How Oprah’s Speech and the Reaction to it Perfectly Reflects Our Hollow Public Consciousness

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: Guardian, 2015 wrote “Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers

“Oprah is appealing because her stories hide the role of political, economic and social structures in our lives. They make the American dream seem attainable…

The way Oprah tells us to get through it all and realize our dreams is always to adapt ourselves to the changing world, not to change the world we live in. We demand little or nothing from the system, from the collective apparatus of powerful people and institutions. We only make demands of ourselves.

We are the perfect, depoliticized, complacent neoliberal subjects.”

Ultimately Oprah’s message is the core message of the Randians and the neoliberals alike and that is… if the systems is flawed, and it is, then it is up to YOU to change YOU so you can thrive within in… and if you don’t, if you can’t, then it’s YOUR FAULT. We don’t need anymore leaders who subscribe to the belief that the 1%ers are the 1%ers because they DESERVE to be there. Do you understand how she is like a faith healer rolling into town “healing” some cancer-ridden woman who finds out she still has cancer the next day? The “cure”, she is told, ONLY WORKS IF YOUR FAITH IS STRONG ENOUGH… so the sick woman dies believing SHE FAILED HERSELF… dies without knowing it never had anything to do with her.

That is what Oprah is and it has made her fabulously wealthy being essentially a snake oil salesman for the neoliberal class.

And that is why you should laugh in the face of anyone who thinks she SHOULD be our next president.

Oprah Winfrey is a successful performer. But she is an actress and nothing more. At least, she is nothing more in the public sphere. To the people she is a blank slate upon which anyone’s preconceived notions can be projected. It simply doesn’t matter if the private version of Oprah, the Business Oprah, looks anything like the public one.

A successful actor once said that doing the absolute least during a performance is the best possible approach to acting because it allows the audience to see whatever they want to see in the character you create. Its a sort of audience conformation bias, if you will.

When a performer makes strong choices during his performance he naturally will alienate members of the audience who see the character or the moment differently and therefore the reviews of the work will suffer… as will the “brand” of the actor.

Some performers hold a mirror to society so they can feel better about themselves as they see fit. Others paint portraits of what they see and they SHOW the audience the truer nature of the world around them and those performers are rarely in vogue.

Politicians today are much like that successful actor. That is what the profession has evolved into in America.

Caleb Maupin talks about this in a recent video. Rightly he says “a lot of our politicians have been actors… and the problem with actors is they can be anyone. You give them a script and they can be anyone. Today they can be the villain, tomorrow the hero… but real statecraft, real political leadership is not like being an actor

Why is it that all of our recent agents of “CHANGE” disappoint us? Because, they are actors, not statesmen. Actors upon which we project our own images.

“The Obama campaign is heavy on symbolism, and long on vague catch phrases like “new leadership,” “new ideas,” “a politics of hope,” and “let’s dream America again” calculated to appeal to millions of disaffected Americans without actually meaning much of anything. Corporate media actively bill Obama as “the candidate of hope,” and anointed representative of the “Joshua generation.” There are good reasons campaign placards at Obama rallies say “change we can believe in” instead of “stop the war — vote Obama” or “repeal NAFTA – Barack in ’08.” The first set of messages are hopeful and vague. The second are popular demands among the voters Obama needs against which his past, present and future performance may be checked. When the comparison is made, the results are dismaying to many who want to support Barack Obama.” Bruce Dixon, BAR, Dec. 12, 2007

Vague, out of focus reflections offered and accepted (and in most cases… preferred) instead of sharp, crisp policy statements of action to wit a real statesman would assign his concrete administrative direction over the course of his term in office.

They learned their lesson with “read my lips…” didn’t they?

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