptic enough to light a camp stove with their hellfire. Ruin the country, maybe, but where is that Old Time Religion?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:51 AM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


This article does not go into the fact that the crazy Apostles of Rick Perry see Oprah as the birth of "the harlot"

Rick Perry's pal Mike Bickle: Oprah is Triggering the Antichrist.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:13 AM on August 30, 2011


There's a harlot movement? Does that mean we can expect more harlots? Will there be a web site?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:25 AM on August 30, 2011


Sorry, I meant to end with...

You damned kids! Get off my harlot!

No, wait, that sounded so much better in my imagination....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:55 AM on August 30, 2011


Bees!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:01 AM on August 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


I expect more riding of multi-headed serpents and cups overflowing with obscenity in my harlots.
posted by The Whelk at 8:22 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


That bees gif is right up there with Washington on my Favorite Things on the Internet list.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:41 AM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is it a religion? Or just narcissism?
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2011


Will there be a web site?

Hmmm. Needs to be edgier than suicidegirls.com...

HomicideHarlots.com?
posted by chambers at 9:30 AM on August 30, 2011


I posted this link on my Facebook page, just to make sure my sister read it. Just something to counter all those O magazines I always find in her bathroom.
posted by luckynerd at 9:35 AM on August 30, 2011


MetaFilter: Is it a religion? Or just narcissism?
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:58 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought Snooki was a much better candidate for "The Harlot". But now that Nancy Graceless is going to be on "Dancing With the Stars", she's gone way up on the list...

Still, anybody who contributed to the success of the magical thinking of "The Secret" deserves to be burned at the stake by any fundamentalists you can recruit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:24 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oprah and Bob Kiyosaki would be a formidable combination
posted by KokuRyu at 2:05 PM on August 30, 2011




It seems to me that there are three branches to the "religious urge" -- societal/cultural, intellectual, and emotional -- and most people prioritize one of these. So we get our "Cafeteria Catholics" and "Cultural Jews" on one side, dogmatists and theologians (often, but not always only tenuously connected to the heart of their creed) on another, and a wide mass of fuzzy New Age believers and blandly "Christian" people for the third. Oprah, in this model, sits firmly in the third camp -- you need to believe something, but the what doesn't matter; what matters is your ability to feel.


That's how I feel about music, and why I don't make fun of Oprah followers. Whatever gets you through the night
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:18 PM on August 30, 2011


Is it a religion? Or just narcissism?

Distinction without a difference!

All right, all right. I'm a bad boy.
posted by klanawa at 11:32 PM on August 30, 2011


Interesting article. Thanks.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:08 AM on August 31, 2011


This: “My mother would love my book, and my father would never read it.”

Interesting academic profile, that article - of the prof, at least as much as Oprah.
posted by doctornemo at 7:48 AM on September 2, 2011


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