The 10 Commandments of Oprahism
Millions, perhaps billions of people hang on Oprah Winfrey’s every word. OK, hundreds of millions. Celebrities line-up at her television confessional. She’s presides over a global media empire. She can make us laugh, cry, get mad or say “Aha!” Her generosity has touched millions. She attends to the poor. One word from Oprah can bestow instant success on any author, entertainer or self-help guru. It is the “Oprah Effect.” Many a husband has come home to a wife in tears in the middle of watching Oprah, to dread the moment when she utters the words, “Honey, you have to watch this!” with a look in her eye that says your relationship depends on it, or at least sex for the foreseeable future.
People in Edmonton have eagerly shelled out up to $350 a ticket to see Oprah talk at Rexall Place on Monday night – to talk! The people, some lost, some afraid, some yearning for answers, for someone to guide them, will come to an “inspirational evening event” to hear how they can “can take control of their lives to reach their full potential.” The show is sold out.
You can see what’s going on here, can’t you? Prof. Hubert Farnsworth, speaking from 1,000 years in the future, said it best, “If only he had joined a mainstream religion, like Oprahism or Voodoo.”
A new religion! And having a female prophet should be a refreshing change from all the major religions up to now. So to get things started, here’s a list of 10 Commandments for the Church of Oprahianity. They’re more like gentle suggestions, actually, instead of “Thou Shalt” it’s “If It Feels Right …”
I. Learn from your mistakes
More than once if necessary, and learn to forgive the mistakes of others. Yes, Oprah’s made a few – tweeting to get Nielsen families to watch her TV network OWN, which is frowned upon; giving people free cars without covering the $7,000 tax hit on each one; making stars of nitwits like Dr. Phil – but haven’t we all? Part of the appeal of Oprah is that she is human, she is just like all of us, and she makes mistakes. That’s why we love her so.
II. Don’t be afraid to re-invent yourself on a daily basis
If you find a cool idea, incorporate it into your personal worldview – until the next even cooler idea comes along. Part of the philosophy of Oprahism is one must keep searching, searching, searching on the assumption that the answer is out there somewhere. If you believe there is no answer, what’s the point of searching?
III. Try to conquer your personal shortcomings
As mentioned, Oprah is openly, honestly human – as much as a celebrity billionaire can be. Women who have problems with their weight should identify with Oprah’s own public fluctuations in girth over the years, along with her innumerable attempts to lose weight through all manner of diets, gimmicks, new products and experts, few of which worked as well as a balanced diet and regular exercise. In one episode in 1988, she wheeled out a 67-pound “wagon of fat” to illustrate how much weight she had lost. This commandment applies to all your problems.
IV. Take control of your life
This one should be obvious.
V. Demand honesty in yourself and in others
If someone lies to you, call them on it, even if it’s an author whose creative work was revealed to be fiction instead of non-fiction despite the fact that the revelation in no way affects the original work. Then apologize.
VI. Don’t be afraid to apologize
VII. Follow your intuition
Faith without evidence has been a hallmark of religion for eons. Oprah had been famous on her show for putting emotion over intellect, for getting worked up over an issue without being in full possession of the facts. The meaning of the “Aha Moment,” however, has changed as Oprah has matured – and her followers have been able to experience it for themselves. See “don’t be afraid to re-invent yourself,” above.
VIII. Tell yourself there is no such thing as failure
This one falls in with the “mistakes” commandment. Yes, the Book of Oprahanity contains some redundancy, but so do the 10 Commandments from the Bible, those ones about holding false Gods above thee and all that coveting. Subtle distinction, though. KNOWING there is no failure makes your unafraid to make mistakes, which, as mentioned, you can learn from. Unless they’re fatal mistakes, in which case others can learn from them (that line is borrowed from Al Frankenism).
IX: Share your experiences!
With rarely a thought left un-uttered and embarrassment made moot, Oprah is a pioneer in the new paradigm of society’s openness, helped along by instant social media and everybody having a voice in what is turning into a valuable assistant to the collective human brain. Thank you, Internet! It’s a world where one’s breakfast can be tweeted to a billion people, where Lance Armstrong can undergo the Full Oprah Confessional, where Al Roker can admit on NBC that he pooped his pants in the White House. Is nothing sacred? Apparently not.
X. Don’t be afraid
This one kind of falls in with all the others.
XI. Feel free to add to the list
If it feels right.