Monday, April 14, 2008

The Queen of All Media

Oprah Winfrey seems to have the midas touch, everything she touches turns to gold. Let me count the ways. She has her TV show, her magazine, her book club, her own satellite radio channel, her production studio, her own broadway musical, and she just partenered with the Discovery channel to begin her own cable channel the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Needless to say she also appoints people to celebrity status, such as Dr. Phil. By the way see this video to see what hot water Dr. Phil has himself in now.

When Oprah promotes a product it sells unbelievably. She pitches self-help gurus, sex therapists, financial advisors, and all other sorts of personalities. She started her school in Ghana for poor African girls.

Here's my question. Do you think Oprah has become a cult figure? She tells you how to live a better life, what books to read, what to listen to, and what to purchase. What's the difference between Oprah and other past cult figures? If she told people to drink the koolaid and get ready for the mothership, do you think women would listen? Of course, part of me is joking about this, but........

At least two paragraphs please.


elizabeth bowling said...

I personally really like Opera. Would I drink the koolaid and wait for the mothership ummm.... no lol. Watching her show when she has her big giveaways, I think some women would though lol. I do not think of Oprah as a cult figure although I am sure some people listen to everything she says. I think that people admire her and would like to be like her so they follow along with the things she likes in order to be more like her in that way, if that makes any sense.

I watch Dr. Phil's show because I like him not because she said to. I also do not read the books that she recomends because I am very particular in the books that I like to read. i do look into some of her "Favorite Things" because they seem interesting especially if I have never heard of them before. I like Oprah and obvioulsy other people do to. I think she is a good business woman, obvioulsy because she came from nothing to because one of the worlds richest women so I definitely think she knows what she is doing. So cult, no, extremely smart woman, yes!

Anonymous said...

I like to watch Oprah on occassion. The talk shows are really my thing. I have read a few of the books she has suggested, and they have been really good books. Especially, the one by the drug addict who fudged the story. Even though most of it was a lie it was still a moving story, and teenagers who are thinking of experimenting with drugs should read it.
The only time I will really follow what Oprah has to say is when her doctor friend(drawing a blank on the name) comes on. He is really informative.
Do I think Oprah is a cult figure. No, I don't. I think she is just a very smart business woman, who has found her place and made a name for herself. I think there are people who live by what she says, and those people who probably follow anyone. But I think people are of their own mind, and will choose what the like and what they do not like.
Oprah has made millions and probably billions off of others misfortune,heart ache, and trying times. She has also given back to many communties and families who need help. For that I commend her. She is a good business woman, and she does her job well.

LaJoyce Roseborough said...

I like Oprah Winfrey alot. I would love to be like her. I think alot of people like her because she can relate to them. Many people listen to what she say because she's a real rolemodel. She a real rolemodel because she came from nothing into being a billionaire. They have seen her struggle and can relate to her.
She is not a cult figure because I think she is someone most women in all walks of life would like to be like. So many think since she is so successful her advice is very helpful. She is so down to earth. She's really someone I hope to be like. I don't think cult figure is a phrase that I would use. I think genius is one I would use.

c.mcnair said...

Oprah certainly holds a prestigious place in American Society. Women look at Oprah and see her for her strength. Dr. Phil exploits people’s problems to fill airtime. Men look at Dr. Phil and do not see the same thing women see in Oprah. I think the underlying issue is that maybe Oprah cares about society more than we do, so we pay her respect.

I think it would be unfair to polygamists everywhere to assume that because super celebrities like Oprah become popular for reasons we do not understand she automatically becomes a cult. Oprah has a track record of doing more good than we possibly could as a class by going door to door selling chocolate, so its up to us if we will learn from her success or look the other way without recognizing the governing dynamics that make a person great.

NancyH said...

Oprah Winfrey outright denies the Lord Jesus Christ as being the way to God! (John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

I may stand alone here in this blog, but, I have never liked Oprah, and I wouldn’t follow her if I was on fire and she had the only bucket of water!

Apparently, her plan is to lead all of her “followers” to burn in hell right beside her. Teaching, (I use this term loosely, for I don’t believe she is qualified to teach anything to anyone), her following to look inside themselves to find the light or that they are really God, is an absurdity, and there are not many people refuting her, which makes sense in a way. (Matthew 15:14) Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

EThompson said...

I really respect Oprah, and I don't watch her shows everyday and I don't really know alot about all of the things that she recommend that us women do but I wlll tell you this she is a very blessed and annointed person. Look at where she has been and where she came from, not to mention that she is an African American woman that has broken down all racial barriers she has gone places and done things that only most black will dream about. The odds of a black woman being as successful as Oprah are slim and none. I love how she credits all this to GOD and she doesn't mind letting people know this. Oprah is looked upon as a role model for women of all ages, shapes sizes and colors and I think that is a tremendous accomplishment for anyone to have. We all know that although we say we have come a long way as a society that most women are still looked upon by men as the weaker species and that there is still alot of racism and racial incidents happening in our world today. And despite all of this Oprah has risen and is still on the top this is a major accomplishment for anyone. I think that she is the perfect role model for our young girls today. There is so much going on in the world today and there is so much negativity. We need some one that show women young and old that with a little hard work and strong faith in God the sky is the limit. I don't believe that she had any intention of being thought of in this manner but as usual the public takes role models to a whole different level. And I do think that alot people may look upon her as a cult figure and that alot of people are following her advice and are supporting her to the end. But I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. We allowed George Bush to take office after he publically cheated and stole votes than why can't Oprah be loved by everyone!!!! I don't think that there is anything wrong with people loving her!!! At least she stands for something real and positive. I am not personally into Oprah like that but I feel that she is doing it and I am very proud of her. And as African American woman myself I am motivated to grow above limitations that black women often face and following my dreams. God said he is no respecter of persons and what he's done for one he will do for all. Watching her soar like an eagle let's me know that I can do the same. And it also lets America and the rest of our society know that black women are just sitting around on their asses all day having babies, waiting on a welfare check with a bunch of illegitimate kids in pampers running around a secton eight apartment like many people love to think. In conclusing I really can't be mad at Oprah, I have nothing but love for her and I hope that she keeps on keeping on!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think that Oprah has a lot of people that like her. But I also believe she has alot of people that would indeed follow her. If she went way over the edge and told people to kill themselves, there would sure enough be people that would follow her in anything, but most people would probably have seen the warning signs before that and jumped ship before it sank. I think she does have a cult following that has brought her the popularity she has. But, alot of her success is due to hard work and smart moves in entertainment. I am personally not a big fan of the Oprah. I don't agree with her on alot of things she does and believes. But, I think overall she is basically a person who worked hard and has invested both herself and her money in the right places. I think if she ever falls it will be like all stars believing they are more of a god figure than they are and promoting something in a way that is pushy, preachy. I really don't think she will make that mistake, so she will probably be popular until she retires. I think other people who have gotten immensely popular don't know how to handle the PR and the success. You get a little bit teflon once you reach a certain area of the stratosphere, but, usually a star will push to far and fall. Oprah just flat out knows how to work it.

S. McElfish said...

With the question of Oprah as a cult figure, one needs to see what the word "cult" means. In dealing with the media, the word cult for me comes from a bigger word "culture." More specifically sub-cultures in the greater culture of the media. My cult figures remind me of times that once were and times that could never be.

From the "Man with no Name" to figures from a galaxy far, far away, it seems the viewer chooses who influences their life, and for Oprah, she may differ from those other figures in only slight ways in some people's opinions, so she maybe the head of a sub-culture with a track record for success but so is George Lucas.

Leeanna McVay said...

This discussion question definitely shines a new light on Oprah and the empire she has created for herself. I don't seriously think she could be considered a cult figure, however, I do think many women take whatever she says as "the word." I have heard on several occasions where a woman would be talking about something and say something like, "it has to be true, Oprah said so!" (My own 20 year old sister being one of these women!)

I am sure that there are many women out there that are very serious about taking Oprah's word on everything. It also must be noted that she has HELPED alot of women through struggles. She was a good influence and example in her battle with her weight. I think that has made many average American women feel like they can relate to her. I don't think these women are intentionally "worshipping" her, they just look up to her.

Rebecca said...

No, I don’t think Oprah has become a cult figure. Oprah has what is known in the business world as “Good Will.” Goodwill is perceived added value or quality beyond the norm. She has apparently made good decisions and positive connections. Add her charismatic ways and a very marketable entity has been created.

Oprah audience is mainly comprised of women. The female market is a vast one. Females (just my guess) probably consume about 70% of everyday products (excluding homes, cars business real-estate). Some people look to others for advice, fortunately for Oprah, she is one that apparently a large percentage of people look for advice/recommendations. Still, I believe if Oprah gave some bad recommendations/advice, some individuals would follow because it came from Oprah. I personally enjoy watching her shows, but I don’t follow Oprah, but I respect others’ right to do so.

Heather Noble said...

I think that there are some people who will do anything that Oprah says. Fortunately for Oprah she uses this to her advantage and tries to make the world a better place. Look at her impact on Senator Obama's campaign. Once he was a guest on her show a few years ago his stock sky-rocketed and people began to listen to him. Oprah has the ability to transcend all races and generations.

That being said, I think that some people would totally drink the kool-aid if Ms. O herself was serving it. I applaud Oprah for using her celebrity and success to encourage people to do something good. I think that people view cults as a negative thing. If we are looking at cults as a negative thing then no I don't think that she is a cult like figure. If there is a way to view cults in a positive fashion then I would say she is a cult figure. I mean look at the vast numbers of women that take every word that she says to heart. Its kinda crazy to think about it in those terms.

Rosie said...

I'm not a big Oprah fan, but there are millions of people out there who would do anything Oprah say to do or buy anything she suggest they buy, read or watch. She is a very influential person. Would people drink the cool-aid if she asked yes,some women and men to would, she is just that persuasive.

I think there are people that look at her as a cult figure? because of her influence. I have to agree with Elizabeth she is just a smart business woman.

Mari said...

There is no way anyone could consider Oprah a cult figure; no one has to follow her advice. If you chose to listen and do everything Oprah suggests that’s your prerogative. People want to get rich and famous; therefore, they will listen and try many things to achieve these goals. I love watching and listening to her show, but there is no way I would try all the different ideas she suggest. The difference between Oprah and a cult is individuals have a choice when listening to Oprah. There’s a big difference between Oprah and a cult, Oprah surrounds herself with positive influences and people; than she shares that information with the public. The public can either accept or reject her ideas.

Oprah has not attempted to extort or force anyone to accept her ideas. There are many different types of cults such as The Doomsday Cult, Spiritual Cult or Psychological Cult. Who would you compare Oprah with - David Koresh and the Branch Davidians or that Star Track Cult? If she told people to drink Kool-aid and get ready for the mothership and some people chose to complete this act, than that’s there personal choice. Oprah is making money; she is no different than Warren Buffet, Donald Trump or the Wal-Mart family, when you find something or someone that’s a good investment, Capitalizes on it! She isn’t brainwashing anyone to accept her ideas or her way of thinking.

krc said...

Personally, I don't like Oprah. I know that there are many people out there that do though. A lot of people do follow her and take her advice. I personally feel that everything she has promoted has had one bottom line for her--money.

I think it's great she started the school for poor girls in Africa, but why not do something to help the poor in the country she lives in? As far as a cult figure, maybe she is to some people, and I think a lot of people would follow her, but there are some out there, like me, I believe would not.

Kimberly Cook

Anonymous said...

Personally Oprah use to be one of my favorite shows, but lately with this whole religion scandal I havent watched her much. I dont think that she is a cult figure but I definatly think some people would view her as that. I mean she encouraged Obama to run for President know look at what has happened. I agree with Elizabeth though I like Dr. Phil, I dont watch him because she says to I watch him because I like him. Same goes for her books.
I think Oprah is an inspiring women, so therefore if she suggest to do something to better yourself i would do it( although I am not following her in her religious opinions). I think Oprah does have alot of influential guests and topics on her show, so I think she is very influential. Therefore I wouldnt consider her being a cult leader. But who knows with a little more time on this religion subject it might turn into a cult.

roslynw said...

Everyone knows by now that you have to be very careful and certain on what you say on paper and in the public eye. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey who is a fan and supporter of Obama is targeted. With the election fast approaching, the media has to find some kind of way to keep controversy going between the candidates as well as the American people. I don’t believe that Oprah is nor has become a cult figure. The media has targeted Oprah for being so supportive of Obama who they proclaim is a Muslim (which Obama says is not true). Since a lot of white people are refusing the accept Obama as the next President, they are trying to dig up anything that will incriminate him and anyone who supports him.

It shouldn’t matter what type of religion Oprah worships as long as she is not bringing harm to others. The difference between Oprah and past cult figures is first, Oprah is not trying to brain wash the people into beliefs that will harm themselves and others. Second, most cult figures worship one particular belief while Oprah is a positive role model who has helped all nationalities. Women and men look up to Oprah who is very smart, wise and kind hearted individual with both streets and business credibility. Oprah has become a billionaire based on the fact that her topics are beneficial and for being a positive female leader. If Oprah is indeed a cult figure she is a positive cult figure and that’s why all nationalities support and follow her down any path that she may pursue.

Lauren said...

I used to watch Oprah all the time. I really enjoyed her shows because she knew how to relate to the people who were on the show. However, over the last couple of years I have watched her less and less. I started to see something about her that I didn't like. I see an attitude in her that what she thinks is right is right. I think she knows who powerful she is and has really started to use that power to push and get what she wants.

Don't get me wrong. I think Oprah has done some great things. Yes, I do think it has gotten a little out of control. People, especially women, are so involved with Oprah that it would not suprise me if she is the next to run for President of the United States! It is scary how much people follow the words and ideas of a powerful and rich person.

Deanna Wilson said...

Judging by the response that my town of Meridian had when she came to town earlier this year, people are CRAZY about Oprah. But, I do not think she is a cult figure. In Meridian's case, I think people where just so excited that someone as extremely famous as Oprah was going to be here.

I have to admit that I did go out and by Bob Green's book and I have read several of the books she has endorsed. But, I hope I would be able to draw the line when she told me to drink the kool aid...haha. I think people have been watching her show for so long that they actually feel like they really know her, so they take her suggestions to heart.

Also, I would like to say that she does tons of charity work and has built that school in Africa and now she has the TV show The Big Give. But, I was in Chicago over New Years and everyone I mentioned Oprah to had a negative response. I am sure they want people to know that there is more to their city than Oprah. But, many were negative becuase she has all this money and she doesn't do anything for her own city. This was purely their opinion, and it is very possible that she does things that the public doesn't know about.

Tessa Horn said...

I have mixed emotions about Oprah. On one hand, Oprah donates a great deal of money to a variety of charities. However, she also makes soooooo much money that she has to donate a lot of money for tax purposes. On the other hand, Oprah will have guests on her show and will ask them a question or they will be discussing something and she will but in and cut them off. This makes me crazy when I have time to watch her show.

I do not think that she is a cult nor part of a cult. Although there are some crazy people in this world that would probably do whatever she said no matter how off the wall it may be.

I am a teacher in Kosciusko, which is Oprah's hometown, and a year or so ago Oprah funded the building of a Boys and Girls Club. When Oprah came for the ribbon cutting ceremony, you would have thought that the President of the United States was coming to Kosciusko. It was a HUGE deal to have Oprah back in town. There was security and media personnel everywhere!

Gunner said...

I dont really like watching Oprah because I don't like talk shows for 1. I don't like it when people think so highly of themselves even though she has made it big. I do think people look up to her, at what she says. I know alot of people that watch her show faithfully. I listen to many different people's opinions. I hate it when my grandmother sees I am not doing what she wants me to do as a parent and she records Oprah or Dr. Phil for me to watch! My gosh! They are not God! I am really going through alot right now and the last thing I need to do is have someone telling me what I am doing wrong and that is alot of what Oprah does. She does do alot of good for society though. I just personally don't look up to her. She has been very successful but I do not see her as a cult figure even though many people adore her. They just enjoy her personality. Heather F.

Toni said...

I believe Oprah is reveared and her opinion respected. I do believe that some of that has turned into a cult like following.

I attempted to read a book that she recommended and was appalled at the language and had to return the book. I don't feel that everything she says, does or recommends is necessarily the way to go and I do feel she has become more of a cult figure than just someone who has made something of herself from meger beginnings and a hard life and her generosity makes her even more appealing to some.

Barbara said...

No, I do not think Oprah has become a cult figure. I think she has influence on people, but this doesn’t mean she has to be a cult. People look up to Oprah because she has done so well in life especially with her T.V. talks show. We have people that look up to other people for the simple reason they want to follow in their footsteps. I personal think Oprah is a good role model.

She has done so many great things for the people and community. When someone during good in life there is nothing wrong with wants to following in their footsteps. For instance you have children that want to be like their teacher, because she is a good role model and want to follow in his/her footsteps. I don’t that mean they are cult? Oprah leave thing up to free will, she doesn’t force you to do anything, she just made suggestions.

Jessica said...

I cant say that Oprah has a cult mentality over the women of America. What Oprah does have is a strong voice and reputation that allows her to command attention in the world of women. There are many women that look up to Oprah because she is strong, black, well read, well traveled, not married and doing well, and a whole list of things that allows her to command the attention that she gets.

Oprah has the ability to take a person to stardom because she has been there herself and she knows exactly what type of personality to put on the big screen. I personally am not to fond of Oprah and I think it is because she is from Mississippi and never ever recognizes that fact until something bad happens, i.e. Katrina. I always believe that no matter how good you think you are there will always be someone better, for this reason you should never forget where you came from.

R. Wickersham said...

Oprah Winfrey has had a positive message in most of the shows I have seen. I do not know if I always agree with her, but she has certainly become a driving force. She pushes to educate her audience on issues that are important to her and no one can deny her appeal.

Unfortunately, she falls into a category that I find annoying. That is the "celeb with an agenda" category. What ever happened to famous people just enjoying their status as famous people. Why can't singers just be singers and actors just be actors? Why does everyone need a cause?

The mindless masses will continue to follow the star du jour, but in the end, people like Oprah use their influence to get their way on stages much larger than the television screen. Someone with Oprah's following has a responsibility to be careful about what and who they endorse. It is not her fault though. If the common American is dumb enough to do everything Oprah tells them to, then we are all doomed anyway.